Extension cords are a flexible electric cable that are used to connect multiple devices to a single outlet or to bring power to areas that are too far from a power source. While extension cords are useful and convenient, they can also be dangerous if used improperly.
Extension Cord Safety & How to Properly Use Them
Extension cords are a flexible electric cable that are used to connect multiple devices to a single outlet or to bring power to areas that are too far from a power source. While extension cords are useful and convenient, they can also be dangerous if used improperly
Choose the right cord for the job
Make sure the cord you choose is rated for the appliances you plan to use it with. Extension cords come in different gauges and wire thicknesses- which determine how much current they can safely carry.
Don’t overload the cord
Never plug in more devices than the cord is rated for. Overloading a cord can cause it to overheat and start a fire.
Don’t run cords under rugs or furniture
Cords can get damaged when they are run under rugs or furniture. This can cause them to overheat and start a fire. Instead, try to run the cord along the walls or baseboards where they are less likely to be damaged.
Keep cords away from water
Water and electricity do not mix, so never use extension cords near water or in wet conditions. If you need to use an extension cord outdoors, make sure the cord you are using is rated for outdoor use and keep it away from any water sources.
Inspect Cords Regularly
Check your extension cords regularly for signs of damage, such as frayed wires or cracked insulation. If you find any damage, stop using the cord immediately and replace it.
How to choose the best extension cord?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking at the different types of extension cords that are on the market. If you are in need of a new extension cord, we recommend looking at these five characteristics when making your selection: length, gauge, functionality, value, and construction.
Length: With outdoor cords, try to stay within 50 feet in length, and for indoor use, the ideal length is 20 feet.
Gauge: The gauge of a cord determines the ability to carry electricity.
Functionality: There are different features that each cord contains that help make them more functional for different uses. An example of functionality is a cord having multiple female ends which allows you to plug several strands of Christmas lights together.
Value: The price range for extension cords varies. We recommend finding a cord that is constructed well with a decent amount of load capacity at a reasonable price.
Construction: Look for an extension cord with a thicker insulation jacket. Extension cords experience wear and tear that may be above normal. Looking for a cord made well will help minimize the need to replace the cord frequently.
What is designated lettering?
The insulation jacket of extension cords typically contain a sequence of letters that indicate the intended use of the cord. Below you will find each of the letters and what they mean:
- “S” cord is flexible and designated for general use
- “W” cord is rated for outdoor use
- “J” cord has a standard 300-volt insulation
- “P” cord has a parallel wire construction, used in air conditioner and household extension cords
- “T” cord jacket is made of vinyl thermoplastic
- “E” cord jacket is made of thermoplastic elastomer rubber (TPE)
- “O” cord is oil-resistant
- “FT2” cord is flame retardant
- “CL2S” wire is designed for in-wall construction
- “SRDT” wire is heavy duty and good for high amperage products
- “HPN” cord’s performance won’t be affected by the high temperatures associated with appliances
Extension cords are a convenient way to get power to multiple devices and appliances without having to worry about the proximity of power outlets. However, it is important to remember how to use them safely and correctly to avoid any potential hazards.
Here at Miller’s Services, we are committed to helping you keep your home safe. Another important safety measure for extension cords is making sure your home’s electrical system is in good shape to handle it. Call Miller’s Services at (804) 758-4314 or visit our website at www.millers-va.com to schedule an electrical inspection today.