Extension Cord Hazards & Proper Use

An Extension Cord Hazards In Murrieta Homes

Extension Cord Hazards & Proper UseA heavy reliance on the extension cord is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Proper use and care of extension cords is something that most of us take for granted. Extension cords safety is not something a lot of people think about, but its importance cannot be understated.

The most important thing to remember about extension cords is that they are made for temporary use. The biggest difference between indoor and outdoor extension cords is the insulation.  And remember that extension cords are intended as temporary wiring solutions. Extension cords safety is a concern year-round, but a use of these devices is often more prominent during the holidays, as a result of the increased use of electric lights and decorations.

Extension Cord Safety in the Home

Sometimes using an extension cord is unavoidable, and it can definitely make things around the house easier. It’s important, however, that if you do use extension cords in your home that you keep safety in mind, especially around children. I’ve learned from experience that misusing an extension cord can result in damage and sometimes injury.

As a retired firefighter, I’ve been to a few emergency calls that involved extension cords. As such, I learned a lot about how to safely use an extension cord to prevent damage and injury. One of the biggest no-nos when if comes to extension cord safety in the home is to never use one that is damaged in any way. If you’ve got an extension cords that’s frayed, worn, or roughly fixed with electrical tape, don’t use it. Using an extension cord in these conditions poses a great fire risk. It’s safer to replace a damaged extension cord with a new one.

Another extension cord no-no is to never run one underneath any type of carpeting or cloth-like material. There is a huge risk the carpeting could catch fire if the cord becomes damaged by people walking over it or furniture being placed on it. Read more here.

The most common mistake all users make in specifying extension cords is to purchase the cheapest extension cords they can find at a big box store.

Extension Cord Safety: What to Do and What to Avoid

  • Purchase only cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory.
  • For outdoor projects, use only extension cords marked for outdoor use.
  • Read the instructions (if available) for information about the cord’s correct use and the amount of power it draws.
  • Select cords that are rated to handle the wattage of the devices with which they’ll be used. 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.
  • Also consider the length you’ll need. Longer cords can’t handle as much current as shorter cords of the same gauge.
  • Choose cords with polarized or three-prong plugs.
  • 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. See more here.

Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the appliance or device being used.

Extension Cord Safety Tips

Not enough cord for your lamp or radio to reach the nearest outlet? Just plowing through the junk drawer for an extension cord? This may not be a good idea. Extension cords can be very helpful in delivering power right where we need it. However, regardless of the gauge or rating of the cord, an extension cord is a temporary solution, and is not meant to be used as a long-term extension of your household’s electrical system.

Using extension cords properly is critical to your safety. With continu­ous use over time, an extension cord can rapidly deteriorate, creating a potentially dangerous electric shock or fire hazard. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) offers the following tips for staying safe from electric shock and electrical fires:

  • Do not overload extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow on the ground.
  • Do not substitute extension cords for permanent wiring.
  • Do not run through walls, doorways, ceilings or floors. If cord is covered, heat cannot escape, which may result in a fire hazard.
  • Do not use an extension cord for more than one appliance.
  • A heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have additional outlets installed where you need them. Read full article here.

Extension Cord Is Important, But Need To Use Properly

Cords must be carefully inspected each time they are used and the user must be certain the extension cords are appropriately sized and rated to meet the demands of the equipment. Extension cords are one of the leading causes of structure fires although they are safe to use both inside and outside. Extension cords are not meant to be a replacement for permanent wiring.

While extension cords can be convenient for powering portable equipment in remote locations in livestock facilities, they are not intended for use in powering permanent or semi-permanent equipment, even in remote locations. Extension cords can be very helpful in delivering power right where we need it. Extension cords can overheat and cause fires when used improperly, so keep these important tips or call us here: (951) 805-1262 for more info.

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