Extension Cord Safety: Tips on What to Do & What to Avoid

Extension cords are a common and convenient way of delivering power to the exact locations where needed. However, it is important to remember that extension cords are a temporary solution and are not meant to be used as a long-term extension of your workplace’s, or home’s, electrical system.

Extension cord misuse can lead to fire and pose risks to your personal safety. Continuous use over time can cause an extension cord to deteriorate, creating a potential for dangerous electric shock or fire hazard.

Here are a number of tips to be aware of before plugging in a cord:

  • Purchase cords that have been approved by a recognized testing laboratory.

  • Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the device(s) being used.

  • Never use three-prong plugs with outlets that only have two slots.

  • Never remove the ground pin to force a fit.

  • Inspect cords and wall sockets for damage before use.

  • Check for cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, bent prongs and loose connections.

  • Never patch an extension cord. It is far safer to replace it if damaged.

  • Do not run extension cords through walls, doorways, windows, ceilings or floors or under carpets. If cords are covered heat cannot escape, which may result in a fire hazard.

  • Do not substitute extension cords for permanent wiring. Have additional outlets installed where you need them.

  • Do not overload extension cords.

  • Do not nail or staple electrical cords to walls or baseboards.

  • Keep extension cords away from wet or moist environments and clear of standing water.

  • Do not plug extension cords into one another (“daisy chaining”).

  • Unplug and store cords when not in use.

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