Extension cords are a convenient way to supply power to an area that is just out of reach from an outlet. It's important to remember though that extension cords were made to use temporarily, and using them incorrectly can lead to serious electrical hazards.
Follow these simple guidelines to avoid hazards:
All extension cords must bear at least one of these certification markings:
- Use on a temporary basis only, they are not a long-term solution for power
- Only use extension cords that are properly rated for their intended use (indoor/outdoor), and meet or exceed the power needs of the appliance or tool being used
- Regularly inspect your extension cords for damage. Never use a cord that has any cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, loose connections, or feels hot - throw it away immediately
- Never run extension cords through walls or ceilings. This could cause the cord to overheat, creating a fire hazard
- Never nail or staple electrical cords to walls or baseboards
- Cords that become pinched in doors, windows, or under heavy furniture, could damage the cord’s insulation and create a hazard
- Never use extension cords in high-traffic areas like doorways or walkways where they pose a tripping hazard
- Plugs should be fully inserted so that no part of the prongs is exposed
If you can identify with any of these hazards in your home or business it may be time to install additional electrical outlets to reduce the use of extension cords.