The difference between an extension cord and a power strip is the power strip is a type of short extension cord with 4 to 8 outlets and usually has a switch on it.
While the extension cord is a cord that can be a few feet to 50 feet or longer in length and usually has only one plug on it but some extension cords have more than one plug on it.
Turning off a power strip is not the same as unplugging it.
When you turn off the power strip you're just turning off the electricity to the outlets on the power strip but the power strip still has electricity flowing through it up to the switch.
Unplugging the power strip means unplugging the power strip cord from the wall outlet which means the power strip is no longer energized at all.
If you have old power strips you can take them apart and remove the brass and copper to recycle.
You can also drop off your old power strips to an electronics recycling program if you have one in your area or set them out by the curb for a scrap metal collector to pick up.
It's recommended that you only keep power strips for 2 to 3 years.
However you can keep power strips for longer than that as long as they are not actually bad or the plugs have become loose.
To know if your power strip is safe ensure the power strip plugs are holding the plugs tight and also look for any signs of melting around the plug, cord etc.
Another sign that your power strip is bad is the cord is frayed or has been chewed.
If the power strip or surge protectors feels hot, this is a good sign that you have too many things plugged in.
Watch for burn marks or melted plastic.
If your power strip keeps turning off either you have overloaded the power strip or the breaker has detected a fault in an appliance or other cord attached to the power strip.
Another reason your power strip could be turning off is because your breaker switch or breaker button on the power strip may be weak from too much use.
Power Strips don't stop working although the outlets may get loose where they don't hold the plugs in place or the breaker switch or breaker button may wear out and cause the power strip to not supply power.
Power Strips typically last around 3 years to 5 years although some may last longer.
A power strip will trip if you have overloaded the power strip or if there's a fault in the wiring of the power strip or a fault in the wiring or appliance you have plugged into the power strip.
Things you should not plug into a power strip are high wattage appliances such as electric space heater, toaster oven, hot plate, electric kettle, sump pumps and washing machines are best not plugged into power strips.
However a hair dryer is generally safe to plug into a power strip as long as it's not on for longer than 5 minutes or so.
It is OK to use all the open plugs on an 8 outlet power strip as long as you don't overload the power strip by running to many amps through the power strip.
If you have small loads on the power strip or only use a few of the things plugged into the power strip at a time and they don't use more amps than the power strip is rated for then it's safe to use all the plugs on the power strip.
It's recommended that you replace power strips and surge protectors every 2 to 3 years.
However you can keep a power strip or surge protector as long as it's in good condition and the outlets are tight and not loose and you have no frayed wires on it.
Power strips can cause fires if the power strip is overloaded or if the power strip is bad.
If you overload the power strip then the power strip can start a fire.
Although if the power strip has a breaker on it then the breaker should trip when you pull too much power from the power strip.
Also never plug high wattage things into the power strip such as a space heater that runs longer than a few minutes or so.
Plugging a hair dryer into the power strip is generally safe as long as you don't run the hair dryer longer than 5 minutes or so at a time.
A space heater on the other hand would be a constant load which can heat up a power strip.
Space heaters should be plugged directly into an outlet.
If the power strip also has a frayed cord on it then it should be discarded and replaced.
A power strip gives you the ability to plug multiple devices into a single wall outlet.
A surge protector is a type of power strip which is specifically designed to withstand a power surge and keep your electronics safe.
As long as you don't overload the power strip or surge protector they should not cause any fire.
Also make sure the outlets are fitting tight and not loose and also make sure the outlet that you plug the power strip or surge protector into is tight fitting.
The loose connection of the outlet can cause the plug and outlet to heat up which can start a fire.