Now that the chilly weather is definitely upon us, thoughts are now turning to how we can keep warm over the Winter. Sometimes our heating needs a boost and the electric blankets and electric heaters start to make a return appearance once again.
Despite all this, it is mindful that a household electrical system is only designed to cope with so much. Unfortunately increasing numbers of households are overusing extension leads and in some cases actually overloading them with the wrong types of appliances.
What appliances could overload an extension lead?
It is actually smaller appliances such as kettles, toasters, and hair dryers which actually consume far more power than what you might imagine. In fact it is recommended that kettles and toasters actually have their own socket and are not used on extension leads at all. This is because a kettle alone would use the maximum electrical load on a 13 Amp extension lead which renders the rest of the extension lead useless!
Electric heaters can provide a great way of providing quick and effective heat into winter chilled rooms, they are great in a living room when plugged into an extension lead along with a laptop, printer and a router but be wary of using them with a hair dryer. An electric heater and a hair dryer plugged into a 13 Amp extension lead will overload it leading to risk of overheating and fire.
As a general rule, no more than 3000 Watts of energy should be plugged into a 13 Amp extension lead. Of course we don’t expect you to calculate how much energy each appliance uses, just be mindful of more power hungry appliances such as kettles, hair dryers and electric heaters which should ideally have their own socket for your own peace of mind.
What appliances will be ok to plug into an extension lead?
Appliances which consume less power will be better used in an extension lead. Such appliances include televisions, computer monitors, hard drives, laptops, wireless routers, mobile phone chargers, and games consoles etc. Even items which you would imagine might use more power such as electric blankets and hair straighteners are ok to use in an extension lead.
However before you plug in, it is important to check the Amps on your extension lead. We have based our post today on a 13 Amp extension lead. The capabilities of a lower Amp extension lead (like a 5Amp) will be much lower.
There is an interactive socket overload calculator which allows you to find out if you will overload your 13 Amp extension lead with a wide variety of household appliances. Take a look here
Where are extension leads suitable for use?
We recommend that extension leads are restricted to living areas and bedrooms within your home. In kitchens, appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers would cause a 13 Amp extension lead to overload if more than once appliance was used at the same time. Of course extension leads should never be brought into bathrooms and WC areas in your home.
The Safer Way
In an ideal world, extension sockets should not be used at all. To maintain optimum safety levels in your home, you would plug each appliance into it’s own socket, however we do understand that in living rooms in particular it would not be practical to have a socket for every single thing!
In rooms such as kitchens, it is a good idea to ask a domestic electrician in your area to install extra sockets if you are finding it difficult to manage with what you have. In recent years, there has been increasing demand for additional kitchen sockets, and here at Fulcher Edwards we are often asked to fit additional sockets into our clients home. The installation of additional sockets should always be done by an electrical contractor who will ensure that they are safely installed and tested for your peace of mind.
A good time to consider your household needs for extra sockets is when you carry out home improvements in London and Hertfordshire. Redecorating a home often leads to replacement sockets for something more fitting with the theme. It is a great idea to ask your electrician to install additional sockets if you’re using extension leads currently. In fact all good NICEIC electricians in St Albans will ask you about your current electrical needs to ensure that you have enough electrical sockets.
Give us a call now on: 020 7922 1101 / 01923 616985 or send us a message HERE.