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Advice For Overloading Sockets And Extension Leads

We are all guilty of overloading sockets and extension leads. The number of times we take the easy way out and plug several appliances into one socket or extension leads is probably quite high. Often, the only socket will be out of reach and we need to plug in a lamp, a laptop, a phone charger, a pair of hair straighteners, a coffee machine, a kettle – the list is potentially endless. However, as you probably know, overloading any socket or extension lead is an accident waiting to happen.  

In an ideal situation, there will always be a socket nearby, exactly when you need it, but you would need sockets plastered all over the walls for that to be the case. Fortunately, there are a few tricks to avoid overloading sockets and we can give you the correct way of checking that everything is working smoothly.

Firstly, we recommend that you avoid the use of block adapters as they tend not to have a fuse, which can increase the risk of fire. Instead, use a multi-way bar extension. These kinds of extension leads are fine, but there are still a few things you should bear in mind:

  • Check the rating of the extension lead. Most are 13A, but some are only 10A, and it is important to know which it is before you start plugging in appliances. Don’t overload an extension lead with appliances that will trigger the maximum rating.
  • Never plug extension leads into each other. It must always be one extension lead per socket, otherwise you run the risk of overloading the socket and possibly causing an electrical fire.
  • You might want to consider having additional sockets installed, especially if you always find that you need to overload your existing sockets. Our professional electricians at Leigh Electrical are fully qualified to carry out the installation work and would be happy to do this for you.

If you suspect that your sockets are overloaded, below are a few tell-tale signs of danger. If you spot any of these issues, switch the socket off and unplug any appliances. You should then seek the assistance of a qualified electrician. Watch out for any of these danger signs:

  • Smell of burning plastic near a socket
  • Frayed or damaged cords and cable
  • Visible coloured wire showing at the plug or elsewhere
  • Sparks or smoke coming from a plug or appliance
  • Melted plastic on cables or appliance casings
  • Black marks or scorch marks around the socket
  • Fuses or circuit breakers that regularly blow

Featured Image: 14 plugs but only 6 sockets | © Jason Rogers, Flickr.

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