Do Power Strips Expire And Go Bad? (Explained)

Power strips are one of those things that most people don’t think about until they stop working. To be honest, most people don’t even realize that power strips can go bad.

But power strips do expire and need to be replaced after a certain amount of time.

If you’ve ever wondered if a power strip goes bad, then this article is for you. We’ll take a look at some common questions about these devices and how they work.

Here’s If Power Strips Expire or Go Bad:

It’s possible for power strips to go bad. This depends on the type of power strip that you own and how often it gets used. If you don’t use your device very often it may last longer than expected. It’s best to check power strips every year.

Dirty surge protector. Close up

Do Power Strips Get Worse Over Time?

This is a common question with a complex answer. The short answer is that power strips do not degrade over time. They do, however, slowly lose efficiency due to the physical properties of their components.

In order to understand how this works, it’s important to understand how a power strip works.

A power strip has two main parts:

  1. an electrical cord
  2. and an outlet strip

The outlet strip consists of a metal housing that contains a series of electrical contacts. When you plug something into the socket on your power strip, these contacts make contact with corresponding metal prongs on the plug of your device.

This allows electricity from your wall outlet to pass through your device and into whatever device you’ve plugged in.

Over time, these metal prongs can become tarnished or damaged by general wear and tear or corrosion from other metals (for example, if you plug in a metal object like a lamp post).

These imperfections reduce their ability to conduct electricity properly, which can cause your device to draw less power from its outlet than it should be capable of drawing (for example, if it was designed for 120V but only draws 110V).

The plug prongs can wear out over time and potentially start sparking and arcing or become loose.

This can happen especially with heavy-duty extension cords or ones that have been bent or used often. You can usually tell if this is happening by using an outlet tester like this one from Amazon (about $8).

If any of them are worn out or damaged, just replace them with new ones from any hardware store (usually less than $10).

If you’re worried about getting shocked when touching the prongs on an old extension cord, try wrapping them in electrical tape first before plugging into an outlet.

This is also a good idea if you rely on extension cords for appliances like vacuum cleaners and blenders.

Components That Expire

Power strips are usually made of plastic, metal, and wiring. The plastic is usually the first to degrade over time because it’s exposed to heat and moisture.

The metal on a power strip is mostly made of aluminum which can be anodized or painted to prevent corrosion. Aluminum is also used for the screws on the power strip as well as any metal parts that come into contact with the wiring.

The wiring in power strips can get brittle over time but this usually doesn’t happen until after 10 years of use. The biggest issue with bad power strips is that they can start sparking when you plug them in or unplug them from outlets.

This could mean that some wires have come loose from their connections inside the power strip itself, which could lead to electrical fires if not fixed immediately.

Check out our blog here about do power strips need ventilation?

How Long Can Power Strips Last?

It can be hard to know when it’s time to replace a power strip — especially since they don’t have an expiration date like food.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how long power strips can last.

The average lifespan of a power strip is about five years, but some models can last for up to 10 years.

If you’re wondering when to replace your power strip, there are several factors that should be taken into account:

  • First, consider how often you use the device. If you only use it occasionally or rarely, then it might last longer than if you use it every day or week.
  • Second, consider how much abuse it takes from being plugged in and unplugged frequently. This includes the amount of force needed to remove an item from its socket (such as when unplugging an appliance), as well as whether or not items are left plugged in when not in use.
  • Finally, consider what kind of material is used to make the device: plastic ones tend to break down faster than metal-based ones (although this may depend on other factors as well).

Surge protectors are designed to last for a long time because they’re used every day and often for years at a time (if not decades).

As long as there aren’t any visible signs of damage or wear & tear on the device itself, it should be safe to use for as long as possible — even after its warranty has expired.

Some people even keep their old surge protectors around until they need another one because they work so well.

When Should You Replace a Power Strip?

Most people don’t think about this issue until something goes wrong, like a fire or an electrical shock.

In most cases, this means that the cord is damaged or frayed and needs to be replaced immediately.

But there are other signs that you should replace your power strip before it fails completely:

  • The casing is worn down or damaged. Often the casing on power strips is made of plastic, which can wear down over time if it’s not taken care of properly. If the casing has become thin or brittle from too much use, then it may be time for replacement.
  • The cord is frayed or damaged. If you notice any fraying in your cord or any exposed wires, then this is another sign that your power strip needs to be replaced immediately. If there are any cuts in the cord or if the insulation has been worn down by repeated bending and twisting, then this could lead to an electrical fire in your home or office.
  • The plug has become loose. Loose plugs can cause electric shock and fire hazards. If you notice that your plug has become loose, replace the power strip immediately with one that has secure connections between the plug and strip itself.
  • The strip has exposed wiring or loose connections. The most common cause of power strips catching fire is when they’re overloaded. If there’s exposed wiring, it’s possible that you’ve overloaded your power strip and it could start smoking or sparking. This is an especially big risk if you have a lot of electronics plugged in, such as heavy-draw devices like vacuum cleaners and hair dryers.
  • The outlet on the strip doesn’t work at all. If you notice that none of the outlets on your power strip are working, there’s some possibility that something else is wrong with your home’s electrical system. The best course of action is to call an electrician as soon as possible so that they can determine whether or not it’s safe for you to use the outlet (and possibly fix it). If it’s not safe, then it should be replaced immediately so that no one gets hurt by faulty wiring.

Can You Test Your Power Strip’s Quality?

There are a few different ways that you can test the quality of your power strip before using it.

First, check the lights on the front side of the device and make sure that they light up when you plug something into the outlet. If they don’t work or if they flicker, then this is a sign that there is something wrong with your device and it may be time for a replacement.

Another way to test your power strip is by plugging in a lamp into one of its outlets and checking to see if it works properly with no problems at all (such as flickering lights).

Can Old Power Strips Be Dangerous?

Old power strips can be dangerous if they have been worn or the contacts have eroded.

Always examine an old power strip well before plugging it in.

These surges can cause short circuits and sparks on the strip’s internal wiring, which may cause fire damage or other injuries if you don’t unplug your devices from the strip immediately after such an incident occurs.

Whether you’re using a surge protector or power strip, there are some basic guidelines you need to follow to use them safely:

  • Use only one extension cord per outlet. This means only one power strip per outlet. If the outlet is overloaded with too many appliances plugged into it, you risk overheating the wiring and potentially causing a fire.
  • Keep cords away from children or pets so they don’t chew on them or get tangled up in them. Also, keep cords out of high-traffic areas where people might trip over them or fall into them while carrying something heavy (such as groceries).
  • Don’t overload outlets by plugging too many devices into any one electrical outlet. Some outlets may be rated for 15 amps while others are rated for 20 amps. Make sure you know which ones do what before plugging everything in at once.


Power strips don’t ever really expire or go bad. They can fail to work properly, but that’s a different matter entirely.

Power strips are designed to be used until they break down — but that doesn’t mean you should turn off your brain when it comes to using them.

Read this blog here about should you unplug extension cords when not in use?


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