Keeping your cords and cables under control

Any home with a television, cable box, computers, or even just basic floor lamps and fans, can easily have a mess of cords and cables. Over the years, we’ve seen lots of interesting ways that people manage cords in their home—some that are great ideas and some that put the homeowner at risk.

Here are a few tips for managing cords, whether it’s the mess of cords behind your entertainment center or the power strip next to your night stand.

Don’t overload power strips

This is one of the most important safety tips, and yet we see overloaded power strips all the time. Just because there are six or eight plugs on the power strip doesn’t mean you can plug six or eight things into it.

Some items, like fans or bedside lamps, don’t require much power. Other items, especially heating items like blow dryers, crockpots, and toasters, draw much more power. It’s a good idea to only have one of those on any single power strip.

Also be sure that any power strips are plugged directly into a wall outlet and not another power strip.

Avoid cords in high-traffic areas

Some homes, especially older ones, may not have electrical outlets in every place you need power. However, running power cords across high-traffic areas creates both a tripping hazard and a fire hazard if you’re regularly walking or rolling things across cords.

If possible, consider rearranging things so that whatever needs power is located close to the available outlets. If that’s not possible, try running cords over doorways instead of in front of them on the floor.

Keep cords tidy with labels and ties

If you peek behind your entertainment center or under your computer desk, is there a jumble of cords and cables staring back at you? That hidden mess of cords can present a fire hazard if you’re not careful, as electrical shorts can occur in the power strips or in the plugs themselves.

By keeping the cords more organized, you lessen the stress on any one plug or cord, as well as make it easier to inspect them regularly for any issues. Consider using velcro ties or other cord management tools to better contain the extra length of cords and keep things tidy.

Also consider labeling the cords where they plug in to the wall or power strip, as labels can help you quickly troubleshoot any issues with your electronics.

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