The Hidden Danger of Extension Cord Misuse

Did you know? Extension cord use is responsible for approximately 3,300 home fires that kill 50 people and injure 270 more each year.

Extension cords serve as convenient solutions for temporary power needs, both at home and in the workplace. However, it’s crucial to understand that their purpose is strictly temporary. Relying heavily on extension cords may signify an underlying issue: insufficient access to electrical outlets. If you find yourself frequently relying on extension cords to power your devices and equipment, it’s a clear indicator that you need to address the root problem by installing additional outlets. By doing so, you not only ensure a safer electrical setup but also reduce the risks associated with overloading extension cords and outlets, thus minimizing the potential for electrical hazards and fire incidents.

Tips for Safe Extension Cord Use

  • Plug directly into wall receptacle outlet: Major and heat-producing appliances should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should not be used together. This includes coffee makers, space heaters, refrigerators, microwaves, air conditioning units, etc.
  • Choose the right extension cord for intended use: Extension cords vary in rating based on amperage needed for the wattage they can handle. For instance, there is a difference in a cord needed for a lamp versus a table saw. Connecting devices that draw more than the cord can safely handle will cause the cord to heat up.
  • Consider where you are using the extension cord: Make sure you are using a GFCI if are using an extension cord outside or in wet or damp environments.
  • Inspect the cord before use: Check to make sure they are not damaged, frayed, cracked, or punctured. Never use three-pronged plugs with cord outlets that only have two slots (Never cut off a ground pin to force a fit).
  • Don’t pull on the wire: To disconnect a plug, grip and pull the plug itself to pull rather than gripping the wire.
  • Run the cord in safe manner: Never run an extension cord under rugs or carpets. Do not nail or staple electrical cords to walls or baseboards.

Reach out to an Advisor

By adhering to the outlined guidelines, you can ensure a safe environment and help avoid fires at home and in the workplace. Reach out to an experienced advisor to learn more about extension cord safety standards.