How are power cords an essential part of daily life? You probably think that’s ridiculous, but the truth is that you would have much trouble using devices without power cords.
It is impossible to live without them, and we all know this. However, we often neglect to consider how we should use them correctly and safely to prevent injury and destruction. Read this article for some valuable tips regarding the appropriate use of power cords.
Table of Contents
7 Best Practices For Using Power Cords Safely and Adequately
(1) Appropriate voltage:
Make sure that the voltage of the power cord is compatible with the device you are using it with. It would be best if you did not use a power cord with a voltage higher or lower than what your device needs, as this can cause damage to your device.
Additionally, ensure that the power cords have the “UL” stamp of approval. It is a stamp from an independent organization that certifies that the cord is compliant with safety regulations and will not cause any problems.
(2) Don’t use it too much:
Regardless of how the power cord is used, there must be two things on one end – a plug and a device that the plug connects to. If you continuously use the same cord repeatedly by daisy-chaining them, you are overworking the cord and wearing it out. These conditions may result in heat, sparks, and even a fire.
When possible, you should use different outlets or invest in a power strip surge protector with a switch to turn off all devices simultaneously.
(3) Check the wattage:
Just as you would not use an extension cord to plug in a high-wattage appliance, you should also know how much power your devices consume. Therefore, whenever you use a power strip for your electronics, it is essential to verify each device’s wattage (measured in watts) and purchase a power strip capable of handling their combined load.
The general rule is not to exceed 80% of the capacity of your power strip. This prevents damage to the cord and overheating of the connected devices. If your device consumes more power than the power strip’s capacity, try connecting it directly to the wall outlet.
Whenever it comes to power cables, wattage is king! By knowing how much power your devices consume, you can avoid damaging or overheating your cords and appliances.
(4) Keep power cords clear:
Keeping your power cords untangled and organized will ensure that they are easy to use and are transparent. In this way, you will not need to worry about tripping over them or becoming frustrated when finding the right one.
You can also label each cord with a tag or sticker to know which one belongs to which device. It is beneficial to have more than one cord for the same machine. In addition, it is a smart idea to keep your cords away from the edge of your desk. This is because they may accidentally snag on a chair or other piece of furniture.
(5) Use high-quality front plugs:
The most advisable practice when using power cords is choosing front plugs of high quality. If you use quality front plugs, you can protect your equipment from damage and ensure that your power cord functions appropriately.
Furthermore, proper front plugs can provide some protection against electrical shocks. Due to these reasons, it is always recommended to use a high-quality front plug when connecting your power cable.
(6) Do not use light-duty extension cords:
Most light-duty extension cords are referred to as “lamp” cords since they are designed to handle smaller loads, but bigger appliances or lamps can severely overload them.
According to the National Electric Code, power cords should be sized and used according to the load, and extension cords should never be considered as a permanent wiring solution. If you use an undersized cord, you may experience overheating, resulting in a fire.
To avoid using light-duty extension cords whenever possible, always use the right-sized cord for the job.
(7) Do not tie cords in tight knots:
Tying cords in tight knots is never a wise idea, as this can damage the cord and create an unsafe situation. Instead, if you need to bundle your cords, try using a cable tie or some other type of cord wrap. This will ensure they remain tangle-free and organized.
Bonus: To use a power code safely, you can check this extension cord safety pdf for more information.
(8) Don’t use damaged cords
Damaged power cords can be a fire hazard and should not be used. If you use damaged power cords, you should always inspect them for damage before using them. If you find any damage, you should replace the cord immediately. The following signs of damage are not to be ignored:
- Cords with exposed wires
- Wires that are frayed or cracked
- Cords that are excessively warm to the touch
- Water damage
(9) Use GFCIs
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are among the best ways to protect yourself from electrical shock while using power cords. GFCIs can prevent up to 75% of all electrocutions. So, if you’re not already using them in your home, it’s time to start!
Here are some tips on how to use GFCIs safely:
Ensure that all of the outlets in your home used with power cords have GFCI outlet protection.
- When using an appliance or tool plugged into a power cord, always make sure that it is unplugged before touching it.
- If you get shocked by an appliance or tool, unplug it immediately and seek medical attention.
Power cords are a pain to use. They always get tangled up and in the way, especially when you need them most. For power cords, the most efficient practice is to keep them organized with a cord management system, which will make your life easier.
Therefore, always follow the best practices to avoid damage and create a safe working environment when using power cords. Above tips will assist you in ensuring that your devices remain powered on and that your cables stay in good condition.
I’m Bobby Taylor, a tech lover, writer, and editor for Smart Home Protector. I am also a customer relationship officer of a well established electronics manufacturer company in the United States.