Electrical Safety 101

Don't Buy Another Electrical Item for Your Home Entertainment System Until You Do This

by David Hart

More people than ever have decided to stay home at weekends and take advantage of their super-sized TV, gaming console and Internet connection. After all, you can get the same type of experience in your makeshift theatre as you could a couple of years ago when you paid for a cinema ticket. The typical home entertainment centre is full of various gadgets, connection devices, recorders, speakers and powered woofers, so it's hardly surprising that there's barely enough room for the television! Of course, all these devices must be plugged in somewhere, and this has led to extension cord overload, quite literally. Why do you need to do something about this?

Retailers Understand

It's no happy coincidence that big-box retailers put extension cords on display right next to all that new gadgetry. They know that you cannot plug your new purchase into a spare socket, as you don't have any. Therefore, the extension cord is a "must buy" before you go home. This is fine, but these devices are not meant to be permanent. They are designed to provide a temporary solution for a portable device or two, and that's all.

Wires Everywhere

It's not unusual to see two or more extension cords in a typical Australian living room, with most of the receptacles connected to something. People do their best to hide them out of sight so it doesn't look quite as messy, but by doing so, they could elevate the risk of fire. If an extension cord is hidden alongside a sofa, the cord can easily be damaged if that item of furniture is moved inadvertently. This will not only elevate the risk of fire, but it also poses a danger of electric shock if the internal wiring is exposed.

Overload Is Easy

At the very least, consumers should check to see that it's safe to plug a high-powered entertainment device into an average extension cord. These products are rated for a maximum wattage, and it's easy to overload outlets without being aware of the risk.

The Permanent Alternative

It's reasonable to assume that the entertainment centre and all its accessories will remain a critical part of a typical household, way into the future. To retire those extension cords as soon as possible, make an appointment with an electrician to wire some permanent outlets and to handle any needed electrical repairs. At least it will give you peace of mind and allow you to sleep better at night.