Back to School Checklist 101 - Mr Electric of Portland

Back to School Checklist 101

Dorm Room Check 101

Fall is not but a hop-skip-and-jump away! So whether you’re a new or returning college student or a new parent sending off your budding collegiate, here are the 101s on electrical safety in the dorm room:


  • Many college dormitories and older apartments were built prior to regulations for grounding-prongs and polarized plugs which prevent electrical overloads; a leading cause for injury and fires. Here’s how to identify if the facilities are up to par. Count the number of prongs that an outlet receives; if it’s two, then caution is a must!


  • Never remove the third grounding prong on your extension cord plug. Instead, purchase a power-strip with a built in safety reset fuse.
  • Never overload your outlet with excessive power hungry devices, e.g. appliances such as TV’s, refrigerators, high-output lamps, stereo systems, etc.
  • An indication that you are overloading a circuit is when the cables are warm to the touch, sparks from your device occur, circuit breakers cut off continuously, uneven current to your PC is seen as surges to your computer’s screen.
  • Purchase quality extension cables with adequate insulation. Cheap (underrated wires) invite hazards such as pinching (if crushed) causing short-circuiting.

House Rules:

1. Treat anything that plugs in as if it were a worker with a grudge – willing to work, but awaiting its chance to zap you!

2. Liquid and electricity don’t mix, e.g. Soda next to computers, hair dryers in wet sinks

3. Appliances which heat such as: toaster and microwave ovens, hotplates, hair dryers, popcorn poppers, irons, coffee makers, use more electricity may cause overloads. So if your school allows these, exercise special care.

4. Small motors in a fan or mixer are stronger than your fingers: Turn it off first; unplug it before putting your fingers near them.

Keeping this checklist in mind upon entering the school year will ensure a safe and secure year to come!