Power Strips and Electric Extension Cords are essential electric items found in every home and office today. I use five power strips in my room, and two others at work. Although we take these items for granted very often, it’s impossible even to imagine a life without them. They make life easier but unfortunately, they can do more harm than good if we are not careful. It is said in the US every year over 3,300 residential fires start in power strips and extension cords damaging property and killing hundreds of people [Source: DK Electrical Solutions].
In today’s blog post I want to show you two things. First, I will show you how to choose a reliable power strip or an extension cord so that you can minimize the possibility of a disastrous and life-threatening fire hazard. In other words, safety. Second, I want to show you how to choose a power strip or an extension cord that will not later turn out to be a bad investment. In other words, usability. Altogether I will share with you five factors you should consider the next time you shop for a power strip or an extension code.
Branded Power Strip/Extension Cord
A Chinese proverb says, “Good things are not cheap and cheap things are not good”. Another proverb says, “මුට්ටිය ලාබ වෙන තරමට හිලුත් වැඩියි” (The cheaper the pot the more holes it has). We often make the mistake of buying cheap power strips or extension cords to plug our expensive equipment or devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop printers, stereos, and televisions. Never, ever make that mistake again. Always buy a branded power strip or an extension cord. I recommend Orange or Kevilton if not Belkin, Baseus, or Ldino. These are expensive but reliable.
Watch out for counterfeit Products
Another proverb says, “Don’t trust everything you see because even salt looks like sugar”. Many counterfeited power strips and extension cords in the market are as dangerous as a poorly designed product. A significant price difference is a strong indicator that the power strip or the extension code you are buying is counterfeited. Always look for a certificate of authenticity, a warranty certificate, or at least a serial number you can verify through the manufacturer’s official website. Pay close attention to details especially if you are ordering online.
Power Surge and Spike Protection
Prevention is better than regret. Most power strips are equipped with a surge protector nowadays, but most extension cords are not. In the event, your extension cord doesn’t have surge protection consider protecting the electric circuit of your house with an all-house surge protector like CIPE. It’s a plug-and-play device that eliminates the need for hiring a professional electrician for installing a surge protector. Also, ensure the extension cord you are buying is equipped with a fuse for protection against sudden spikes in electricity.
Buy Rocker Switch Not Push Button
Power Strips and Extension Cords come with two different types of switches. Rocker and Push Button. With a Rocker, you flip the switch while you push and release with a push button. It seems pretty basic, but I prefer rocker switches because push-button switches tend to wear out faster than rocker switches. A worn-out switch is a recipe for disaster. It’s the reason Most reputed brands use rocker switches today. Look for rocker switches instead of push-button switches next time you shop for a power strip or an extension cord.
Sufficient Space between Sockets
All of us consider the details like the length of the wire, the number of slots, and the type of plug top but seldom pay attention to this usability fact. Some plug tops take a lot of space making it impossible to plug another device next to it. I have one power strip back home in which I can’t plug my smartphone charger next to the Dish TV encoder because both plugs take a lot of space. The power strip has six sockets, but I can’t use all six at once if the plugs are big. Hence, look for a gap of at least 2.5 to 3 centimeters in between the sockets.
Build a Power Strip/Extension Cord
In the rare event, you cannot find a power strip to your liking you can build your own provided that you have an all-house power surge protector. You can decide the length of the wire, the number of outlets as well as the quality of the material used for the build. When you do, don’t forget to make it spike-proof with a suitable fuse and hoose a wire of the right gauge depending on the number of devices you will be connecting. However, hire a professional electrician to build it for you unless you know what you are doing.
Make sure that safety comes first, whether you’re using a power strip or an extension cord. Never put so many appliances on a power strip, and never leave an extension cord plugged in permanently. These things are a blessing when used the right way but a curse when used the wrong way. I trust the guidelines shared with you today will help make the right choice the next time you are shopping for a power strip or an extension cord. Finding the right power strip or the extension cord can be difficult sometimes, but with these guidelines, it’s not as difficult as finding someone who fits Cinderella’s shoe.
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