Be smart about electrical safety and follow these extension cord safety tips when using electrical extension cords outdoors or indoors. These electrical safety tips apply to the proper use of extension cords, surge protectors and electrical power strips in your home or in your place of business.
1. Avoid using extension cords near water, near heat sources, or near heavy traffic.
Excessive heat or heavy traffic can damage electrical cords so avoid this at all times. Plus, you want to avoid any situation where the electrical extension cord poses a tripping hazard. If you must use an extension cord in wet areas, be sure that the cord is in excellent condition and only plugged into a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet. For more information on GFCI and extension cord safety, see our web page on GFCI Outlets.
2. Cord must be plugged all the way in and do not pull on the cord when removing from an outlet.
Before use, always inspect the extension cord first. When plugged in, you should not be able to see any part of the plug prongs. Make sure the plug is pushed in all the way. Extension cord safety tip – remove the extension cord by grabbing hold of the head of the extension cord. To avoid damaging the cord, do not pull on the cord.
3. Use extension cords rated for the amount of electricity needed.
Different extension cords have different ratings. Never overload your extension cord. Your cord rating should not exceed the ampage or wattage ratings of the items the cord is powering. An excessive electrical draw can be hazardous. Extension cord safety tip – never plug in multiple extension cords together (no daisy-chaining).
4. Use only 3 prong extension cords.
Three prong extension cords are now the standard and help to ensure that the electrical items plugged into it are properly grounded.
5. Never remove the third prong (ground pin).
Removing the ground pin can be hazardous and by law, they should never be removed. We also recommend that you discard damaged extension cords. Extension cord safety – never splice the cords or use electrical tape to repair or patch exposed wires.
6. Do not unplug extension cords if your hands are wet.
Wet hands could cause electricity to jump to you when plugging in or unplugging an electrical cord.
7. Extension cords should not be run under the carpet or through doorways and walls.
Electrical cords can easily break or become damaged, especially if they are pinched by a closing door. They can also overheat if plugged into an overloaded circuit so never run them through walls or under carpets.
8. Use a power bar for multiple items in one outlet.
If you need more than two devices plugged into an outlet then use a power bar but avoid plugging extension cords into a power bar.
9. Extension cords are not a substitute for permanent electrical wiring.
If you need a consistent electrical source then talk to our Abbotsford electricians about installing permanent electrical wiring. Extensions cords are not designed for permanent use and should only be utilized as a temporary power supply.
10. Avoid kinking extension cords.
When not in use, extension cords should be stored properly. Coil them up loosely and avoid kinking the wires. This will also help improve the lifespan of your electrical extension cords. Extension cord safety – watch for signs of a damaged cord, which might include loose prongs, cord heating up when in use, and exposed insulation or cord wiring.
About Premium Electric
Premium Electric services clients throughout the Vancouver Lower Mainland but primarily in communities throughout the Fraser Valley including Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Aldergrove, Mission, and Maple Ridge.
If the outlet your extension cord is plugged into starts to feel warm or overheat be sure to call our Abbotsford electricians to assess and address the issue asap. You may need new power outlets installed in your home or business, or possibly electrical wiring upgrades.