Why is daisy chaining dangerous?

In the world of electronics, unfortunately daisy chaining isn’t nearly as innocent as its name might suggest. Essentially, the term refers to the practice of plugging a multiway extension/adapter into a mains power socket and when you run out of sockets, plugging a second multiway extension into one of the power sockets on the extension. It’s the process of looping more than one power extension together to create a chain of them, all powered by the same single power source in the wall. Though it might seem convenient, like some quick fixes in life, it’s extremely dangerous.

Is daisy chaining commonplace now?

It certainly shouldn’t be, but there’s no denying that many people do it. When it’s an older home, office or venue that has too few power sockets in the wall to get enough big UK plugs into, the use of an extension cord is considered normal. It can easily turn one socket into five. However, there are hidden or unknown risk factors with doing this that most British people are blissfully unaware of.

What are the risks of daisy chaining power supplies?

Multiway extensions in the UK don’t have a current that exceeds 13 amps. That’s all you get to use. The problems become apparent when plugging in multiple computers, amplifiers, coffee makers, etc. and the total amperage draw exceeds 13 amps.

What then happens is that the appliances that require a higher amperage end up collectively exceeding what the multiway extension can handle. Its fuse will then most certainly blow because it’s also not designed to run high amps successfully or for a long duration.

How does it become dangerous?

The trouble is that not every fuse will blow. Sometimes, they’re such low quality in a low-budget multiway extension that the fuse fails to trip and then the extension is running too many amps. With low-quality sockets on inferior extensions, the sockets themselves can become faulty. A circuit overloads and ultimately, an electrical fire can be created due to the amps exceeding the capability of the components to handle it.

How bad is an electrical fire?

An electrical fire is difficult to put out. It’s not hard to see why – as water is conductive, traditional methods to fight fire would only worsen the outcome considerably. As a result, most electrical fires require a special kind of extinguisher to put out.

With such a fire, the equipment that’s plugged into the extension will likely get damaged or permanently broken due to an electrical overload. And a fire in a building can spread quickly and become unmanageable faster than it can be contained – all because of daisy chaining.

How can you prevent the risks of daisy chaining?

Your first course of action is easily the most simple – stop doing it! In most cases, it’s a wholly unnecessary solution to a problem, and if you’re a homeowner, chances are that you don’t need every appliance being plugged in to be working at any one time. So, it just becomes a case of choosing what you don’t need (don’t really need) to have switched on at once.

In professional scenarios, it can be a rather harder problem to tackle. Thankfully, though, most professional environments like offices, theatres or event venues (just to name a few) tend to have more than enough outlets for the job. It just becomes a matter of logistics.

If it comes right down to it, rewiring an environment (or at least the affected rooms) to add more socket outlets is an alternative approach to take. New homes and offices should have additional socket outlets installed to account for the extra need from laptops, printers and other equipment beyond what was required decades ago. When multiway adapters or extensions are used as a last resort, they should be properly fused and tested to meet current UK safety requirements. Unfused adapters, including cube ones, should never be used and can overload and be a fire risk. Adapters of all kinds should never be daisy chained.

Safety is a key priority of ours right here at Rubber Box, which is why we design our products with this aspect first and foremost in mind. You can shop our wide range of power distros and electrical distribution equipment right here on our site, or alternatively give us a call on 01282 677 910 to see how we can help.

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