Electric cords aren’t usually thought of as serious hazards around the house, but they can be. Cords can be fire hazards, shock hazards, concerns with small kids or animals, and they can be something you could simply trip over. They can become old and worn, and present a hazard. People can use them in lazy, careless ways which makes them a risk. Here are recommendations to know to be safer with electrical cords.
Using Electrical Cords Safely Around the House
One of the first things to have in mind is cords can be in the way. Tripping, kicking or accidentally moving a cord can be a physical danger. This can damage the cords or devices they are used for. It can also create an electric or fire hazard. Cords should be kept out of sight as much as possible. This is just for looks, it’s to keep them away from traffic. Cords shouldn’t be in busy places where people are often walking, playing, gathering, cooking or just plain doing stuff.
Open, unprotected cords shouldn’t be left in areas where there’s usually foot traffic, or on or right next to furniture. It’s easy to trip on a cord. Don’t run a cord under a rug or other tight covering. This can cause overheating. People repeatedly stepping on it can also damage it and you might not see the damage until there’s a much bigger problem such as a fire, which could start very quickly with a blanket, rug or piece of furniture directly on the cord.
Don’t hang cords to let them dangle in a way which could be accidentally hit, have something else catch on them or become pulled on by a child or pet.
It can be good to use a protective device or a tool which keeps cords bundled together, out of the way and organized. Do not overload such a device or bundle though. It should be able to have safe airflow to keep a safe temperature. Do not use staples, nails or anything which could cut or puncture a cord or wire.
Checking the Cord Itself
Cords should be kept in good condition and when a cord becomes worn, frayed, punctured or damaged, it shouldn’t be used any longer.
Do not run cords in a way that they kink or angle in a possibly damaging way. Do not stretch cords to the point they are taut and strained.
Never use a cord if it is hot or showing any signs of overheating or failing. Turn off everything to do with the cord and outlet. Once it’s safe to touch, unplug it, then do not use it any longer.
How to Use Extension Cords or Surge Protectors
Do not overload an outlet, a surge protector strip or an extension cord. Just because these devices might have more outlets, doesn’t mean they are safe with too many devices. A power strip or extension cord still can’t deliver more voltage or power to what’s plugged into it. Know and follow the safe capacity or a current, an outlet, a power strip or an extension cord.
It’s not safe to use an outlet prong adapter – such as an adapter for a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet – with an extension cord.
Do not plug an extension cord into an extension cord. They are not built for this purpose. Buy a proper length extension cord, find another outlet, or get an electrician to build more outlets into the electric system you’re using.
You shouldn’t plug a power strip into an extension cord, then plug devices into the power strip. Again, smarter options are get a strip with a longer cord. Use the devices near enough to an outlet to use them safely. Or have a pro build or update your home or office with what you need.
Overloaded Outlets Are a Risk
Too many devices and cords going into the same outlet, say via a power strip, an outlet adapter or extension cord, is a danger. It can cause device malfunctions, electrical problems or shorts. More important, it can cause injury or worse. Make sure outlets have the proper faceplates.
More recommendations along these lines include not using extension cords or adapters for any major, high-power using appliances. With heat-producing appliances, use only one of them per outlet at a time.
Smart plugs can be a good safety device. They can shut off everything in an outlet if there’s a power surge or overheating.
When to Replace Electrical Cords
Damaged electric cords can cause fires, property damage and electrocutions. If there’s any doubt about the condition of a cord, it’s always best to replace it. You should look over and inspect cords often for fraying, splitting or damage.
You Can Add Outlets
If you’re using extension cords or power strips in too many places it may mean the real answer is more outlets. This is more likely true in older homes or buildings. You can have an expert electrician install new outlets and make other modifications or upgrades to your electric system.
Unplug Cords When You Can
If an appliance or device isn’t being used, and especially if it’s not being used for a pretty long stretch, unplug it. If it’s not too inconvenient, pick up the cord and store it away out of the way. There’s no reason to leave extra clutter around. This goes even more if you have a busy house, small kids and/or pets.
This practice will save power. Devices and appliances use energy even when not being used or running. So it’s a money saver. It will clean up your house some. It reduces the risk of injury, accidents, overloaded outlets and current overloads.
Keep Everything Dry
Water and anything electric is a very bad combination. Keep cords, devices, wires, appliances, outlets, anything electric away from water as much as possible. Even water damage can, in time, wear a cord faster and make it more of a risk. Make sure your hands are dry anytime handling a cord or equipment. Think about odd stuff or items which could be wet or have water near them, such as aquariums, plants, basements, patios and garages.
Your best bet? Hire an expert to do the job. South End Electric has the background and understanding to ensure a safe and smooth installation. We can provide everything you need when thinking about a whole home generator for your home and family. Our professionals provide whole-house generator sales and installation to meet your needs. See everything South End Electric can do for you. Call us direct at 704-368-4694.