Monday, May 7, 2012

Are you using your power strips safely?

There are more than one way you can use power strips/surge protectors in an unsafe manner. By using electrical components in ways they were not intended for, it may result in a fire, damages to your property or self, or fatality. Here are a few tips to help you keep using power strips in a safer way and avoid the dangerous habits of electrical usage.

1. Never use a power strip to power another power strip or connect through an extension cord. By using an extension cord or another power strip to power another is a direct violation of the NEC (National Electrical Code) as well as OSHA.

2. Keep power strips from being permanently attached to walls, tables, or structures or permanently used. According to the U.S. Office of Compliance, using for more than 90 days is being permanently used.

3. Do not use a 3-to-2 prong adapter to connect a power strip, remove the grounding prong or connect two power strips into a single wall receptacle.

4. Overloading is highly dangerous and could result in electrocution or fire. Avoid more than one appliance on a power strip or powering appliances that are not intended for ancillary power sources like space heaters or microwaves. Using power strips that have an internal circuit breaker should prevent overloading and overheating. It is highly recommended to replace all power strips/surge protectors with ones that contain an internal circuit breaker.

5. Power cords should be straight and not knotted and prongs are fully inserted into receptacle at all times. Unplug power strips when all components connected are not in use.

6. All cords should be fully coated with no wires showing, no cracks, or splices. If cracks, splices or exposed wires are found, no longer use the power cord.

7. Unplug all cords immediately when they feel hot to touch. Power strips need air circulation to prevent the chance of over heating. Placing behind furniture or underneath carpet, will prevent the necessary air circulation. If the power strip is too hot, evaluate what you have plugged into this strip and replacement is recommended.

8. Never place in a moist/wet environment.

9. Avoid plugging in components that create a heat source, such as space heaters, coffee makers, toaster ovens.

10. Not all power strips are the same, make sure to follow the manufacture's instructions and only connect what is intended for each power strip.

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