Using An Extension Cord? 2 Tips That Can Keep You Safe

When you whip out an extension cord, the last thing you probably expect is that seemingly innocent device to spark a house fire. Unfortunately, an estimated 3,300 residential fires a year are caused by improper extension cord use, which is why taking care of those cords carefully is so important. Here are two tips that can keep you safe while you use an extension cord, so that you can fend off catastrophes:

1: Check Extension Cords For Damage

When you need an extension cord in a hurry, it can be easy to ignore how you treat that electrical device. Unfortunately, as you sling that cord into place or drag it across the street as you work, it can sustain serious internal damage. Over time, that damage can create an arc fault, which is an area where the internal current can escape and generate heat. If you continue to use a damaged extension cord, that simple arc fault can spark a fire in no time.

To avoid problems, always check extension cords for damage prior to use. Look for physical damage such as kinks in the cable, frayed insulation, and cracked plastic. If you spot issues, throw the cord away and purchase a new one. It might seem inconvenient, but it could protect your place.  

2: Don't Overload Extension Cords

After you track down the perfect extension cord, you might be tempted to fill it to the brim to power all of your gizmos and gadgets. However, all electrical devices are designed to handle a particular level of electrical current, and going over that recommended level could cause problems. When extension cords are forced to deliver more current than they should, the internal wiring can burn out, damaging the cord and your appliances.

Fortunately, you can avoid these types of issues by checking the maximum electrical capacity of your extension cord. Every extension cord is rated to handle a certain level of amperage. Before you start plugging things in, check your appliances to see how much power they pull. Compare the total to the capacity of your extension cord. If you know that you need more power than your cable can deliver, consider using a second extension cord powered by a separate outlet.  

Understanding how to use extension cords properly might help you to sleep a little easier, and keep your home and family safe. However, if you find that you need additional outlets, contact a professional who can run a separate line and install additional power. 

For more information, contact Conway Electric or a similar company.

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