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Double Adapters – Just how safe are they?

Our homes use more electronic devices than ever before. Lights, appliances, mobile phones, computers, smart devices – the list goes on.

But many properties weren’t designed with the digital age in mind. That means your home probably doesn’t have enough power points to suit your needs.

In the past, it was common to simply grab a double adapter when we needed an extra socket. They’re a quick, easy and affordable way to ensure your devices are always charged.

But just how safe are double adapters?

In this article, we’ll see why double adapters are a poor choice for your home, and what you can do if you need additional power points.

The Downside of Double Adapters

Double adapters may seem like a quick, cheap option to solve your immediate needs, but they are far from safe. There are three main problems with double adapters:

  • Double adapters do not provide any overload protection features
  • The angle of the double adapter may increase the fire or electrocution
  • Poor maintenance and incorrect use compound the risks of danger to you and your family

These things add up to make double adapters an unnecessary risk, especially for families with babies and young children.

One of the biggest problems is the lack of overload protection. No overload protection means that if one device draws additional current, the adapter could overload and start an electrical fire.

Not many of us have a true understanding of the amount of power being drawn by different appliances. So, this is not a gamble we should be making when it comes to electrical safety.

The design of many double adapters also results in poor connections due to the angles at which plugs enter the adapter. The danger arises when one (or both) plugs becomes slightly dislodged. The exposed pins are “live” and are carrying electrical current.

Any object (such as fingers, jewellery or children’s utensils) that comes into contact with this live pin could result in electrocution. It could also blow out a circuit if your home does not have a safety switch installed.

There’s also a temptation to add more than one double adapter or to “piggyback” adapters. This compounds the safety issues even further. Double adapters can quickly overheat suddenly without notice, and that’s especially true if you’re doubling up your adapters.

The Best Alternatives to Double Adapters

We strongly recommend that you retire any double adapters in use around your home. They present a serious risk to your safety, and they can damage your circuits and devices when used improperly.

Instead, if you need more power points in your home, we recommend one of the following alternatives:

1. Installing More Power Points

When you need more power, installing additional General Power Outlets (GPOs) is always the preferred option. Permanent power points are safe, affordable and much more convenient than running extension cords all over your home. 

It’s common in older homes for each power outlet to only have one socket. In many cases, it’s possible to swap a single-socket power point for a dual-socket outlet. Otherwise, a qualified electrician can make short work of running new wiring and installing a new outlet.

Contact a qualified electrician to install new power points. It’s crucial to have power outlets installed properly to ensure the safety of your home and family.

2. Power Boards

Looking for a temporary increase in power outlets? Then ditch the double adapters and consider using a power board with safety overload and surge protection. These power boards are readily identifiable by their reset button or safety switch.

Power boards with safety switches are far safer than double adapters. However, you should still follow these tips to make sure you’re using them safely and correctly:

  • Ensure you maintain your power boards – make sure you inspect the board for signs of deterioration, and check for dust or foreign objects in the unused sockets.
  • Allow adequate ventilation around the power board when in use.
  • Never overload your power board or add double adapters to increase the number of points.
  • Locate any extension leads and cables safely and securely. Make sure they are out of the way, so they are not a trip hazard – ensuring the connections between the power board and other electrical items remain securely fixed in place.
  • Be wary of heavy plug-in transformers (like for laptops) which may become dislodged and tip over the power board, resulting in exposed pins.

You should also replace old power boards periodically. The electrical components and connections can become corroded over time, reducing their performance and increasing the likelihood of something going wrong.

Need More Power Points Around Your Home? Contact Dawson Electric Today!

If you’ve got more electronics than you do power points, it’s time to invest in some professional help from Dawson Electric!

Dawson Electric is a team of experienced electricians that work with clients throughout Brisbane. We’ve seen some pretty dodgy uses of old power boards and double adapters, and we always recommend installing permanent power points as the alternative.

Permanent power outlets are safe, affordable and you’ll never have to worry about the risk of fire or electrocution. 

Contact us to find out more, or give us a call if you’d like a quote on new power points for your home!

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