Is It Safe To Use Extension Cords and Three-Prong Adapters This Holiday Season?
Do you live in an older home that still has two-prong outlets? Do you regularly use extension cords to give you enough access to plug everything in?
We all laugh at movies like The Christmas Story that jokes about plugging too many things in. Sparks fly, and the circuits shut off. It may be amusing reminiscing about the “old days”, but in all seriousness, this is never a good thing.
With today’s technological advances, it’s important to have enough outlets to plug in everything you need for your lifestyle safely. It’s equally important to ensure what’s behind the outlets is safe as well.
When you plug in an extension cord or add a three-prong adapter to older technology, you have one goal in mind: to make your device work. What people rarely think about is what’s happening behind the outlet.
When your house was wired, it used the latest technology and was designed to use tools and appliances from that point in time. A lot has changed in the world. Can the wiring handle the amps needed to power up today’s accessories? The wiring may be old enough to be cloth-insulated. In any case, it’s probably not rated for today’s higher amp gadgets. If the wires heat, it can lead to fire.
Your breaker box or circuit panel usually indicates the safe load the wires can carry. Most homes today have about 120 volts of electricity running through it. Some circuit breakers may even be labeled by room location, in which you can tell amp service per indicate circuit. In most cases, 20 amp circuits will typically be safe for most devices, with more power needed for appliances like stoves, dryers, or refrigerators.
With older wiring, it may not be strong enough for higher amp gadgets. And when you start plugging things in, even overload specific circuits, things can happen. By adding three-prong adapters, or using an extension cord for more options, you are essentially asking the wiring to provide more than it potentially can.
The solution to gaining more power in your home isn’t an external process. Using three-prong adapters or extension cords are unsafe at best; why take the chance? Your safest option is to have a licensed electrician inspect your current wiring system and upgrading outdated circuits, outlets, and other components as needed.