VoltSafe Blog Team – May 6, 2022
3 important things to keep in mind when connecting safely to electricity
Electrical safety is a term that’s tossed around workplaces such as warehouses and construction sites, but what about electrical safety in the home?
As we draw near the end of National Electrical Safety Month, we should always be mindful that there are a few ways we can keep ourselves and our families safe when it comes to connecting to high power. The most important step is knowing a little more about the simple precautions we can take.
We’re used to picking up extension cords at dollar stores and convenience stores, but how often do we check for an electrical safety certification mark on the cord? A certification mark is important when it comes to safely using a cord or wire. One of the most common certifications is the ETL Mark.
The ETL Mark is a safety certification mark that lets the consumer know that the product that they are purchasing, for example, an electrical cord, meets product compliance with North American safety standards. The ETL Mark is the most widely accepted mark of safety and certification in North America.
Understanding Voltage, Amperage and Wattage
The voltage (V) marking on an electrical device or cord shows the pressure that pushes electrical current around a circuit. Amps (A) refers to the amount of electrical current being transferred. Wattage (W) is the measure of electrical power.
You will want to pay attention to the maximum capacity output when buying extension cords for your appliance or device. You don’t want to use a cord or wire that will transfer less current that the amount of current that your appliance or device will draw.
Connecting to electrical power
As the weather warms up and we use more appliances to cool our homes, cook our food and make those fancy mocktails. It is important to pay attention to some safety issues.
- To disconnect a plug from an outlet, pull the plug and not a not the cord.
- Use cords only for their intended purpose. For example, indoor extension cords should not be used outdoors. They are simply not made to withstand the weather and temperature changes. You can purchase outdoor extension cords to be used outside.
- Don’t use a regular extension cord to charge an electric vehicle or use an EV charger to charge any other appliance or for any other purpose than charging your electric vehicle. Improper use could cause a fire or shock hazard.
- Never overload wires or cords. This is something many of us are guilty of. Every cord is manufactured to carry only a certain amount of current. Overloading causes wiring to overheat and creates a fire hazard. Make sure the cord is large enough to carry the power necessary to operate the appliance, tool or device. You will see the markings on the plug or packaging that will show the maximum capacity wattage that the cord can carry. Make sure that the device, tool or plug that you are plugging into will draw no more than that maximum capacity of the cord or wire.
- Don’t overload circuits with too many plugs. That means don’t plug in the barbeque, the blender, the mini fridge, the air conditioner and the DJ turntables on one circuit. It sounds like a fun time, but could lead to a call to the fire department or the hospital.
Avoiding a trip to the ER is incredibly easy, so the next time you purchase an electrical cord or plug, just follow a few steps.
- Check for the ETL mark
- Check the wattage output for your cord
- Make sure the appliance or device you connect to does not draw more power than the output of the cord.
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