How to Make Sure Your Extension Cords Are Safe

October 6, 2021

Extension cords are often the last item on a person's safety checklist. However, it's rare to have a home without at least one extension in use. Proper usage is a key safety concern because most people plug in their cord and never think about it unless an incident occurs.

Even in the workplace, NT WorkSafe makes recommendations to lower the risk of extension cord accidents.

Risks of Improper Usage of ExtensionCords

If not used as intended, short and long extension cords pose a risk of:

·     Electrical shock

·     Electrical fire

Taking a safety-first approach when using these cords will reduce the risk of fire or shock. A few essential tips on how to make sure that your usage is correct are:

Safety Tips When Using ExtensionCords

1. Don't Try and Hide the Cords Under Floors or inCeilings

Hiding unsightly cords may improve your home's aesthetics, but you're also reducing the airflow around the cord. Lack of airflow allows heat to build and can result in an electrical fire.

You should never place your cords:

·     Underneath flooring

·     In the ceiling

·     Behind walls

Instead, allow air to reach the cord and enable heat to dissipate properly.

2. Don't Plug Multiple Appliances into a Single Cord

If you plug multiple appliances into one cord, you risk overloading the cord. Since appliances have high power demand, a general rule of thumb is that one appliance per cord is the absolute most you can use.

3. Avoid Placing in the Middle of Walkways

Proper placement of your extension cords goes well beyond the recommendations above. You must secure your cords properly and remove cords from walkways to prevent trips and falls.

4. Never Join Cords Together

Joining multiple extension cords together is a bad idea. For each cord you add, you're reducing the voltage of the new cord, which can reduce safety switch effectiveness. The risk of fire and overloading remains the same, yet your home's circuit breakers won't operate properly, which will greatly increase the risk of fire.

5. Avoid Using Nails or Staples

Running cords against floorboards or a wall using nails or staples poses the risk of damaging the cord. If the nail or staple damages the wires, it can cause a fire.

6. Never Place in Hot Areas or Where There's Water

Water and electricity don't mix, so keep your cords away from any area where there's a risk of the cord becoming wet unless your cord is rated for such use. Also, due to the potential of heat causing a cord to catch fire, don't place your cords in areas where there's excessive heat.

7. Forgetting to Examine and Inspect Cords

You should visually examine and inspect cords for:

·     Damage

·     Coiling (uncoil to reduce heat)

·     Anything that looks amiss

Never continue using extension cords that show signs of damage.

Remember, extension cords are not a permanent wiring substitute.If you find your home lacks enough power outlets, contact us today to see if installing a new outlet is a practical choice for your home.

Give us a call at +61 (07) 380 767 69 or get a quote online.