6 Top Tips to Avoid Overloading Your Sockets and Extension Leads at Home

Top 6 Tips to Avoid Overloading Your Sockets and Extension Leads at HomeAre you using your sockets and extension leads properly? Are you sure you are not overloading them? It is so easy to overload the socket or the extension lead, thus risking fire!

We were recently browsing the www.twothirtyvolts.org.uk website from the Electrical Safety Council, and we played around with their lovely Socket Overload Calculator.

We were shocked to find out how many of the devices and appliances in the kitchen or bedroom, when combined together, will blow the fuse! Although there’s space to plug in four appliances (in a 4-way bar adaptor) this doesn’t mean it’s always safe to do so! It is good to know some of the top tips that would help you avoid the risk of overheating and possibly fire.

6 Top Tips for Avoiding the Overload of Your Sockets

Before we even start the list of the top tips for avoiding the overloading of the sockets or extension leads, take a look and play a bit with the socket overload calculator below, plugging in the appliances and devices you have at home…

The Socket Calculator has been brought to you by Electrical Safety First.

For more safety information visit http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk

The Socket Calculator has been brought to you by the Electrical Safety Council. For more safety information visit www.esc.co.uk

It is very surprising to see that it’s so easy to plug in appliances which you need – yet in total they use more than 13A or 3000W of energy. Now, let’s see some of the top tips to avoid overloading your sockets:

  1. Check the Current Rating of the Extension Lead – before plugging any appliances into it, make sure you know what’s the rating. Most leads are 13A rated or less, and you need to know it!
  2. Know the Total Current Rating and Wattage of the Plugged-in Appliances – before you plug in and use the appliances in an extension lead or socket, make sure you know what’s the total of the current rating (the amperage) and the wattage of those appliances. The total current rating cannot exceed the maximum current rating of the lead, and the wattage cannot exceed 3000W. Otherwise, the plug in the wall socket can overheat and possibly cause a fire.
  3. Use only One Extension Lead Per Socket – it may sound stupid, but some people plug in an extension lead into an extension lead. Use one extension lead per socket only, otherwise the risk of overloading the wall socket and the extension lead plugged into it!
  4. If Possible, Don’t Use a Block Adaptor but a Multiway Bar Extension Lead – many of the block adaptors (those blocks of plastic with many sockets on them) are not very safe, do not have a fuse, and are not recommended to be used. They increase the risk of overloading and fire, so, if possible, use a multi-way extension lead.
  5. Install More Sockets if Needed – if you regularly need to use an extension lead in a certain area of your house, it is recommended that you contact a registered electrician to install an extra double socket in that area. While he’s at your place, why don’t you ask him to check your installation and your sockets?
  6. Regularly Check for Danger Signs like: smell of hot plastic (melting sockets or appliances), sparks or scorch marks around a socket / plug / appliance, damaged or frayed leads, coloured wire from inside leads showing at the plug, fuses that keep blowing for no obvious reason, etc. Anything that is suspicious or out of the ordinary when an extension lead is used should be an alert for possible trouble!

What are the Ratings of the Most Commonly Used Domestic Appliances?

Glad that you asked. Most people don’t know what is the power rating of the appliance they are using, even though it is easy to find out. Via the ESC website you can find a list of the highest ratings of the most popular household appliances – which list we are reproducing below.

What are the Ratings of the Most Commonly Used Domestic Appliances? Here are the domestic appliances amps and watts rating

For more information on this topic, we would recommend the twothirtyvolts.org.uk website and the section of Overloading Sockets / Safety In the Home via ESC.org.uk. The photo is a popular extension lead available through the online store at Sparks.

10 comments

  1. Interesting article! The latest statistics show that most fire and electricity accidents that have happened in the home occurred in kitchens, and were caused by the use of extension leads. Following this I highly recommend avoid using extension leads in kitchens, where it is possible.

  2. I have a home phone my internet and a carer alarm am I able to use an extension socket with all these devices

    1. Yes. That will be absolutely safe as your’re nowhere near the load rating of the cable.

  3. If I don’t use the items at the same time does that mean itis safe?
    Is using an extension lead with switches safer too?
    Thanks

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