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Electrical  /  January 14, 2022

Calgary Electrical Services: Using An Extension Cord Safely

Using An Extension Cord Safely

It can be so frustrating when you need to plug in an electrical device and find that it doesn’t reach the wall socket, either because the cord is too short or the outlet is too far away. An extension cord can provide a short-term solution. Unfortunately, however, some homeowners rely on extension cords on a permanent basis, and that can be potentially dangerous. An electrician in Calgary can offer a better long-term solution. In the meantime, here are some tips on the safe and proper use of extension cords.

Why Can Extension Cords Be Dangerous?

Improper use of extension cords can cause them to overheat. When this happens, it can start a fire. In fact, extension cords are responsible for thousands of house fires, resulting in hundreds of injuries and deaths, on a yearly basis.

Extension cords can be dangerous in other ways as well. They can pose a tripping hazard, especially if they stretch across an established foot traffic route, such as a hallway. If the wires are exposed due to cord damage, it could produce an electric shock if you come into contact with them.

What Are Some Basic Extension Cord Safety Tips?

If extension cords are used properly, they are less likely to pose a fire risk or a tripping hazard. Here are some things you can do to use them safely:

  1. If the plug of an extension cord does not fit into a socket, do not try to force it. Sometimes one prong of the plug is larger than the other. This should correspond with a larger hole in the outlet, but if it doesn’t, you may have to use either another cord or another socket. Do not use a three-pronged extension cord in an outlet with only two slots, and do not try to remove the third prong to get it to fit.
  2. Before using an extension cord, inspect it for damage. If any wires are exposed or the cord is otherwise damaged, do not use it.
  3. If a cord has to go across a walkway or an open section of the floor, an extension cord cover intended for the purpose can help prevent tripping. However, do not run extension cords through walls or under rugs. They need a way to let heat escape or they could start a fire.
  4. Keep extension cords clear of all sources of water, including snow. Never use an indoor extension cord outside. Outdoor extension cords have tough covers to protect them and prevent overheating.
  5. Do not “daisy-chain” extension cords by plugging them into one another.

How Do You Choose the Right Extension Cord?

Whatever type of extension cord you choose, make sure it has been tested for safety hazards and approved by an independent testing laboratory. Most extension cords have a UL stamp indicating that they have been evaluated by Underwriter’s Laboratory. Be sure the extension cord is rated for the use that you intend for it, e.g., indoors versus outdoors, and is the proper length.

How Do You Care for Extension Cords?

When extension cords are not in use, they should be unplugged and stored indoors, preferably somewhere safe from rodents and out of the walkways so people do not trip over them. You can help prevent damage to the extension cord that could expose wires or loosen the connections by grasping the plug to pull it out of the socket rather than pulling on the cord itself. Dispose of any extension cords that are damaged.

How Can an Electrician in Calgary Offer a More Permanent Solution?

It is only recommended to use an extension cord in the same place for up to 90 days. A more permanent solution is to have new outlets installed where you need them so that you no longer need an extension cord to be able to reach them. Handyman Connection performs complicated home improvements from electrical work to bathroom renovations. Find out more about the services we offer in Calgary.

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