Expert Electrical

Extension Cord Safety

Sep 9, 2013 | Electrical Safety

If you are like most families, you probably have an extension cord – if not multiples – around your house. But did you know that these are among the most dangerous electrical appliances in your home? If not used properly or cared for appropriately, an extension cord could be the cause of fatal injuries, electrocutions, or even a house fire.

Not all extension cords are the same and it is important to select the appropriate extension cord for your needs. The next time you go to grab the same old extension cord, ask yourself these three questions that will help you determine whether it is appropriate for the task at hand.

  • Is it equipped for indoor or outdoor use?
  • Can it withstand the wattage of your device?
  • Are you looking for a temporary or long-term solution?

If you are looking to use an extension cord outside, you must check to make sure that it is equipped for such. An outdoor extension cord has tougher insulation/jacket allowing it to withstand moisture, temperature change, UV rays, etc. An extension cord that is safe for outside use will say so clearly on its packaging. If you are not sure, contact the manufacturer.

The length and gage of your extension cord will determine the wattage rating of the cord. Ensure your device(s) wattage doesn’t exceed the cords wattage, this could cause overheating and/or a fire. The wattage of a device is generally found on a tag attached to the cord. Again, if you are not sure, contact the manufacturer to clarify. Better safe than sorry!

Another important consideration is the length of time that you are using the extension cord. An extension cord is only intended for temporary use. Leaving an extension cord plugged in will cause electricity to continue to circulate through the device and could potentially cause overheating, a fire or defects to the device. If you are looking for a permanent fix, look into installing more electrical outlets around your home and plug your device directly into the outlet.

For more information on how to ensure the safety of your home and devices, contact Expert Electric at 604-681-8338.