How to Be Safe When Using Extension Cords


Often times, we need a more conveniently located electrical outlet—or series of outlets that would allow us to power multiple devices simultaneously. In these situations, most of us have likely used an extension cord to get the job done. These convenient electrical cords are available in a variety of lengths and can be connected to each other to further increase the range of your powered connection. However, as with anything involving electricity, when using these helpful electrical cords, it’s important to take safety precautions!

To prevent dangerous shocks, sparking, and potential electrical fires, the ESFI (Electrical Safety Foundation International) recommends the following tips for using extension cords:

  • Don’t overload their extension cords’ capacities by attaching too many high voltage devices.
  • Take heed of the voltage capacity of the electric cord, as well as the power use rating for an attached device, that is likely found on the product itself. The type of extension cord you select should be equipped to power all devices you hook up to it.
  • Don’t attempt to use an extension cord in place of permanent wiring in the home which must consistently provide a large energy output. This can lead to short-circuiting and sparking which can cause fires.
  • When using extension cords, just like with any electrical device or connection, it is essential to keep them away from moisture or any other highly conductive environments. Running your extension cord near water or along snowy ground will not only damage and ruin your cord but also increases the likelihood of enduring an electrical shock injury.
  • Insulating your extension cord by running it behind a wall, under a rug, or wrapped in any kind of external shell, is equally risky as it causes heat to accumulate which may damage the cord or cause the coating to melt. This can cause sparking between the weakened or exposed wires, which is the primary cause of electrical fires in the home.
  • Keep in mind that while some single-outlet cords may be linked together to maximize range, most multiple-outlet extension cord systems must be connected to a primary outlet and may not be linked together.

While extension cords are helpful in the home, workplace, and outdoor settings (if rated for use outdoors), relying too heavily on extension cords to power your devices likely means your home doesn’t possess enough electrical outlets. Depending on the date of construction, this is a common issue for homeowners. When adding outlets, it is absolutely essential to enlist the assistance of a professional electrician to assess your home and install outlets.

Reach out to the electrical experts at Fab Electric today!

At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely in your home and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!