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October 9, 2013

Extension Cord Usage: Do’s and Don’ts.

extension chords

As recent as February 12th, the Daily Record reported a Mount Olive house fire blamed on extension cord failure. The township Fire Marshall found “a freezer in the house was connected to an extension cord that failed when the demand in the wire was too great.” This is a common story with an easy fix- be sure to have an outlet installed where needed or purchase the proper rated extension cord for your appliances.

Improper use of easily overloaded extension cords can present a serious fire-safety hazard in your home. The most common cause of fires from extension cords is due to improper use and overloading especially when cords have multiple outlets. Most extension cords are only rated for a maximum of ten amps or 1200 watts.

Inappropriate use of extension cords include using as a permanent wiring, overloading power capabilities of a cord during temporary use, daisy chaining (plugging one extension cord into another), and using one power strip or surge protector to power another. These are all reasons to have Esposito’s Electric install a suitable outlet where you most need one, indoors or out! This is an easy installation that can be completed in a single day. Remember that extension cords should only be used temporarily pending the installation of permanent outlets to ensure the electrical safety of your home.

Before using any extension cord to power an electrical tool or appliance, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. encourages you to ask yourself three important questions:

1. Will I use the cord indoors or outdoors?
-There are outdoor extension cords that are waterproof for this specific reason and would be the extension cord of choice in this case.

2. What is the total wattage rating of the appliance I’ll use with this cord?
– The wattage rating for your appliance at hand should meet the rating and gauge of the extension cord you plan on using. You can find the wattage rating labeled directly on the extension cord.

3. How far is the nearest outlet from where I am working?
– If you find the nearest outlet from a common place you work is causing you to resort to an extension cord then it is time to have a new outlet installed. By using extension cords and properly placed outlets appropriately, you and your family can enjoy longer, safer use of your power equipment and appliances without running into the risk of safety hazards.

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