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Abuse of extension leads and multi plugs

Most people are aware that you shouldn’t overload sockets. It can be tempting to just grab an extension lead or a multiplug, just to “get it working”. But as we like to say here at Doctor Sparky, “just because it works, doesn’t make it safe”.

Generally speaking, you should only use an extension temporarily, like when using a power tool for example. But we often find extension leads that have become a permanent feature in a home or workplace. In an ideal world, you would have additional sockets installed, which an approved electrician would be able to sort for you. But until you get that done, here are some tips to keep you as safe as possible whilst using an extension lead:

1) Be aware of the items you are plugging in, you need to know what the power rating is of each appliance/accessory. Low power items like phone chargers, table lamps, alarm clocks etc are far less likely to cause overloading than powerful equipment like electric heaters, washing machines, tumble dryers for example.

2) Never plus an extension lead into another extension lead. This multiplies the number of sockets that can be used, and they all eventually go through the same original plug that is in the wall socket, making overloading much easier.

3) Use the right extension lead for the job, the shorter the lead, the better. If using a coiled up extension lead, it will be able to handle more power when fully unraveled, but this can become a trip hazard, to using the right lead for the job is very important. A fully coiled extension lead will overheat very quickly if something powerful is plugged in, and does pose a real fire risk.

4) Never use multi plugs, just don’t.

5) Make sure you use good quality leads from a reputable manufacturer. They have more safety features and are generally much better quality.

We hope this helps, and if you find that you are using extension leads just to get enough sockets in your home or workplace, then it would be a good idea to give us a call to arrange a quote for installing additional sockets.

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