Extension Cord Safety Tips for Inside and Outside Your Home

We all have a need for extension cords around the house.

Whether it’s connecting a lamp that doesn’t quite reach the outlet, hanging lights, or simply charging your cellphone, an extension cord can be extremely useful. It is important to remember that although extension cords can be useful, they can also be dangerous.

Here are five valuable extension cord safety tips that will help give you some peace of mind using extension cords in your home.

Never Overload

Perhaps the biggest mistake that some people make when it comes to plugging in their electronics is plugging too many things in at once. Most extension cords are only designed to carry a certain amount of current and overloading them can lead to a fire.

Another way of overloading an extension cord is by plugging in devices that require a lot of power.

Check the Wattage Rating

Avoid plugging in larger appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, and coffee makers to extension cords, as most household extension cords, especially the smaller ones, are not designed to power these things.

Wattage ratings will help make sure you don’t overload or compromise the integrity of the cord.

Don’t Link Cords Together

As with overloading, connecting extension cords together is extremely unsafe and can also lead to a fire. Extension cords are not designed to be connected.

Be Careful Where You Put It

Don’t run extension cords under carpets or through windows.

It is impossible to tell whether a cord is damaged if it is hidden under a carpet and a window will almost certainly damage a cord over time.

Never Use Indoor Extension Cords Outside

Hanging up the Christmas lights is hard work and running to the store to pick up a new extension cord might seem like a waste of time, but be assured, it is well worth the trip!

Using an indoor extension cord on the outside of your home can lead to electrical shocks or even a structure fire. Make sure you use an extension cord designed for outdoor use because these extension cords are designed with a thicker outer coating to protect the wires from the elements.

Never Alter

Do not remove any part of an extension cord. If a plug doesn’t fit, do not try and force it!

Never remove the grounding prong to make a plug fit into an extension cord. Three-pronged plugs are designed for safety reasons and tampering with it will cause the connection to be unsafe. Never use cords that have been damaged.

Don’t Drive Over It

When you run an extension cord outside, make sure to put it in a place where it won’t be run over by a vehicle or lawnmower.

This means try to avoid stretching cords across driveways or through lawns.

If you need to run a cord across your driveway or lawn, make sure you know exactly where it is and choose a bright color that will stand out. Take care to store the extension cord when it is not being used.

Proper Storage

When you are done using an outdoor extension cord, it is important to coil it up and store it in a dry place.

Avoid leaving it in the rain or snow.

In the event of significant weather, make sure your outside outlet is cover and all cords are removed. Avoid plugging in extension cords near areas that have significant snowfall or rainfall.

These are valuable tips that should be followed for the safe use of extension cords. Make sure to check your extension cords regularly for damage

Some signs that you should replace your extension cord include:

  • A loose plug on the end of the extension cord
  • An extension cord that is warm or hot to touch
  • Getting shocked on contact
  • A crack in the insulating material surrounding the wires
  • An outdated or unsafe (according to regulations) cord

If you have any doubts about the integrity of the cord its probably best to replace it. Remember, extension cords should only be used as a temporary solution for power, as they may become unsafe over time. It is fine to use them for temporary things like Christmas lights or air pumps, but it may be time to install new outlets if you find that you are using extension cords frequently.

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