If your home or business depends on the use of extension cords for more than a temporary fix, you might want to consider adding a new outlet to your electrical system instead. Extension cords are surprisingly hazardous.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that about 3,300 residential fires originate with these cords each year. The CPSC website recommends, “Use extension cords only when necessary and only on a temporary basis.” Many local building codes have made permanent use of these cords illegal in homes and businesses.
Why Extension Cords Are Hazardous?
One trouble with extension cords is that they’re often in the way. People can trip over them. Or possibly even worse, walk on them. Walking on a cord can damage it. This isn’t the only way the cord can be damaged. If used outside, it can deteriorate due to exposure to the sun.
If the cord is damaged, it can create a short circuit, which can result in overloading and overheating of the wires inside and possibly a fire. The hazard can be heightened if an indoor cord has been tucked under a rug to prevent tripping. Under the rug, the cord can be damaged by being trod on, but the damage is hidden. And the rug only adds to the fire hazard.
Extension cords that provide more than one outlet and allow more than one appliance to be plugged in create another hazard. They can allow overloading of the wires in the cord and overheating.
A power strip is a safety improvement over an extension cord. Power cords run from a couple of feet up to 12 feet. If you use a power strip, make sure that it is equipped with a circuit breaker. If damage to the cord results in a short circuit or if too many appliances are plugged in, the resulting power overloading will shut off power to the cord. This eliminates the problem of overheating and fire hazard.
Of course, with the power cord, there is still the tripping issue, and over time, the circuit breaker can deteriorate without giving any sign. Adding a conveniently located outlet is a safer solution. If you would like to look into an additional outlet or other modifications to your electrical system, please give like those at The Electric Connection a call, and we will be happy to give you a free over-the-phone estimate.
Indoor Extension Cords vs Outdoor Extension Cords
Extension cords are the perfect solution when you need power somewhere in a pinch but there are some differences between the cords you can use indoors and those that must be used outdoors. Outdoor extension cords can be used inside or outside but indoor extension cords must only be used inside. We will explain the differences between the two to help prevent safety hazards.
The one big difference between the two types of extension cords is the insulation used when they are created. Outdoor extension cords are made with a special type of protective insulation to prevent moisture from getting in and to add protection against temperature changes. When exposed to sunlight for long periods of time, the insulation can break down and possibly cause a fire hazard; this is why outdoor extension cords are built with a special material to protect it from the sun. Many outdoor cords have a outside shell that protects again different types of chemicals.
The next difference is the gauge of the cord. This is calculated by the size or diameter of the inside conducting wires. If a cord has a large conducting wire this allows more current to flow through it which is good for longer cords and powering larger pieces of equipment. Indoor extension cords are usually found in lengths shorter than 25 feet while outdoor extension cords can be up to 150 feet and maybe more.
Plug types are also different. There are many indoor extension cords that only have two prongs. Outdoor extension cords should have three prongs to help with grounding to prevent electrical shocks. The amperage also differs from indoor and outdoor extension cords. Generally an indoor cords requires less amperage because it is not powering heavy machinery. Outdoor extension cords usually require more power so they come with higher amperage.
Knowing the differences between indoor and outdoor extension cords can help you make important decisions while choosing your next cord. Be sure to choose the correct extension cord to keep your family safe from electrical hazards.
The Electric Connection’s choice when it comes to expandable power is Etekcity’s 10 Pack Power Extension Cord Cable. This pack of 10 one foot power extension cables are simple and affordable solutions for adding length to power cords. Simply build the cables onto one another to get the right size. These cords not only add length, but also save space when used with a power strip.
Great for indoor or outdoor use, these one foot cords are built to withstand sun exposure and are resistant to moisture. They are also designed to take on a lifetime of wear and tear, as well as safe to use around children and pets.
These cords are heavy duty but safe. They are built with thicker wire diameters that can handle a greater amperage and give more wattage. This means there is less chance it will get hot. The 10 pack is also UL Certified and back by a lifetime satisfaction guarantee by Etekcity.
With Iron Forge Cables’ 25 foot outdoor extension cord, you can bring power to all your devices, indoor and outdoor. This is a heavy duty 12 guage wire that can handle power equipment and everyday appliances. There is even an LED light to help you see in the dark. With the 25 foot length you’ll have plenty of reach to help power everything in your garden or your home.
Use this cord to power everything in and around your home. From Christmas lights to leaf blowers, this cord can handle it all. With it’s yellow color, it is highly visible for extra safety. It also has reinforced prongs to ensure that breakage or bending won’t occur.
Built for safety and extended use, the 25 foot Iron Forge Cable has a lifetime replacement warranty from Iron Forge Cables as well as is ETL/CETL Listed.
If you’re looking for a shorter extension cord that fits all your electrical needs, consider purchasing Iron Forge Cables’ 6 foot cord. This cord will give you a heavy-duty strain relief for optimal performance. It also includes a 3 prong grounded molded male plug for added safety. This cord is perfect for reaching across rooms or offices.
Best used for office settings, this cord is a perfect way to power your computer monitor, tower, or printer. Since it is both flame retardant and water resistant, it is designed to hold up well and meet all your electrical needs. With it’s vinyl covering, it is protected against direct sunlight and abrasion.
This cord also features reinforced blades that help protect the prongs from bending or breaking. It is also ETL/CETL listed and comes with a lifetime replacement warranty from Iron Forge Cables.
Another great Iron Forge Cables product. This extension cord is the perfect power cord for any of your home electrical needs. This 25 foot extension cord offers heavy duty strain relief for optimal performance. For safety, it features a 3 prong grounded molded male plug. It is the perfect length to reach across any room.
This cord is perfect to use in your home to power your TV, gaming consoles, or computer. This cord is designed to meet all your home electrical needs and hold up well. Built to run multiple devices with it’s three outlets, it is also water resistant and flame retardant. The white color makes it easier to see which is an added safety feature.
The ECHOGEAR Power Strip Surge Protector helps save your devices from electrical spikes with 2160 Joules of fireproof protection. It also gives you an incredible 8 outlet capacity to ensure you have the most space for power. These outlets also rotate to expand your outlet capacity.
When you purchase a cheap surge protector, it can put your home at risk. With fireproof protection, this power strip ensures that if a surge, strike, or spike happens your house won’t burn down.
Rotating outlets allow you to power all your devices while saving space. The rotation allows the power strip to stay small but have all the outlets filled. Your devices will fight for power no longer!
This 15 foot six outlet surge protector was built to safeguard your high end electronics and any major household appliances plugged into it when a surge occurs in your home. Fitted with a single illuminated on / off switch, this protector contains a built in circuit breaker as well as 6 grounded plugs to protect against harmful power overloads.
This device uses a tough Service Junior Thermoplastic which is a hard usage service cord that is designed to work with power tools, workstations, and even large appliances. With a large 15 foot cord, your can use this in any part of the room you need.
The 15 foot six outlet surge protector works great with any appliance such as clocks, radios, and handheld devices. It’s three prong, grounded plug ensures safety to all devices plugged into it. This increases the longevity of all your household electronic and mobile devices.
This great charging station is perfect for your nightstand allowing you to charge multiple devices. It has three outlets to provide the ultimate convenience and protection for computers, home entertainment systems, and more. It also provides three USB charging ports to charge 3 tablers or smartphones at the same time.
The TESSAN Power Strip with USB provides multi protection safety to ensure complete protection from any electrical shorts or overheating. It is even fireproof up to 750°C.
The USB ports are able to handle the load of three smart devices with it’s intelligent charging technology. It enables each port to detect and deliver an ideal output of 2.4A.
Opentron’s 4 foot metal power strip provices 12 outlets with surge protection up to 400 Joules. The durable light up power switch is fitted with a 15 amp circuit breaker. If the strip were to overload, the circuit breaker trips off to protect anything connected to it. There is enough space in between each out to plug in even the largest adapters.
This power strip is best used in the home, work shop, or office. With it’s ultra-durable heavy duty metal housing, it is great for power tools, computers, home entertainment systems and more.
It is also ETL approved and listed and conforms to UL listings to ensure safety.