newly Consumer Product Safety Commission alert He urges people not to use the power chords between males and females. Although illegal, the product is available online with the supposed use of feeding electricity from a generator to a building’s main power system. However, the consequences of doing so could be dire. Many hardware stores have also warned consumers over the years that male-to-male “converters” for things like holiday lights are unsafe, but sometimes these warnings are not heeded, resulting in preventable accidents.
Danger of shock and electrocution
Once the wire is plugged into a power source, the other end of it becomes “live”, and with a male-to-male connector, the socket’s metal lines become electrified and cause serious shock. The terminals will also electrify any conductive object it comes in contact with, including household items made of metal. This means that if you touch a live wire, you could get a 120 volt shock – enough to kill you under the right conditions. If the direct end of the wire is not connected to a breaker or other safety shutdown, the electricity will not stop as soon as the circuit is overloaded, so the probability of electrocution under these conditions is greater than under normal conditions.
Unfortunately, electric shock is only one of the many ways a male double extension cord can harm you. If you are using it to try to power your home system with a generator, it will run at least some of the way in the opposite direction as intended. This means that safety features such as circuit breakers will be bypassed and this can cause a fire, resulting in catastrophic damage to the building to which it is connected, not to mention serious injury or death to anyone inside. A fire can also start in the generator if the power is restored while it is connected to the house, resulting in a fire in the generator with too much fuel to burn.
The risk for utility crews
Bypassing the standard safety systems isn’t only dangerous to those on the property using the generator. Utility workers who are trying to restore power to an area experiencing an outage are also in danger, as the power lines they’re working on can become unexpectedly electrified. Even if you turn off the main breaker to your home while the generator is in use, without a proper safety system in place the breaker can be accidentally switched back on.
The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
Another hidden danger of using a short, double-ended adapter like the ones being sold online to power generators is one you might not have considered: The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that gas-powered generators running so close to your home might increase your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fumes from the generator.
Always leave wiring to the pros
The best practice, obviously, is to leave home wiring to the pros. While an adapter might seem like the perfect fix for a wrong-direction string of Christmas lights, the possibility of the male end being exposed while still connected to the outlet makes this plan more danger than it’s worth. Keep yourself and your neighbors safe by never using these dangerous adapters unless you’re a certified electrician.