If you think back on your childhood you may remember your parents telling you all sorts of different things that may or not have been true. “If you keep making that face it will stay that way.” “Sitting too close to the TV will ruin your eyesight.” “If you pee in a pool there is a special dye that will turn it blue so everyone will know you did it.” “If you swallow your gum it will stay in your stomach for seven years.” Most of the time your parents were just saying this to get you to quit doing something. Now that almost everyone you know has a smart phone there are some new phrases that you may hear parents saying. “Too much screen time will ruin your eyesight.” “Playing that game will make you dumb.” “Don’t use damaged charging cords because they will catch fire.” How many of these are really true? Today Peterkin Electric wants to explore the danger of using damaged electrical cords to see if there is any truth to that statement that you might be telling your kids.
Conductors & Insulators
Before we can truly address this question we need to talk about electricity. You may have heard people talk about conductors and insulators when they are discussing electricity. Conductors are materials that are known for their low opposition to electrical flow. Electricity easily goes through conductors. Insulators are known for their ability to stop the flow of current. Both conductors and insulators are needed for there to be clean and safe energy.
How Do Electrical Cords Catch Fire?
So now let’s talk about how that applies to your power cords. On the inside is your electrical wires. They are the power conductors for your cords. Then the wires are wrapped in an insulator of some sort to help the electricity from flowing where it is not wanted. Most of the time they are wrapped in plastic. Plastic is a good choice because it is flexible and it bends around corners easily. If the plastic or other substance that is being used as an insulator on your cords deteriorates for any reason there is indeed a chance that it may start an electrical fire. As power flows through the electrical wires some power is lost. This lost power generates heat. This makes the wires and insulator heat up. The insulator will take that heat and remove it. If there is no insulator left on the wires the wires will carry a current. If they get near a flammable material they will start a fire.
How to Fix a Frayed Power Cord or Charger
If you have an electrical cord or any sort that the plastic insulator is beginning to come off on you will want to address it. Some people will try and tape the area to make it insulated again. This is not a safe long term solution. It will work in a pinch but eventually the tape will wear down and there will be a risk of fire again.
In addition to a possible electrical fire there is also the danger of shock or electrocution. If someone touches an exposed wire it could wreak havoc. You may get lucky and nothing will happen to them but it is just tempting fate. Or they may not get so lucky and get shocked or electrocuted when they touch the wire.
Electrical Troubleshooting, Repairs, Upgrades & More in Laguna Woods, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Lake Forest & Orange County, California
To keep your family safe you will want to quit using any electrical cords when the plastic insulator starts to break or crack. You will want to purchase a replacement as soon as possible. Contact Peterkin Electric for all your electrical needs.