CPSC says Plug To Socket, Not Plug To Plug, Please

When the power goes out, it goes without saying that all the lights and sockets in a house stop working. Experienced rural homeowners stock up on candles, batteries, LED lights and inverters. More foolhardy people simply connect their home’s electrical system to a generator using a power cord with a plug on one end between the generator and an electrical outlet. This should be so obviously dangerous as to be unnecessary, but it has become widespread enough that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a warning about the practice. In particular, they are concerned that there is no need to even connect a wire, since they are readily available on Amazon.

The dangers they cite include electric shock, fire hazards by bypassing the house̵[ads1]7;s electrical protection measures, and even carbon monoxide poisoning because the wires are so short that the generator must be next to the outlet. Hackaday readers do not need to be told about these dangers, although in very few and very special cases we have seen people from our community do so. Perhaps there is a flaw in the way we wire our homes and we should provide a means to disconnect our low current circuits when there is a power outage.

It is likely that over the next few decades, the growth of home battery storage devices such as the Tesla Powerwall will make our homes more resilient to power outages, and anyone tempted to use a plug-to-plug cord will instead notice your house is switching to storage or solar energy. Meanwhile, some of us have our own ways of dealing with power outages.

Plug image: Evan-Amos, Public domain.

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