Quality cables are a smart investment for any computer user, but to get the most out of your money, you need to treat your cables right. Improper handling of cables can quickly cause damage or decrease efficiency, which might force you to buy more cables.
Your cables can actually last a lifetime if you know how to treat them right. Follow these easy care tips to get the most use and function out of your cables.
- Be Gentle.
Be careful not to twist your cables too tightly, and don’t ever bend them at sharp angles. Rough handling could lead to breaks or frays, which in turn presents a serious fire hazard. In 2008, there were around 53,600 home fires as a result of electrical failures or malfunctions. These resulted in 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. Something as small as frayed cell phone cables can lead to much more serious issues than simply having to buy replacements.
- Stay Organized.
Many of us have a whole mess of cables running around our desktop workspace, from USB cables to Cat5 cables. Keeping your wires organized and untangled will help prevent unnecessary wear and tear from tugging around. The simple force of gravity on hanging cables can also cause them to stretch out. Cat5 cables made out of quality material should last five to ten years, but a messy desk space might slowly impact their usability.
- Know Your Limits.
In general, the length of a cable shouldn’t affect the quality of audio or video transfer. However, there are limitations to this rule. If you need an HDMI high-speed cable to run 100 feet or more, you should purchase a 100 ft HDMI cable specially designed for that purpose.
- Get Reinforcements.
If you want your cables to really last, consider buying reinforced cables, or adding reinforcement over existing cables yourself with some materials around the house. Shrink tubing or pen springs, for instance, can add extra stability to your cable body, preventing it from bending, twisting, breaking or fraying.
Cable maintenance is easy. Treat your cables like you would any other part of your technology system — with care and grace — and they will serve you for as long as you keep them.