Power strips give us the ability to plug more products into the same outlet, which can be a help, but also a hindrance to safety if used inappropriately. Power strips and surge suppressors don’t provide more power to a location, just more access to the same limited capacity of the circuit into which it is connected. The circuit likely also still serves a variety of other outlets and fixtures in addition to the multiple electrical items you might be supplying with the power strip.
Keep these safety principles in mind when using power strips and surge suppressors:
- Be sure you are not overloading the circuit. Know the capacity of the circuit and the power requirements of all the electrical items plugged into the power strip and into all the other outlets on the circuit as well as the light fixtures on the circuit.
- A heavy reliance on power strips is a sign that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have extra outlets installed where you need them.
- Understand that surge suppressors only protect the items plugged into it, not back along the circuit into which it is connected.
- In the event of a large surge or spike, such as a lightning strike, the surge suppressor is a one-time-use protector and will likely have to be replaced.
- Consider purchasing surge suppressors with cable and phone jacks to provide the same protection to your phone, fax, computer modem and television.
- Not all power strips are surge suppressors, not all surge suppressors can handle the same load and events. Be sure the equipment you buy matches your needs.
- For homes in areas with a high incidence of lightning, consider Horry Electric’s Surge Guard® program.