A recent news story reported two fires in New York City on the same day—one of which was fatal—linked to unsafe use of power strips. Just as the quantity of consumer electronics has skyrocketed in most homes, the use of strips is also much more common. Particularly in older residences, the number of wall outlets in each room is often insufficient to accommodate all the electricity-consuming devices. A power strip integrates several of outlets into a single plug-in strip. Despite their convenience, however, there are safety issues associated with widespread usage in homes. Here are some of the considerations to keep in mind before you plug in a power strip:
- First, if you find you are relying very heavily on power strips, your home needs additional circuits and wall outlets installed by a professional electrician—not more power strips. Circuits in your electrical panel are designed to accommodate a fixed number of outlets and amperage. Excessively multiplying those demands by overuse of power strips can cause a hazardous electrical overload.
- Use power strips only to accommodate multiple low-power loads like computers, audio and video equipment or individual room lighting. Power strips are not designed to handle the heavy current draw imposed by refrigerators, space heaters, toaster ovens, fans or many power tools. Use with these devices could overheat the strip and cause a fire hazard.
- Multiple strips should never be “daisy chained” together — one power strip plugged into another to create still more outlets. This can dangerously overload the wall outlet the strip is plugged into.
- Before purchasing any power strip, make sure it carries a certification from a recognized safety testing facility such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or ETL. Many cheap strips flooding the market now do not.
- Unless a strip specifically states that it also incorporates surge suppression circuitry, it probably doesn’t. Don’t rely on power strips to protect electrical devices from power surges.
Consult a qualified electrician at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Plumbing about using power strips safely and upgrading your electrical system to accommodate today’s increased power demands.
"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
- Jerry A.
"I called Apollo because of a water leak I thought I had in our upstairs shower going into the kitchen. Robbie came and assured me everything was fine & looked at all the other plumbing. He ended up changing a few pipes for our washer & clearing a drain. He was very nice & knowledgeable with all my questions. I ended up signing up for the care plan & was very happy with my service."
- Cassandra B.
"The team at Apollo exceeded my expectations. As a business owner, my attention to the details and commitment to providing excellent service is high. From the sales rep. to the installation team, everyone’s performance was outstanding. For example, the installation team went to great lengths to protect our floors, placing floor runners and across the wood floors and up the stairs. They even were spot washing walls upon their departure. I highly recommend this company."
- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
"Apollo is an excellent company. I always receive great service. Alex A. was professional and friendly. He kept me informed during the process of checking my furnace and heat pump to make sure they were working properly. The company makes sure you are notified who is coming and when they are on the way. All my interactions with the company have been wonderful."
- Beverly S.