The extension cord is known for making our lives much easier in many ways, but there have been many concerns raised about them. It is often said that leaving extension cords plugged in may result in some accidents. To know is it safe to leave extension cords plugged in or not, continue reading this article!
Today, we will not be just discussing if you can leave your extension cord plugged in. But we will also be discussing several safety tips you should keep in mind when using an extension cord, so you can avoid any tragic accidents from taking place.
Is it Safe To Leave Extension Cords Plugged in?
Let’s start off by tackling our main concern for today, can you leave extension cord plugged in? Extension cords help you provide electricity in hard-to-reach places, but leaving it plugged in is not the safest choice. You should always unplug your extension cord when you are not using it, or else it might result in some accident. Although these accidents don’t usually take place, it’s still best to stay safe.
That leads us to the question, can extension cords cause fire? It has been found that extension cords were the cause of many house fires, but if used with proper precaution, they don’t possess such risk.
Safety Reminders When Using Extension Cords
There are many things you must look out for and must avoid when using an extension cord. One of the first things you should absolutely avoid is trying to plug in a 3-prong extension cord into a 2-prong power outlet by removing the ground pin. This is very dangerous because then your extension cord won’t be grounded, and if it isn’t double insulated, then there is a high possibility you will get an electric shock.
Although one of the major conveniences the extension cord gives us is that it allows us to use multiple devices at once, if you can, you should avoid plugging more than one appliance with one cord. Additionally, don’t plug in extension cords with each other to increase the length; this also possesses risks.
If you were wondering, can you leave extension cords outdoors in the rain, then you’ll be glad to hear that you can! However, only weather-insulated extension cords that were designed for outdoors can be used outside; using indoor extension cords outdoors is very risky.
It is very easy to get your extension cord tangled or coiled, and this isn’t safe at all because this could lead to the cord getting damaged, and if there is any contact with the bare wire of the cord, it could lead to you getting an electric shock. If you touch your extension cord, and it feels hot, immediately turn off the switch and unplug the cord. Overheating extension cords are very likely to burst into fires.
A very common reason why extension cords overheat is that they are often covered by a rug or a piece of furniture that doesn’t let the heat escape. Hence, you should always keep your extension cord away from being covered. Coming back to our main topic, a very easy way to avoid overheating is just to unplug your extension cord when you aren’t using it.
Choosing The Right Extension Cord
For safety, you must purchase an extension cord that fits your needs perfectly. There are many variations in extension cords, from different wattage ratings to different lengths.
The first thing you have to do when buying an extension cord is check the cord’s gauge, wattage rating, and amperage and then check if it is suitable for your appliance. Using an extension cord that has a lower rating than your appliance will cause the cord to overheat and consequently burst into flames.
You should consider the length of your cord when buying it to make sure it is long enough to make things convenient while also ensuring that the length is suitable for your appliance’s wattage rating since the longer the wire is, the lower current it can handle safely.
As we have mentioned before, if you are using an extension cord outdoors, please ensure that it is weather insulated since using indoor extension cords outdoors can cause accidents. It’s also better to buy a 3-prong extension since it has the ground wire, which prevents anyone from getting an electric shock. Furthermore, you should buy extension cords that are double insulated for extra safety.
How to Care For Extension Cords
Like a lot of your prized possessions, you will also have to take a bit of care of your extension cord for your own safety. Always keep your extra extension cords unplugged and stored in a child cover indoors. As previously said, walk around the house to make sure all the extension cords are unplugged when inactive, or at the very least turn the switch off.
Never use damaged extension cords, thinking that nothing will happen because there’s only a small crack in the cord. This could potentially cause fatal accidents. You should always check for damaged ends of extension cords, so you can keep in check whether you have to replace it or not.
There is another important tip that people often forget, that is, when you’re unplugging your extension cord pull it out by holding the plug and not the cord itself. Tugging at the cord could cause the ends of the extension cord to get damaged.
Dealing with electrical appliances can be daunting for many because they do have risks if not used properly. However, since you’ve read our article on is it safe to leave extension cords plugged in, you know how to use them safely. Thus, if you follow all the safety tips we have given, you have absolutely nothing to worry about!