Extension cords and surge protectors: 7 main questions and answers about choosing

extension cords Dec 02, 2019

Sockets in the house or office are not always conveniently located: to connect the necessary equipment, extension cords or surge protectors are often needed. These simple devices cost differently: you can find very cheap models and more expensive. Buyers often do not understand what to be guided by when choosing, because extension cords and filters look the same.

I will tell you what to look for when buying and what is better to choose - a filter or extension cord.

How the extension cord differs from the filter

The function of the filter and extension cord is the same - increasing the distance between the power source and the consumer. The filter differs from the extension cord by additional protection against short circuit and network interference. If a power surge occurs in the network, the fuses built into the equipment cannot withstand and blow out - the filter itself is equipped with a fuse, which in case of a surge will protect the equipment from breakage.

On power filters, each outlet should have an indicator - a button with an LED that allows you to control the operation. The absence of a light signal is a sign of burnout of one of the LEDs. If there is no indication at all, in front of you, most likely, is an ordinary extension cord.

Filters are the most advanced and safest devices, so when choosing between them and conventional extension cords, you should give preference to filters.

How many outlet holes should be

Everything is individual here. If you need to connect a small number of devices, you should choose an extension cord or filter for four to five outlet openings. On sale you can find devices with up to 12 sockets, so choosing the right one is easy.

If you need to supplement one outlet with just a couple of additional holes, you should consider buying an adapter, which is often called a double or a tee in everyday life. It takes up less space.

What is maximum load?

Maximum load is the current strength that determines the maximum power of the connected equipment. The standard maximum load is 10 A. This corresponds to 2.2 kW of power for household appliances and a network voltage of 220 V. This is enough to solve most problems.

Conventional household appliances consume an average of less than 0.5 kW of energy, so the maximum load is not so important if you are looking for a filter or extension cord for home use. There are extension cords and filters with a maximum load of 16 A, but if you do not have such a powerful technique, you should not overpay for additional amperes.

Do I need surge protection and overload protection?

Surge protection is only available in surge protectors. It is she who will save the equipment from breakdown in the event of a power surge. The protection works simply: thermal breakers are installed in the filter, which break the electrical network when the voltage exceeds a safe interval. Safe is considered a voltage from 210 to 230 V.

There are three levels of protection: essential, home / office, performance. The first is equipped with the cheapest network filters, the second - devices for household needs, the third are used when connecting expensive equipment like a plasma TV. Choosing the type of protection is based on the type of equipment you plan to connect. Optimal to choose home / office or performance.

Filters and extension cords protect against overload using special fuses. There are no special requirements for fuses, but when buying, you need to make sure it is available. Fuses will protect against overload and overheating, will prevent the sudden failure of equipment.

Do you have to have a ground contact?

Yes, this contact is needed because it is responsible for the safe use of the device. A quality extension cord and surge protector can work without grounding, but experts recommend using devices equipped with it. Grounding will protect the equipment from impulse surges, help reduce electromagnetic radiation from devices, reduce the emission of interference into the network and the influence of these interference on the equipment, and exclude the possibility of electric shock.

What is IP Index?

This index reflects the ability of devices to withstand external factors. After the letters are two numbers.

The first digit indicates the size of solids that cannot penetrate the outlet. This value can be from zero to six. 0 - no protection, 1 - protection against particles from 50 mm in size, 2 - from 12 mm, 3 - from 2.5 mm, 6 - full protection against dust.

The second digit indicates resistance to moisture. 0 - no protection, 1 - protection against vertical drops of water, 3 - from falling at an angle of up to 60 degrees, 6 - protection against powerful water jets, 8 - protection against prolonged immersion in water.

In domestic conditions, devices with a degree of IP 20 are usually used. In rooms with high humidity, IP 44 and higher filters are recommended.

What additional features may come in handy

The filter or extension cord can be equipped with safety shutters that open when the outlet is inserted into the plug. Some open with a simple circular motion, others - only with the application of certain efforts, others - up. Curtains are useful for protecting children, so if there is a child in the family, you should consider buying a device with them.

The shutdown buttons can also be useful. They can turn each socket outlet on and off individually or all at once.

If you plan to install a filter or extension cord on a wall, pay attention to the mounting holes. Using these holes, the devices can be hung on a nail or a self-tapping screw in the wall and save space.

A USB port is another useful design feature. Many manufacturers equip their devices with several USB ports, which allow you to connect gadgets to the network directly without using an adapter.

To control the operation of the filter, light indicators are useful. When stable, they usually light green, and when overloaded, they light red.

8 rules for the safe use of a filter or extension cord

  1. Check for moisture on the case, mechanical or thermal damage.
  2. First connect an extension cord or filter to the network, then devices and equipment.
  3. Do not locate wires in places of movement of people or vehicles.
  4. Place the extension coil on dry, level surfaces.
  5. Do not connect equipment whose power is higher than the permissible one on the device.
  6. Do not connect defective appliances.
  7. Store filters and extension cords at temperatures from 0 to +40 degrees;
  8. During storage, avoid kinks and creases of the extension cord.