While extension cords are commonly used in a variety of settings to power many different devices, they are often used carelessly and are one of the leading causes of electrical fires in North America. To minimize the risks associated with extension cords, it is important to understand how to use them safely. As leading providers of complete residential electrical services, the team at Expert Electric knows how dangerous extension cords can be when used incorrectly. That is why we have compiled a list of extension cord safety tips to help you experience the benefits of extension cords while minimizing the risk of injury or electrical hazards.
Learn about 5 common home electrical problems and how to address them.
5 Tips for Safe Extension Cord Use in Your Home
To ensure that every member of your household stays safe when using extension cords, consider the following tips:
1. Do not use Extension Cords Near Water or Heat Sources
Excessive heat or moisture can cause severe damage to indoor extension cords, making them a poor choice for kitchens and bathrooms. If you must use an extension cord in a wet or hot area, be sure that it is in excellent condition and only plugged into a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet.
2. Do not Pull on the Cord When Removing it from an Outlet
When plugging an extension cord into an outlet, be sure that the plug is pushed in all the way. Once you are done with the cord, always remove it by grabbing the head of the extension cord. Never pull on the cord to unplug it as this can cause severe damage to the prongs or the outlet.
3. Ensure that Your Cord is Rated for the Electricity Required
It is important to note that extension cords have different ratings. Your cord rating should not exceed the amperage or wattage ratings of the items the cord is powering as an excessive electrical draw can be hazardous.
4. Use Three-Prong Cords and Never Remove the Ground Pin
Three-prong extension cords are ideal because they ensure that the items plugged into them are properly grounded. Never remove the ground pin (bottom prong) to fit the cord into an old outlet as doing so will drastically increase the risk of electrical shock, fire, and other hazards.
5. Never Plug an Extension Cord into Another Extension Cord
While it may be tempting to plug an extension cord into another to increase the length, this is a highly dangerous practice. Also known as “daisy-chaining”, this practice can cause both cords to overheat or become overloaded, drastically increasing the risk of shock or electrical fire.
To learn more about extension cord safety or to inquire about our electrical services, get in touch with the team at Expert Electric. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services.