Extension Cord Safety

Today we would like to talk about extension cords. Extension cords are convenient and easy way to bring power to your electrical devices. But even something as common and simple as extension cords has to be used with proper caution not to become fire hazard and pose risk to your family’s safety.

Follow these tips and keep your home safe while using extension cords.

Selecting extension cords

  • Purchase only cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory.
    • For outdoor projects, use only the cords marked for outdoor use.
    • Read the instructions (if available) for information about the cord’s correct use and the power it draws.
    • Select cords that are rated to handle the wattage of the device with which they’ll be used.
    • Consider the length you’ll need. Longer cords can’t handle as much current as shorter cords of the same gauge.
    • For use with larger appliances, thick, round, low-gauge extension cords are best.
    • For smaller appliances and electronics, you can use thin or flat cords.
    • A cord’s gauge indicates its size: The smaller the number, the larger the wire and the more electrical current the cord can safely handle.

Using Extension cords

  • Never remove an extension cord’s grounding pin in order to fit it into a two-prong outlet.
    • Never use indoor extension cords outdoors.
    • Don’t plug multiple cords together.
    • Don’t run extension cords under rugs or furniture.
    • Cover unused cord receptacles with childproof covers.
    • Stop using extension cords that feel hot to the touch.
    • Keep electrical cords away from areas where they may be pinched and areas where they may pose a tripping or fire hazard (e.g., doorways, walkways, under carpet, etc.).
    • In locations where equipment be pushed against an extension cord where the cord joins the plug, use a special “angle extension cord” specifically designed for use in these instances.

Caring for extension cords

  • Always store cords indoors.
    • Unplug extension cords when they’re not in use.
    • Throw away damaged cords.
    • Pull the plug- not the cord- when disconnecting from the outlet.

And remember that extension cords are intended as temporary wiring solutions, and are not meant to be used as a long-term extension of your household’s electrical system.


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