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How to Safely Use Extension Cords

tristar electric extension cords

Learn how to safely handle extension cords and avoid fire hazards.

Extension cords can be beneficial in a variety of environments and situations. These cords help you power items or appliances without needing to be close to an outlet. However, extension cords come with their own safety recommendations. If these safety tips are ignored, you could put yourself and your property at risk of severe damages. If you want to avoid any negative consequences of an extension cord, remember the following safety precautions for extension cords. 

Only Buy Extension Cords That Have Been Certified Safe

Extension cords by reputable manufacturers first undergo a series of quality control and safety assessments by one or more safety certification companies. If an extension cord has been tested and certified by a regulatory agency, they will have a logo of the testing organization on their label. You should only buy cords that include these seals; otherwise, they have not been certified to meet basic safety standards. 

Buy the Correct Size

When buying an extension cord, consider the gauge and length. Gauge is the measurement of the wire inside a cord. The higher the gauge, the more power it can supply. If you need more length or power, buy a longer cord. If you try to create a longer line by connecting multiple smaller extension cords, you create a serious fire hazard. It is also risky to use a cord that doesn’t supply adequate power for the task at hand. 

Match the Cord to Your Appliance

The devices you use require certain amps or wattage. Extension cords also include labels for the number of amps or wattage they have been designed to supply. These numbers should be compatible with each other. If you use the wrong cord, you risk overheating. 

Do Not Enclose or Cover Extension Cords

When you enclose or cover extension cords, you keep the heat generated by the electricity from escaping. This can quickly result in overheating or a fire. 

Don’t Use Indoor Cords Outdoors

Indoor cords do not have adequate insulation that can protect them from the elements. If you’re using an extension cord outdoors, make sure it is built to withstand outdoor weather. Additionally, it’s best to remember that all cords should be kept out of the water to avoid electrical shock. 

Do Not Modify Extension Cords

Most cords contain a round “grounding prong.” Do not attempt to modify your extension cord by cutting that prong off. This element is built to protect your devices from electrical malfunctions and to protect you from shock.

Ultimately, remember that extension cords are meant to be temporary solutions. If you need continuous power, you should consider adding new outlets. The electricians at TriStar Electric can help you determine the best placement and features for your outlets. 

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No matter the job, big or small, the professionals at TriStar Electric will be happy to discuss your project and answer any questions or concerns you may have. We offer free in-home consultations, plus an after-hours and emergency phone line for advice or service!

If you have any questions about our electrical repairs or upgrades, please contact TriStar Electric, Maryland’s premier residential and commercial electrician, by calling 410-799-5791 or 301-384-8880. Or, you can fill out the contact form on our website.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021 at 10:21 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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