Double Adapters – Just how safe are they?

In today’s digital age, it is quite common that our homes have insufficient general purpose outlets (GPOs), or power points for our needs. It has been custom to just grab a double adapter to provide that additional power point to charge up your mobile phones or one of the children’s electronic devices? So just how safe are double adapters anyway?

Unfortunately, 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:

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

With an increase in electrical devices requiring frequent charging and homes containing an insufficient number of outlets, using a double adapter as a solution sadly imposes unnecessary risk. The lack of overload protection means that if one appliance or item draws additional current, the adapter could overload and result in 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 results in poor connections as the plugs enter at an angle to the adapter. Issues arise when either plug becomes slightly dislodged. The exposed pins are “Live.” Any object, for example, a finger or piece of jewellery, which accidentally come into contact with this live pin could result in electrocution or even blow out a circuit if your home does not have a safety switch installed.

There is 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 and this can happen suddenly without any notice.  A lack of maintenance whereby dust may be present within the adapters’ points also increases the fire risk.

If double adapters aren’t the answer, then what are the solutions?

Installation of additional GPOs

For a more permanent and safer option, consider additional power points in those areas you find yourself regularly using double adapters or power boards.

Contact a qualified electrician to install your GPOs. Guaranteeing the electrical safety of your home should only be left in the hands of a qualified professional.

Power boards

If you are 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 in the form of either a circuit breaker or safety switch. These power boards are readily identifiable by their reset button or safety switch.

Follow these tips to make sure you use your power board safely and correctly:

  • Ensure you maintain your power boards – make sure you inspect the board for signs of deterioration and that no dust or foreign objects have made their way into the unused points.
  • 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 which may become dislodged and tip over the power board resulting in exposed pins.

So with Christmas approaching, have a quick check of your home to ensure you are not placing the health and safety of your family in the hands of a dodgy adapter!

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