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All About Power & Extension Cords In The Home and Business
Are you excited to use your new device but find there is no power outlet at the location you need?
Extension cords make it easier to stretch your device’s wires to their absolute limits.
Extension cords can pose dangers, especially if they are going to be used for a long time.
On Electrical Contractors electrician gives their tips on using extension cords safely in your home. Also, what dangers or risks you should be aware of.
Is it safe for an extension cord to be used?
Temporarily, you may need to use extension cords for heating or cooling.
You might also consider using extension cords in the long-term, such as in your bedroom or home office.
In this case, you might find it easier and more secure to place another power outlet right where you need it.
These sockets should be installed by licensed electricians who are qualified in domestic electrical services.
Extension cables can pose dangers, including:
- Tripping on the cord
- Chewing – just like a pet
- Safety hazards for children
- If the cord is too heavy or worn out, electrocution can occur
- Electric fires
- If you have children, it is important to follow electrical safety tips. Children are most at risk from electrical accidents.
What’s the significance of an extension cord and why is it important?
Extension and power cords can be dangerous and also reduce danger compared to the device’s attached cord.
If you have a tight power cord that runs from your vacuum to the socket, it can cause a trip hazard because the cord is stretched and possibly elevated above the ground.
This can cause the socket head to eject from the outlet when the vacuum is on, which could damage the vacuum (or any other appliance).
An extension cord allows the vacuum to reach farther in your home and reduces the chance of it tripping.
You also have more flexibility to place your electronics and devices wherever you like with extension cords.
What should I look out for when purchasing an extension cord
Extension cords should not be purchased second-hand and shouldn’t be considered cheap.
Talk to your local electricians to learn which cords to buy based on the purpose of the cord.
What happens if an extension cord is overloaded?
We live in an environment that is power-hungry.
You can use a powerboard to extend the cord for multiple devices or put it at the end of an extension cord to accomplish the same goal.
You might also use an extension cord that has multiple socket heads.
These things can lead to an overloaded circuit.
You might find that the power outlet is not in the exact location where you have your TV, gaming device or sound system. A power board can pose the same dangers to your health as an extension cord because it has a longer cord that runs a certain distance.
This is in addition to the dangers of an extension cord and the additional danger of an overloaded power socket.
These are the signs that a circuit board is overloaded.
- Dimming or flickering lights
- Making buzzing or humming noises
- Be warm to the touch
Sometimes more than one can occur at once, e.g. Your lights might flicker, but your socket or power board may be making an unusual hum.
You may feel the heat from your cord, socket, head or another device.
Overloaded circuits can lead to power tripping, which can have a negative impact on your house and even the houses of your neighbours.
If your power goes out due to an electrical tripping event, it can spark a spark that can ignite an electric fire.
How to correctly use a power cable
You may have noticed random letters on your extension cable. These letters are not a barcode or batch number, but codes for different cord qualities.
These are some letters that you might find on your cords and their corresponding meanings:
- W – Outdoors use
- J – The cord only has 300-volt insulation. (No J indicates that the cord has 600-volt insulation. This is better for larger devices and a powerboard.
- P – Parallel wiring used mostly indoors
- O – Indicates an oil resistant cord
- T – Made from vinyl
- E – Made from elastomer
- S – General Use
When making a decision, consider the following:
Attach a power board if you have it.
You need to connect devices permanently
If the cord can be used outside, It is best not to plug it in
Notice: A cord-marked “W” is not to be used outdoors or in inclement weather conditions unless there is an outdoor roof like a pergola.
How to hide cables and power cords safely
It’s tempting to place your extension cords underneath a table or rug, but this makes them more vulnerable to trip and fall.
You can hide electrical cables by either mounting them on a wall or covering them with cable protectors.
If the cord is in a convenient location, you can either strategically roll it behind a couch or attach it to a wall with electrical tape.
For mounting high up, hooks and clips work best.
If you are looking to store cables for future use, it is best to use the over/under method. This will prevent internal wires from fraying.
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