Extension cords are incredibly useful, but they’ll need to be handled and used properly. Otherwise, they can overheat and increase the risk of fires. To ensure you and your family’s safety, make sure to keep these do’s and don’ts in mind:
- DO choose your extension cords carefully. Make sure your choice has been approved by an independent testing laboratory. Determine whether the extension cord is marked for outdoor or indoor use (avoid using just one extension cord for both purposes). Check the amount of power the cord draws as well. This way, you’ll know if the cord can meet or exceed the power needs of the device being used.
- DON’T overload your extension cords. Powering multiple appliances with just one cord is generally a bad idea. You should also avoid plugging one extension cord into one another. If you find yourself relying too much on your cords, it can only mean that your home has very few outlets. So, you might want to consider getting more.
- DO consider correct placement of extension cords. You should, for example, avoid nailing or stapling them to the wall. Make sure that the cords are uncovered, meaning you should never run them through walls, doorways, ceilings or floors. That’s because heat gets trapped when the cord is covered, making it a fire hazard. When using outdoor extension cords, make sure they’re clear of snow or standing water.
- DON’T forget to take care of your extension cords. If you’re not using them, keep them unplugged from the outlet. When disconnecting the cord from the outlet, make sure to pull with the plug, not with the actual cord. If your cords have been damaged in some way, don’t hesitate to throw them away. Are the cords hot to the touch when in use? Unplug them immediately to prevent overheating.
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