7 safety tips to get the most out of your Extension Cable Reel
To merely label extension cables as an electronic accessory, is to do them an injustice. With these, you don’t have to add new sockets to your switchboards nor have to reach over your dinner table for a power socket or fight over who gets to charge their phones. Multiple sockets and a lengthy cable reel, make these nifty little plug-and-play devices, revolutionary in every way. But as much as you may underplay its brilliance, you can’t deny that these simple tools have become an everyday necessity. Like with every other electrical item, extension cables can pose a safety risk if handled incorrectly. So, it’s important to give it some TLC and adhere to a few safety tips to correctly handle these devices. How do you ask? That’s exactly what we’re here to tell you.
If you want to know how to get the most out of your cable reel, there are a few safety tips you can follow that ensure longevity, keep it in top-notch condition, and ensures that there’s no safety risk to you or those around you.
1. Corrosion is the worst enemy
Corrosion can melt off whole sunken ships, and your frail-little cable is no match for nature’s wrath! One of the best things you can do to extend the life of your extension cord reel is to keep it protected from moisture. Keep water away from it; this can mean keeping an eye out for damaged pipes or leaks from the walls. Never lay your cable in or near wet places – not only does it compromise its life, but it can also prove to be a shock hazard. Yes, the insulation on the cords resists water to an extent, but do not count on it for complete protection
2. Always use it for short-lived tasks
Maybe you want to light up a Christmas tree or need a temporary place to charge your work laptop. Get them out and put it away after every use. Never make it a permanent fix, because the cable can get damaged, frayed, or burnt. Once you use it for permanent applications, it’s easy to overlook any faults that may arise, as your cable can get tucked away behind couches or dressers. If you do want to use it for long-term tasks, make sure you incorporate frequent checking as part of the routine.
3. Don’t plug in three out of three
Just because your extension cable came with three power sockets, do not plug in and operate all three at once. If you overpower it, there’s a chance you might exceed the maximum current rating of the cord. Exceeding the limit can create a fire risk. Make a conscious choice when plugging into the outlets. If you use one high-power device, then use the other two to power up low current devices such as a radio or a bedroom lamp.
4. Avoid bending across sharp corners
Never round your cable reel around sharp corners, say of a table or wall. There’s a chance the cable can get pulled and get cut. This can lead to exposed wires and create shock hazards. Always lay them out straight as much as possible, and when bending, make sure you do so gradually, so that the structure of your reel is not compromised.
5. Get specialized extension cords for outdoors
Indoor cable reels are easily found and are cheaper, however, they do not fare well in water or heat resistance properties, are less rugged, and require extra care. Never use these cords outdoors, as they’re just not built for it. If you do want to use an extension cord outdoors, there are specialized variants that can take bending, crushing, heat and humidity to a great extent. For example, the Oshtraco 3 Way Metal Heavy Duty Cable Reel is a great choice for outdoor and garden applications.
6. Do not staple cords
Remember, extension cables cannot replace permanent wiring. So, do not staple or nail your cable in place! This can puncture the cables, and pose a shock hazard. Moreover, over time the cable can expand/contract and shift positions, which can erode the insulation if you’ve tightly stapled it to a wall.
7. Scan often to minimize safety concerns
Any time you use the extension cable, make sure you give it a visual scan for nicks, cuts, and tears. Replace or insulate any cords that show signs of wear by using high-grade electrical tape. Also, examine sockets and cord plugs and make sure they’re shining brightly. Dullness could indicate an underlying problem and pose added resistance that can cause overheating. Make sure you clean or replace any corroded parts for maximum safety.
8. Do not use in areas of high traffic
Never run the extension cable reel across the center of the room. In general, avoiding high traffic areas is a good rule of thumb, because people stepping on the cord can result in excessive flexing, which in turn lowers cable safety. So, chances are, the cord will be short or pose a shock risk. Always route it near the walls and avoid open areas.
There you have it! Follow these key safety tips in mind, and you can ensure your cable reel operates safely and without a hitch for long!