Follow these tips to charge your devices safely.
Whether you need a replacement or just want an extra phone charger, it can be tempting to purchase the low-priced option rather than the higher-priced charger from the manufacturer. However, purchasing a bargain charger could have disastrous consequences. Most of the time, these products are unregulated and untested. Their components are often low quality and are not backed by a manufacturer’s warranty. Only purchase charging devices and electronics from trusted sources and be sure they have been tested or marked by a nationally recognized testing laboratory like Underwriters Laboratories. It’s also important to inspect your charging cords for damage. Any cord that carries electrical power becomes a fire hazard when it’s damaged and wires are exposed. As soon as you see damage to a cord, stop using it.
It’s safest to charge your devices on cool, well-ventilated surfaces away from flammable objects. A well-ventilated spot will help prevent your device from overheating. Devices tucked under a pillow, nestled on the carpet, or resting on a bed or couch don’t allow for this. And, always unplug charging cords when they’re not in use. Cords that are plugged in are constantly drawing power. If the cord isn’t plugged into a device, that power can be transferred to flammable objects, such as fabric, carpet, or wood, and cause it to ignite.
Once your phone is plugged into an outlet it becomes a potential electrical hazard. And, unlike a hairdryer or electric razor — devices meant to be used in a bathroom — phones, laptops, and wireless speakers are not equipped with a safety mechanism known as a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which shuts off power to the device when it gets wet.
In the U.S., building codes require you to use outlets equipped with a GFCI in bathrooms, kitchens, and other household spaces where an electronic device might come into contact with water. Regardless of the type of cord you’re using, if you drop your phone into the water you could be electrocuted.
Avoid relying on extension cords when charging devices. Extension cords are not meant for long-term use. If you need to plug in your phone in a more convenient area than is available, this may be an indicator you need more outlets.
Source: ESFI, finance.yahoo.com
Portable electric generators offer great benefits when outages affect your home. Below are guidelines for safely connecting and operating portable generators. Additional information is available about selecting and purchasing generators.
Don’t connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring.
Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others. A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can ‘backfeed’ onto the power lines connected to your home. This backfeed can be powerful enough to kill a utility lineman making outage repairs a long way from your house. You could also cause expensive damage to utility equipment and your generator. The only safe way to connect a portable electric generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrical contractor install a transfer switch, or to install a Generlink device. The transfer switch transfers power from the utility power lines to the power coming from your generator.
GenerLink™ is a five-inch device that is installed behind your electric meter by your local utility or licensed electrical contractor. When you connect a portable generator to GenerLink™ and start it up, GenerLink™ automatically disconnects your house from the electric utility grid preventing the possibility of backfeed, which can damage equipment and harm utility personnel.
Because GenerLink™ is designed and rated to connect directly to a standard household electric service of 200 amps or less, all you have to do to operate a critical appliance is flip a breaker on in the household breaker panel once the generator is connected and operating. GenerLink™ eliminates the hassles of running multiple extension cords or hiring an electrician to install an expensive transfer switch and sub-panel that limits the number of appliances you can operate.
GenerLink™ is installed by your local electric utility in less than 30 minutes. There is no need for you to be home and there is no need to rewire the house. Contact Southern Indiana Power for more information, or visit the GenerLink website.
Never plug a portable electric generator into a regular household outlet.
Plugging a generator into a regular household outlet can energize “dead” power lines and injure neighbors or utility workers. Connect individual appliances that have their outdoor-rated power cords directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator, or connect these cord-connected appliances to the generator with the appropriate outdoor-rated power cord having a sufficient wire gauge to handle the electrical load.
Don’t overload the generator.
Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator. Overloading your generator can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics. Prioritize your needs. A portable electric generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment.
Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage.
Just like your automobile, a portable generator uses an internal combustion engine that emits deadly carbon monoxide. Be sure to place the generator where exhaust fumes will not enter the house. Only operate it outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed, or carport.
Use the proper power cords.
Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage. Don’t use extension cords with exposed wires or worn shielding. Make sure the cords from the generator don’t present a tripping hazard. Don’t run cords under rugs where heat might build up or cord damage may go unnoticed.
Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.
Don’t cut corners when it comes to safety. Carefully read and observe all instructions in your portable electric generator’s owner manual. To prevent electrical shock, make sure your generator is properly grounded. Consult your manufacturer’s manual for correct grounding procedures.
Do not store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it’s running.
Gasoline (and other flammable liquids) should be stored outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers. They should not be stored in a garage if a fuel-burning appliance is in the garage. The vapor from gasoline can travel invisibly along the ground and be ignited by pilot lights or electric arcs caused by turning on the lights. Avoid spilling fuel on hot components. Put out all flames or cigarettes when handling gasoline. Always have a fully charged, approved fire extinguisher located near the generator. Never attempt to refuel a portable generator while it’s running.
Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down your generator.
Avoid getting burned.
Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation. Keep children away from portable electric generators at all times.