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Power strip vs. Extension cords

Everyone uses power strips and extension cords in homes and workplaces, yet many don’t know that the two most common plugin options are different. In fact, there are a couple of differences between them. Although both of them are designed to plug in multiple electronic devices at a time and can help prevent power spikes, they are not the same.

In simple words, power strips plug into the power outlet on the wall and allow you to connect multiple appliances and devices at a time. They have a one-length cable that has a three-pin plug on one end and sockets enclosed in a box on the other end.

Following are key points to remember about power strips:

  • Power strips can handle multiple small loads at a time.
  • Power strips come with a range of voltage ratings.
  • Power strips lack longevity or stability for extended use.
  • Power strips are called a Temporary Power Tap (TPT) and come with six outlets with overcurrent protection.

Extension cords, on the other hand, have a similar design but are longer compared to power strips. They are also less stable and come with only two or three plugs. However, less stability doesn’t mean extension cords are not useful. What it means is that they are for short-term uses of one-hour duration, as opposed to power strips, which you can use for a few days.

Power strip safety tips you should know about

Never connect two power strips with each other

Connecting two power strips with each other is known as “daisy chaining.” Doing so is dangerous. One of the power strips may overload and cause a fire. Instead of connecting power strips for more length, it’s better to buy a longer one than triggering any hazard.

Avoid space heaters

Space heaters consume large amounts of electricity. Most of the power strips cannot handle so much load. You should ensure that your powers strip is rated for heavy appliances to correct the energy absorption or else you might face a meltdown.

Avoid using frayed cables

Make sure the casing around your cable is in proper condition so that you don’t damage your devices. Cables that are frayed can be extremely dangerous. They may cause an electric shock. So, in case you see any damage in the casing, take it to a service center immediately.

Plug only one device at a time

Avoid overloading your power strip by connecting multiple heavy appliances. For example, if you plug-in your computer to one, make sure you don’t plug-in your television to the same one. It may overload and blow a fuse, potentially damaging all the connected devices.

Discard promptly

Lastly, you shouldn’t use power strips beyond their intended period of use as they are only for short-term use. You should discard your power strip once you exceed the specified usage period.

If it gets hit quickly, it’s best to discontinue using it.


Do I Need to Label My Electrical Panel?

As important as it is regarding the safety of your home, most homeowners do not make it a practice to label their electrical panels. They either don’t understand just how crucial it is or they are not entirely sure about the process. Now, before we provide you with some simple, but practical steps any homeowner can take, let’s talk about why you would want to label your electrical panel in the first place.

An electrical panel, also known as a “fuse panel,” “fuse box” or a “circuit breaker panel,” is a piece of equipment that safely distributes electricity throughout your home and also helps to prevent electrical issues. Most homeowners install it in the garage or basement.

Electrical codes require homeowners to label the electrical layout of their homes before selling them. It guarantees a level of safety to future homeowners, technicians or any other individual who might have to touch the electrical panel. Even if you don’t plan on selling your home any time soon, it’s still a good safety practice.

Also, labeling your electrical panels proves useful while installing new devices and appliances. Should you face any flooding or fire, it can also help an electrical technician to do his/her work more effectively, as it will show the circuit breaker that’s defective.

How to label your electric panel?

The primary challenge in labeling electrical panels is to identify which fixtures and outlets connect to a specific circuit breaker. Don’t worry; you are not the only homeowner facing this issue. If you are clueless about labeling your electric panel, here are a few steps to follow:

Turn off all circuit breakers

The first step you should take while labeling your electrical panel is turning off all circuit breakers. Then, see which appliance or fixture turns on when you turn on the breakers one by one. You can also check the power outlets by plugging in an alarm clock or lamp or using a voltage tester. Now, the entire process may take some time; however, it would be worth the effort for the safety of your home.

Label your appliances

Heavy and large electrical appliances like air conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators, and dryers tend to consume a lot of electricity. For this reason, it is recommended to provide them with electrical panels of their own. Some even give them two fuse box slots. You can label each appliance according to the circuit breaker it connects to or the amperage rating, making it easy to identify defects when something disrupts electricity to these appliances.

Label your breaker box

It is recommended to label your breaker box as well. Even though there are no specific guidelines in the electrical codes, you can do it with the help of already-numbered slots. You can make a diagram of your own if you want a detailed map of the entire electrical layout.

Approach a professional

Lastly, if you are facing any trouble while labeling your electrical panel, you should consider taking the help of a professional. Electrical panel labeling is not easy. There are many safety issues involved in it. Hence, approaching a professional, who can simplify the process for you, would be the smart move here.