Extension cords are common items found in many homes, so common in fact that they can easily be taken for granted and not be included in the usual homeowner’s electrical safety checklist. In fact, with continuous use under the wrong conditions, an extension cord can cause a potentially deadly electric shock or an electrical fire.
Here are a few tips for safely using extension cords in your home.
Electrical safety tips
- Do not use extension cords as a substitute for permanent wiring.
- Do not run cords through ceilings, under floors or in walls. If a cord is covered or is in an area of reduced airflow, heat can build up and cause an electrical fire.
- Do not use a single extension cord for more than one appliance.
- Do not attach cords to walls or floors with staples or nails, which may damage wires in the cord and in the walls.
- Do not run cords across doorways or aisles where they may cause tripping and become damaged.
- If a cord is being used in an area where there’s water or excessive heat, make sure you use one that is approved for those conditions.
- To prevent potential overheating, ensure the cord is completely uncoiled.
- Never use a cord that is damaged or feels hot.
- Never remove the third ground prong to force a three-prong plug into a two-prong power outlet.
- Unplug extension cords when not in use.
- Never join two or more extension cords together.
Why joining extension cords together is dangerous
This is a little technical, but the basic explanation is the cords can experience a drop in voltage, which means the effectiveness of your home’s safety switches and circuit breakers can be reduced, and an overload can occur without warning.
If this happens, the current that is flowing is still strong enough to damage appliances, create a fire hazard, and potentially cause electrocution.
So rummaging through your junk draw to connect your new flat screen TV to the nearest power outlet may not be a smart move, especially in the long term.
Too many extension cords? Not enough outlets
Although an extension cord can be helpful in delivering power exactly where you need it when you need it, always keep in mind that extension cords are a temporary measure and are not intended to provide permanent power.
And just because you have used an extension cord for many years without any problems, that doesn’t mean that it won’t compromise electrical safety in the home the next time you plug it in.
Using lots of extension cords around your home is a sign that you don’t have enough power outlets to cover your needs. Our team of professional electricians at Melbourne’s Electricians Today can install additional outlets to ensure your home’s electrical safety is top notch. Give us a call today!