Keeping It Safe with Extension Cords
Extension cords are commonly found in both offices and homes. While they are useful to ensure electricity is available wherever you need it, extension cords come with their own set of precautions. Using common sense is imperative to ensure that you and your family are safe.
White River Valley Electric Cooperative (WRVEC) is pleased to provide the following extension cord safety tips:
- Extension cords are useful, but they should never be used as permanent wiring. Use an extension cord temporarily, and rewire the room if necessary.
- Be careful when handling extension cords. If the plug or cord is hot to the touch, be sure to unplug it immediately.
- Frequently check extension cords for signs of wear. Always replace cords that show damage, never attempt to repair them.
- Be careful where you place your extension cords. Never string cords under carpets or across high traffic areas, never pinch cords behind or underneath furniture, and be sure cords are kept away from moisture, heat, and metal pipes.
- When not in use, extension cords should always be unplugged and put away in a safe place.
- When using extension cords outdoors, be sure to only use cords rated for outdoor use.
- Be sure to only use polarized plugs with polarized extension cords. One blade on a polarized plug is wider than the other.
- Use heavy duty extension cords with three pronged plugs for tools that have three pronged plugs. Never bend or break the third prong for any reason.
- Be sure to check that all extension cords bear the seal of a recognized testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Know the electrical capacity of your cord and make sure not to overload it. Overloading the cord could cause damage and may pose a potential fire risk.
- Do not nail your extension cords to a surface. Nailing down an extension cord could puncture the rubber insulation and could be a fire hazard. Use appropriate fasteners if necessary.
- Always make sure your tools are switched off before plugging them into the extension cord.
- Always pull the plug, not the cord, when disconnecting the cord.