How many extension cables is too many?

Safety advice for using extension leads in the home.

Our lives are dominated now with a myriad gadgets, most of them requiring a plug, even if just for recharging for a while. If you live in a slightly older house, you may find that plug sockets are like gold dust, and each socket may look like a duplo building block game, with one plug plugged into another, and another, and so on.

Many of us are aware that it’s not the best solution, but what’s the real risk of extension cable spaghetti junction?

The Electrical Safety Council has some great resources for understanding your own domestic electrical set-up. As they’ve explained, there are various risks with using cables, and socket adaptors. With excessive cables, there’s the risk of tripping – on a very practical level – and also cables getting damaged by tangling, or being trampled on by man, woman, beast or object!

Frayed or damaged wires can cause electric shocks, or even a home fire, which is too devastating to imagine, so if your wires are starting to look a little on the shabby side, it’s best to get them replaced. Here’s some advice from the ECS about keeping cables safe.

How about overloading plug sockets?

In the Electrical Safety Council’s own words, even if “there is space to plug in four appliances [into an adaptor], this does not mean it is always safe to do so.” 2-way and 4-way adaptors are commonplace in our tech-reliant houses, but it’s important to try and reduce the number of appliances switched on at once. Ask yourself, “Does it need to be plugged in?” If the appliance is idle for a while, try to remember to give it a break and unplug it for a while. It’ll save on energy bills too!

Some appliances are there is space to plug in four appliances, this does not mean it is always safe to do so. port instead now, so with your computer or laptop plugged in, make use of its extensive USB ports and charge your devices that way, rather than through a wall socket.

The simple rule is to never plug in appliances that together use more than 13 amps of power. You don’t have to work this out yourself though – the ESC has a handy electrical appliance calculator, that can work out if you’re exceeding the limit.