How to use extension cords safely.

Safety tips for using an extension cord

Extension cords are meant to be a temporary solution and NOT a substitution for permanent wiring. However, if you are to use them, here are some good tips to follow in an effort to prevent electrical fires.

  • Secure extension cords down with electrical tape, especially if they are run across trafficked areas.
  • Keep slack in your extension cords, as tension at the plug can cause the connection to pull loose.
  • Make sure that the amperage of the cord can handle that of the appliance. (The cord’s rating should be equal to or greater than the appliance itself.)
  • Use heavy-duty, grounded, three-prong extension cords for the big stuff, like power tools.
  • Always unplug the cord at the plug; never grasp the cord and pull.
  • Unplug the extension cord from not only the outlet but the appliance as well, when not in use.
  • Never cut off ground plugs–that third prong is not ‘extra’, and NEVER plug a three-pronged cord into an ungrounded 2-prong extension cord.
  • Do not hide extension cords under rugs.
  • Never run extension cords under ‘pinch points’ like doors and windows as they can cause damage to the cord’s insulation and expose bare wires.
  • Unwind extension cords fully and keep them from becoming knotted or kinked when in use.
  • Keep extension cords away from corrosive agents and oil.
  • Use only extension cords rated for outdoor use outdoors, and make sure when you do, to plug it into an outlet with a ground fault circuit interrupter.

  • Never use more than one extension cord in a string, and only use one per outlet.
  • Routinely inspect extension cords for damage.
  • Replace damaged plugs.
  • If you are using an extension cord that is frayed, do not simply wrap the damaged area with electrical tape. The safest thing to do is throw the cord away and buy a new one.
  • Buy only extension cords that have the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) trade mark.

Compiled from lifespy.com, esfi.org, Lubbock Power & Light and Three Notch EMC.



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