Extension cords come in handy when you’re in a pinch and you need temporary electrical power in a place where a wall outlet isn’t available. There are limits, though, to how you should use an extension cord because it can overheat and start an electrical fire if it’s not properly managed. Also, the devices you plug into an extension cord can become damaged from misuse of the cord. Consider these six tips for safely using extension cords around your home.
Check the Cord’s Rating
Extension cords have ratings which designate whether they’re made to be used indoors or outdoors, and to specify how much power they’re made to handle. When you purchase an extension cord be sure to check the rating to verify that you can safely use it with your intended devices.
Shield Your Outdoor Cord from the Elements
Although you may have an extension cord that’s made to be used outdoors—and it’s designed with extra protection against the elements, you should still be vigilant about keeping the cord away from moisture like standing water and snow to avoid short-circuiting.
Check the Cord for Damage
Before each use of your extension cord it’s always best to check it for any damage—even though you may use it frequently. Bare wires and frayed or cracked sockets can make using it dangerous.
Avoid Daisy-Chaining Cords
Avoid plugging extension cords into one another. It’s a dangerous practice that can dramatically increase the chances of an electrical fire in your home.
Keep the Cord Properly Ventilated
Don’t be tempted to route your extension cord through a wall, ceiling, or floor because the heat radiating from the cord will not easily escape into the open air and the cord could overheat and start a fire—especially if it’s used for an extended period on an item that has a high electrical output.
Install Additional Outlets to Reduce Reliance on Extension Cords
If you use multiple extension cords to meet your daily electrical power needs, you’re placing a heavy burden on your wall outlets. Think about hiring an electrician to install additional outlets inside of your home to reduce your risk of an electrical fire, and increase your convenience.
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