Extension cord safety

Extension cords can be a practical and cost-effective solution when your electronic device’s cord is too short to reach the outlet. But if not used correctly, they could cause an expensive and dangerous problem, like a house fire.

When using an extension cord, it is important to choose one that is properly rated for its environment (indoor or outdoor) and the device(s) you will have plugged into it. Check the packaging on the cord for rating, size and
wattage, and check the appliance or user manual for its power usage.

Here are some other tips on using extension cords safely:

Occasionally check the condition of extension cords. Look along the entire length of the cord for signs of fraying or cracking and also check for damage to the plug or sockets. Cords used outdoors should be checked more frequently because of the constant wear and tear. Replace any damaged cords.

Be sure to provide slack to prevent tension on the cord. Tension on any part of the cord can cause damage.

Never remove the grounding pin (or third prong) from an extension cord to make it fit into a two-prong outlet. This is a safety feature designed to protect you and your home. Instead of removing the third prong, hire a qualified electrician to install a new outlet.

Do not overload extension cords with too many electronics or power tools as it may cause the cord to overheat and start a fire. If you’re going to use the extension cord with two or more appliances at the same time, you must add up the wattage rating for all appliances used on the cord to make sure it will not become overloaded.

Extension cords always conduct electricity when plugged into an outlet, even if it is not being used. Therefore, always unplug the cord when you are finished with it.

Additional tips for indoor use of extension cords:

If any part of the extension cord becomes hot while in use, unplug it immediately and discard it.

Keep extension cords away from children, pets and high-traffic areas.

Do not place extension cords under carpets, rugs or furniture or cover with any other objects.

Tips for outdoor use of extension cords:

Do not use cords in wet conditions. Water conducts electricity and working in wet conditions increases the chance of shock or electrocution.

When not in use, store extension cords indoors, in a dry area and steady temperature climate.