What Are Some Tips When Purchasing And Using An Extension Cord?

What are some tips when purchasing and using an extension cord? You should never use an extension cord if it is damaged in anyway. You should use the extension cord according to the ratings on it. Make sure that a damaged cord is properly disposed of.

It sometimes seems as though technology has caught up with us. Don't believe me? Go take a look in your kitchen. On the countertop is probably a microwave, coffee maker, cans opener, a grill, and juicer.


Take a walk into your bathroom and you'll probably see curling irons, a radio, a clock, and a blow dryer. Continue the journey from the bathroom to the living room and your entertainment system probably has a DVD player, Tivo System, video gaming box, surround sound speakers, and VCR just to name a few.

And while all these items are different in that they not only are located in different rooms of the house, but they all have different purposes for existence, the one common threat between the group is electricity.

None of these items works without electricity to power them. So, as consumers continue to purchase more and more items that require electricity to operate, the threat of safety hazards surrounding electricity are slowly becoming topics of interests for many homeowners.

One area that consumers routinely overlook when it comes to electrical safety is with the extension cord. With so many electronic devices and so few accessible outlets in a home, most consumers utilize extension cords as means of routing electricity in different directions.




Michael G. Clendenin is the executive director for the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). ESFI is North America's only non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to the promotion of electrical safety in the home, school, and workplace. He has created a catalog of electrical safety resources, issuing safety tips through publications, media relations, and their website. He currently acts as the spokesperson for the ESFI and the electrical industry on matters of electrical safety awareness. Clendenin says that consumers should do their research on the type of extension cord they will need before going out to purchase one.


"Before purchasing an extension cord, consumers should consider how the cord will be used," he says. "Make sure the rating on the cord is the same as or higher than the number of watts needed by the product that will be plugged into the cord."

Another huge problem that rises when dealing with extension cords is the amount of time that most consumers will utilize the cord. Clendenin and other experts advise consumers to never use an extension cord as a permanent form of wiring.

"Extension cords should never be used as a substitute for permanent wiring," Clendenin says. "When purchasing an extension cord, make sure you are buying one that meets your intended needs and is rated for indoor or outdoor use appropriately. Make sure extension cords have safety closures to help prevent young children from shock hazards and mouth burn injuries. Avoid problems before they happen."

And no matter how much tape you put on an extension cord, once the cord becomes frayed or damaged, consumers should not use the cord anymore. Most importantly, they should label the cords so that no one else will utilize defective goods.

"You should never use an extension cord that is damaged in any way," Clendenin advises. "If you do have an extension cord that is cracked, frayed, or damaged, dispose of them. You should have cracked, frayed, and damaged cords and appliances repaired at certified repair centers. If you choose not to do that, clearly label them as 'damaged and electrically unsafe.' Then you should discard them. We recommend cutting the cord to make sure 'scavengers' don't find the item and take the hazard with them."

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