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Powerline adapters are a popular alternative to using Wi-Fi and even ethernet for the convenience that they offer and how easy they are to set up, but are they safe to use, and do they present any noteworthy risks?
Powerline adapters are safe to use and don’t present any safety concerns. They work in a similar way to how the signal for a cable TV travels through the coax cables found within the walls, which is widely accepted as being safe and is not considered to be a fire hazard.
Let’s take a look at what makes powerline adapters very much safe to use and how they actually present significantly less risk at starting a fire or electrical failure than many other appliances that you are
Are Powerline Adapters Safe?
When you aren’t in physical possession of a pair of powerline adapters and the packaging they came in, it can be difficult to find out the standards in which they meet.
I did some research on a few different manufacturers’ websites and had trouble finding any mention of the standards in which they have been designed to meet, so I took a look at my own set of powerline adapters.
Looking at the bottom of the packaging that my TP-Link AV600 Powerline Wi-Fi Kit came in, I could see the CE marking.
In the EU, this is the manufacturer’s declaration that the product meets the EU standards for health, safety, and environmental protection.
Under the Low Voltage Directive (LVD), any electrical equipment that is sold in the UK or Europe that operates at between 50 and 1000 volts for alternating current and 75 and 1500 volts for direct current is required to be CE marked.
Seeing that the powerline adapters had received the CE marking provided reassurance that they meet all of the relevant safety standards and they are safe to use and don’t present any safety concerns.
The only time I would be remotely concerned around the safety of powerline adapters would be if you were to receive a defective device, yet this, again, is the case for any electrical appliance and not just powerline adapters.
Just like with other electrical devices, it is normal for powerline adapters to get warm when they are being used, but not so hot that you are unable to comfortably touch them.
If you do find your powerline adapters are getting so hot that you can’t touch them, it is recommended to remove them and get them returned.
Although it is still unlikely that they will present any additional risks, it doesn’t feel like it is worth the risk of continuing to use them when you know they shouldn’t get as hot to the touch as they do.
Do Powerline Adapters Increase the Risk of Fire or Electrical Failure?
Powerline adapters don’t increase the likelihood of a risk of fire or electrical failure any more than your modem, router, or really any other electrical device that is connected to a power outlet.
The signal they place on the electrical lines is incredibly low in power and only needs to be strong enough for the equipment that is connected at the other end to receive it; any additional power would simply be redundant.
The amount of power that powerline adapters use is so insignificant in comparison to the amount of power that is already flowing down the line, and so they don’t increase the risk of experiencing a fire or an electrical failure.
These are much more likely to be caused by existing electrical appliances rather than the addition of a few powerline adapters.
A much more dangerous situation would be to overload surge protectors, power strips, and electrical circuits in general as this is what can actually result in fires being started.
That’s not to say you can’t plug your powerline adapters into surge protectors or power strips, though; again, compared with all of the other electrical appliances found throughout your home, those like slow cookers, dryers, and toasters draw considerably more power and are therefore more likely to result in an overload.
Whilst on the topic of using powerline adapters and power strips, although it doesn’t increase the likelihood of starting a fire or causing an electrical failure, it is still recommended when you don’t use them and plug the powerline adapters directly into a wall outlet instead.
The reason for this is that the power strips can impact the overall performance of the powerline network.
If you do end up having to use power strips to plug your powerline adapters into, just make sure the power strip is surge protected to give you peace of mind that they are protected should you experience an electrical surge.
Also, make sure to use a power strip that doesn’t contain any built-in filtering as this can also affect the performance of a powerline network and sometimes block the signal altogether.