Almost every homeowner has an extension cord in their house, no matter the size or use of the product. However, not everyone knows how to maintain these items to keep them safe and give them a long lifespan. Since these cords help transport electrical currents, handling them with the care they deserve is essential. This way, you will protect yourself from getting electrocuted or damaging your electronics. You should be cautious of all details, from where you place them to how you connect the extension to the outlet. Read on to find out ways to ensure your household is safe when using an extension cord.

Assess Before Use

If your extension cord has been in storage for a long time, it is essential that you inspect it from end to end before connecting it to the power source. The first thing you need to confirm is whether the insulation is intact throughout the length of the cord. A broken cable exposes the wires underneath it, which risks electrocution or short-circuiting. We discourage using an extension cord that has damaged insulation. It is better to get a new one that will keep you safe.

You should also confirm the condition of the prongs on the head of the cable. A suitable item should have three firm pins with no sign of melted plastic or getting loose. If yours does not have the earth pin, kindly don’t use it since it lacks the necessary safety measures. We recommend disposing of any damaged cords and replacing them with newer ones.

Do not connect naked wires directly to the socket or join two cords using their wires. Even with electrical tape, this poses a considerable risk of electrocution since there is no earth pin, and the tape comes off easily. The plugs help keep you safe from electrocution, so you should not use any product that doesn’t have one.

No Moisture Allowed

Water is a good conductor of electricity; therefore, no electrical items should be near it. You should not place the extension cord on a wet surface whether the insulation is intact or not. If you are using the cable for an outdoor connection, ensure that the ground is dry and that there are no sprinklers or taps pouring water near it.

Additionally, you should not touch the plug or any part with exposed wires with wet hands. The current can quickly jump to your hands, and you get electrocuted. This can have fatal effects based on the amount of power in the system. When cleaning the house or using water near an extension cord, place it on a high surface or turn off the power supply. You can set the cord back on the ground when the place dries completely.

Do Not Overload

Our Thermo Direct electricians always recommend checking the wattage and voltage of the extension cord before purchasing it. Many people get what pleases their eyes without checking whether it can support the power they need. However, you can consult our experts or the seller to buy the correct product if you are unsure.

If you already have a cord in your house, you should check the power limit or the behavior of the electronics when you connect them. An overloaded extension cord will risk damaging your electronics and will also have a short lifespan.

Look out for the following signs of a power overload:

  • Burnt or discolored plugs
  • Dimming lights
  • Fluctuating electronics
  • The smell of burnt plastic
  • Hot plugs
  • Buzzing sound from the outlets

Another common cause for overloading is connecting two or more extension cords. Most people assume that this increases the power capacity, and therefore, they add heavier electronics. On the contrary, this only increases the number of ports to connect your items. You should ensure that none of the electronics exceeds the required wattage limit. However, such connections are not advisable, and you need to look for an alternative source or a cord with more capacity.

Extension Cords Are Not Permanent Wiring

Many people use extension cords in their houses for items that cannot reach the wall socket. However, it would be best if you remembered that these products should not replace professional wiring. They are only for short-term use, and you need to hire our electricians to rewire or install another outlet near your appliances. This will ensure you get the proper power supply and safety measures to protect your electronics and house from an electrical accident.

Prevent Overheating

Did you know that current produces an electromagnetic field that eventually results in heat production? That is why our expert electricians recommend avoiding circumstances leading to overheating. First, ensure the extension cord does not pass near a fire or a heat source. Apart from the heat from the electricity, the external heat may damage the insulation, posing a risk of an electrical fire.

We also discourage passing cords behind walls, under carpets, or any other places without proper air circulation. The accumulated heat can cause a spark to develop, especially if a naked wire is on the cord. This may result in a fire, which damages your property.

If you use outdoor cords that come with a reel, we recommend unwinding the entire cord before connecting it. This action avoids creating an electromagnetic field on the wires that may cause the cables to overheat. Nevertheless, if you don’t need the entire cord, place the reel under a shade that can remain cool.

Keep Away from Human Traffic

Always ensure that you place the length of the cord away from human traffic. Do not run the cable below the carpets, near the door, or across the corridors. The constant movement may cause people to unintentionally kick, pull, or even trip over the cord. This risks injuring the residents and damaging the insulation. The force from the pulling or tripping may cause the insulation to break from the plug, damaging the cable. You may also unintentionally disconnect the cable when you trip, thus damaging the pins or plug.

Store the Extension Cords Appropriately

How you store your extension cord matters, and it dictates how long it will last. If you have a cord on a reel, ensure you wind it carefully in its place, removing any kinks and folds. Secure the plug carefully so that it does not fall off, and then place the reel on a dry surface, away from constant disruption.

For the smaller products, fold the cord carefully to avoid kinking the insulation. By doing so, you prevent the breaking of the insulation, thus extending the lifespan of your extension cables. Store them in a water-tight container to avoid any interaction with water.

Work With Our Experts

Thermo Direct has been in operation since 2000, and we have been serving the Raleigh community and the surrounding area with excellent services for comfort and safety. Our outstanding electrical team has extensive experience in handling various residential power issues. We take care of electrical panels, EV charging stations, generators, lighting, surge protection, and all other electrical systems in your house. Every assignment receives the priority and professionalism it deserves.

Our professional plumbers excel in all piping, fixtures, and drainage issues. This helps you maintain a constant clean water supply throughout the year. Our HVAC technicians play an excellent role in providing indoor comfort through quality heating and cooling systems. We install, repair, maintain, and replace various units and have accreditation from the relevant bodies. Reach out to our Thermo Direct team today and get the assistance you need.

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