Do’s and Don’ts for Using Extension Cords

The majority of homes today utilize extension cords in one way or another. Unfortunately, quite a few of these homes don’t use them safely. After all, there aren’t too many inspectors checking how you are using your extension cords inside of your home. As a result, it is up to you to make sure you are using these properly and safely.

What You Shouldn’t Do

There are a number of ways that you may be using your extension cords unsafely, but there are quite a few common misuses that many people are still guilty of. One of the best ways to avoid doing these “don’ts” is by knowing what they are.

  • Using them as permanent additions to the wiring of a structure or device. If you have cords that aren’t long enough to make it to the outlet, then consider moving the device to a closer location or installing a new outlet. The exception to this is using surge protectors as long as they are used for protecting your equipment, but not if you are just using them to extend how far a cord can reach.
  • Running through holes or hidden in floors, ceilings and walls. Extension cords should never be used in place of proper electric wiring.
  • Running through windows, doorways and other openings. This may result in the cord starting to fray or becoming damaged, which can create a fire hazard.
  • Attached to building surfaces or walls. This can help you get the cord off of the floor, but it will also increase contact with your home and the chance of a fire.

What to Do Instead

If you are currently doing any of the things mentioned above, it is time to consider doing something differently. It is recommended by experts that extension cords are only used as intended – as a temporary source of power.

When using an extension cord, make sure it is completely plugged in and then attached to the device you are trying to power. At this point, you can use the device for your project, and then you need to unplug it right away and take the cord out of the outlet. After you are done using the cord, you can coil it up and place it in a dry and safe location. It is also a good idea to inspect the cord carefully for any damages before each use.

If you have more questions about how to use extension cords safely, contact a professional electrician. They can help you figure out what you should and should not do.