Power strips are becoming increasingly common. We use it to power a variety of gadgets. However, they are often in our vicinity to power the gadgets around us. The issue is, most consumers do not know what will happen when they get wet. They do not even know whether they can get wet or not. I will answer all of these questions and more today.
Can Power Strips Get Wet?
The power strips cannot get wet. They are not designed for being exposed to water. In case of an accidental spill, it can cause a short circuit, gadget breakdown, and even it can electrocute you.
Thus, in case of an accidental spill, you need to first understand what will happen. Only, in that case, you can control the situation efficiently. More importantly, it might not be safe for you to handle the power strip in the aftermath. You have to consider these factors. I will highlight every one of these situations below.
What Happens If Water Gets In A Power Strip?
There are 5 to 6 possibilities that can occur. All of them will not happen at the same time. Chances are, only 1 or 2 out of them will occur. However, I will highlight all 6 to help you understand what happens if water gets in a power strip.
1. Short circuit:
The first thing which will happen is the circuit might be short-circuited. The reason I’m saying might is because the type of water matters a lot.
In the case of distilled water spillage, the conductivity will be very less. In that case, the short circuit is only a possibility. In most cases, it will not happen.
In the case of impure or normal water, there will be some conductivity. The chances of a short circuit happening are pretty high in that case.
The higher the mineralization or salts in the water, the greater the chances of the short circuit.https://www.cerritos.edu/chemistry/_includes/docs/Chem_111/Lab/Exp11_ELECTRICAL.CONDUCTIVITY.Sum17.pdf
2. Water gets electrified:
You need to understand that when the water gets into the power strip, it gets electrified. Sure enough, it will spill outwards. You must keep in mind that you should stay away from it when the water is electrocuted. It can electrocute you as well when you get in its vicinity.
Since the power strip might be operating at full voltage, electrified water is quite dangerous. You have to stay away from it as far as possible. In water spillage conditions, it is a better idea to let the experts handle the situation. You should not try to opt for any makeshift solutions.
It is the most important thing to keep in mind.
3. Gadget breakdown:
Does your power strip have short circuit protection?
If not, the accident can result in your gadget breakdown as well. It is because both the polarities get connected; the same can happen in your gadgets that are connected to the power strip.
When that happens, the power supply circuit or the starting circuit of the gadget can be damaged.
To fix this, you need to fix not only the power strip but also the gadget itself. Depending on the gadget connected, fixing it can be expensive. In a nutshell, the power strip getting wet can cost you a lot.
4. Probability of being electrocuted:
As stated above, the water can spill outwards as well. The water that spills outwards can electrocute you. A lot also depends on the quantity of fluid or the water that goes into the power strip.
If the water that went into the power strip has already spread in the vicinity, it is a better idea to stay away from it completely. Only once you do so, it will become easier for you to avoid being electrocuted.
Not only that, everyone in the vicinity needs to be alerted. You have to vacate the area to ensure that no one comes in contact with the water.
Simultaneously, you have to avoid handling the power strip as well. You never know from which nook and cranny a few droplets of electrified water can come out. Getting in contact with such a small quantity of electrified water can electrocute you.
Considering these factors, it is better to stay away from the wet power strip for the time being.
5. Power strip circuitry getting fried:
For sure, if the quantum of water is more than a few drops, the power strip’s circuitry will get fried. In that case, you will have no other option but to change the power strip itself.
No matter how expensive or affordable the power strip is, you have no other option but to replace it now. Once again, it will require you to shell out money.
6. Auto-shutdown being activated:
Do you have an expensive power strip?
If so, some of them have protection against such an incident.
You might be thinking how?
Many power strips offer a short circuit protection mechanism. So, even if there is a limited quantity of water coming in contact with the power strip, it will not get damaged. It is because the short circuit protection of the power strip will get activated. In that case, the circuit will not get fried.
Many power strips consist of an auto-shutdown mechanism as well. The auto-shutdown mechanism once again shuts down the power strip in case of an eventuality.
In both these cases, the water might be electrocuted. The power strip might suffer certain damage as well. However, the gadgets connected to the power strip will be well protected.
Since many times, the gadgets are exponentially more expensive as compared to the power strip; such safety features can come to your rescue.
However, just to be amply clear, not every power strip consists of these features. Therefore, when buying a power strip, you have to ensure that it consists of:
• Short circuit protection
• Auto shutdown mechanism
You have to shell out extra time and some money to buy a power strip with both of these mechanisms. Once you do so, the damage can be curtailed to a portion of the power strip rather than gadgets and the circuitry getting fried.
Now that you are well aware of how the power strips can get wet, it is time to understand what you should do if they do get wet.
What Should You Do If Power Strips Get Wet?
I will share with you a detailed and step-by-step procedure that will help you understand the same.
1. The primary task you should do is to turn off the mains. It will cut off the power supply to the power strip. However, it does not eliminate the issue entirely.
2. If the electric socket is accessible to you without being exposed to water or moisture, you can remove the power strip from the electric socket. It will ensure that the power strip does not have the ground connection as well.
3. After that, you have to let the power strip dry. You should not turn it around to make the water come out. It is a huge mistake. It can get you electrocuted.
4. You should inform everyone in the vicinity that a power strip is wet and should stay away. Only, in that case, you can be sure that it will be safe for everyone else as well.
When dealing with the wet power strip, you need to understand that it is a good idea to wear rubber sandals and rubber gloves. The rubber material is insulated. Due to this reason, it becomes easy to keep the current at bay.
In case things get out of hand or sparks fly from the power strip, it is better to turn off the means and call an electrician right away. The electrician can handle the situation.
Due to all of these problems, you can try and protect the power strip from water as well. I will highlight how to do so below.
How Do You Protect A Power Strip From Water?
There are a few precautions that you can undertake to protect the power strip from water. I will highlight these precautions below.
Keeping it at the right place:
Keeping the power strip at the right place and away from moisture can help you avoid most of the problems. Just by keeping it at the right and safe place, you can keep it away from water.
When placing a power strip, you need to ask yourself, can it be exposed to water in any way?
If the answer is yes, keeping at a different place will be the perfect solution. It ensures that you keep it away from water.
Keep the power strip at a higher location:
Instead of keeping it on a surface like a table, you have to keep it at an elevated level. You can use a plastic box or other such accessories to raise it from the surface level. Once you do so, the spilling of water will not impact the power strip. It is the worst-case scenario.
The higher location will insulate the power strip from the water.
Avoid keeping water & bottles around:
You have to tackle the source of water right away. For example, if you’re keeping it on the table, you have to ensure that there is no source of water along.
Some of the precautions to take in this regard are:
• You have to ensure that there are no water bottles or other such water containers on the same surface or the table.
• You have to also check and ensure that there is no dripping water overhead.
• Simultaneously, there should be no leakage anywhere nearby as well.
• You have to block out all the sources of moisture as well.
Once you do so, you can ensure that the power strip will not come in contact with water at all.
These are the few basic precautions that you should follow to protect the power strip.
How Do You Clean Power Strips?
Cleaning power strips, fortunately, is not a difficult task. I will highlight a few steps below, which will help you clean the power strip easily.
1. First, you have to remove the power strip from the power source. You should not just turn it off but also you should remove it from the mains. It will ensure that there is no ground connection, as well. Only once you do so, you can go ahead and clean it.
2. The best way to clean the power strip is the vacuum cleaner. It will allow you to eliminate dust and other contaminants in a jiffy. You can choose a small handheld vacuum cleaner or a computer vacuum cleaner rather than the bulky one.
3. It is possible that the vacuum cleaner might not eliminate every contaminant as well. In that case, you have to take a dry microfiber cloth. The dry microfiber cloth will allow you to remove the leftover particulate pollutants.
4. You have to use a brush to tackle the contaminants in the nook and cranny as well. Once you consider this step, it will become easier for you to eliminate all the contaminants.
The precaution to take is to not insert anything into the power socket holes of the power strip. It is strictly prohibited. The vacuum cleaner will eliminate the contaminants inside the socket tools. Other than that, you should not use any other cleaning material in connection with it.
As you can see, cleaning a power strip is not going to be a difficult task once you take care of its placement. In fact, these four steps require just a few minutes to accomplish. You can clean it in a jiffy.
Can Power Strips Be Used Outdoors?
Yes, power stips can be used outdoors but you will need to buy the power strips that are especially designed to use oudoors. They will be water proof, fireproof and on top will be properly insulated.
So, to answer your question, no, power strips can’t get wet. If they do get wet, you have to follow a strict protocol to be safe. The aim should be to stay away from electrocuted water or liquid. You can think about salvaging the power strip at a later stage. In the case of sparking or short-circuit, you can call an electrician right away. The electrician can handle the situation in a much better way. The professional ensures that no electrocution takes place due to the wet power strip.