Surge protectors are an essential electrical component for the safety of our home appliances. But have you ever face the question whether you can plug an extension cord into it?
Well, technically you can. Considering some factors like the gauge and length of the extension cord you can plug it into a surge protector. Using the same gauge or a better one in the extension cord in the surge protector is important.
I am going to give a better insight on the topic. But first of all, let’s gather some basic on extension cord and surge protector.
What Is A Surge Protector?
A surge protector is an electrical protection device. It provides protection to a circuit from the sudden voltage surges or spikes. Surge protectors are installed separately in most cases. But there are many power strips that have built in surge protectors.
Fig-1(a)shows an external surge protector; we can see that the surge protector has 3 terminals- line, neutral and ground terminal. Besides this, surge protector can be found in another form, that may seem like a power strip, but it has a built-in surge protector within like the one shown in fig-1(b).
How Does A Surge Protector Works?
Surge protector works by passing the load current through it. So, when there is a surge in voltage, it directs the extra electricity to the ground keeping the appliances unharmed.
Let me give a brief description about this that you may find helpful.
There is a particular part in a surge protector that is called MOV or Metal Oxide Varistor. It is a kind of sensor type valve that can sense the pressure of the voltage. When there is a high pressure, it diverts the extra voltages to the ground.
The MOV has a variable resistance also. When it senses high voltage pressure it reduces the resistance, so that the spike may decrease. On the other hand when it senses low voltage pressure it increases the resistance to give a stable output to the appliance.
What Is An Extension Cord?
An extension cord is a kind of power cord that is used to connect outlets to the power source. It has a variable length, so it is used to increase the range of the outlets to help it reach any distant apparatus.
Extension cords play a very vital role. In house or office, we always face the fact that the device we want to plug in is in distance from the outlet. In such case we use an extension cord to bring the outlet close to the device.
There are several types of extension cords according to certain factors. The term ‘Gauge’ is mostly used to determine the type of cord.
Gauge is the American standard to classify the extension cords according to their current capacity and length. The current capacity depends of the thickness of the copper wire used.
There are cords with different values of gauge. There is an inverse relation between the gauge number and the current capacity. Like, a 12 gauge wire is more capable than a 14 gauge wire.
Can You Plug A Surge Protector Into An Extension Cord?
As I have said earlier, yes you can. But you must keep certain factors in mind. In this section I am going to discuss those factors to you.
Factors to consider:
- The amperage of the wires used must be taken seriously. If the current capacity of the surge protector is handled by a 14 gauge wire, then the extension cord must be of 14 gauge or lower. To learn more about the handling power of a 14 gauge cord see the article (How many watts can a 14 gauge extension cord handle)
- The length of the extension cord is an important factor. Every gauge value has there length limitations. The extension cord must not exceed it is permitted length.
- It is better not to ‘daisy chain’ any cords or surge protector.
Can I Plug A Surge Protector Into Another Surge Protector?
The answer is – no, you should not. If you do so, the load current in the first one can be exceedingly high if many high consuming devices are plugged in the second one. This can make the first one trip.
Can I Plug An Extension Cord Into Another Extension Cord?
Technically speaking, yes you can plug an extension cord into extension cord. But it has many risks and due to the hazards it can bring, it is against the regulations of the authority.
What are the problems?
Mainly the problems are related to the amperage and the length of the cords. Every extension cord has a gauge rating. The amperage and the length depend on the gauge rating of the cord. So if one cord can transmit 15 Amps while the other has a limit of 10 Amps, the later one will be damage due to the overflow of currents.
The length is another issue here. When two extension cords are connected together the length becomes multiplied. We know that with the increase in length the resistance of the wire also increases. This results in decreased electric energy to the supply end.
So, it is recommended not to plug an extension cord into an extension cord. It is wise to use one cord with the desired length if it is within its capacity.
This article can be a real helpful guide for you. We often find situations like these in our day to day life but fail to get the correct answers. Hopefully now you know everything wanted to know plugging an extension cord into a surge protector. Let’s summarize the total thing for a quick glance:
- Starting with the basic question- yes, you can plug an extension cord into a surge protector with some facts to consider.
- The surge protectors generally use 14 gauge wires inside them. So, choose a 14 gauge or lower gauge for your extension cord to avoid risk.
- Remain within the permitted length for the gauge wire you are using. If you need a 50 feet cord you can use a 14 gauge wire. But in case of a 100 feet cord, choose a 12 gauge wire.
- Do not daisy chain your extension cords or surge protectors. Especially, plugging surge protectors into another one is not a wise choice; it kills efficiency of the protectors.
That’s it, just abiding by these rules you can create your own extension cord with a proper level of protection given by the surge protector. Feel free to try this anytime you want. Electricity is fun, good luck.