Most homeowners buy extension cords for home use to get power to areas where there is none. For instance, normal power plugs may not reach that far; hence extension cords can be used to get that far. However, these cords are not meant to be permanent solutions as many people have made them. They are generally manufactured to offer temporary solutions where necessary. Besides that, they are not to be used for heavy consuming gadgets.
In most cases, you use extension cords for charging phones, listening to radios, and working with small gadgets that need electric power for short-term use. Therefore, it is essential to observe specific rules when using extension cords around the house. Failure to keep up with these rules can result in a disastrous accident that may be expensive in the aftermath. On the other hand, if you follow the steps below when using your extension cords, the chances are that you will never have any issues.
1. Only use GFCI Protected Extension Cords
It does matter if the extension you get for your home use is a heavy duty extension cord if it is not GFCI certified. The GFCI standard ensures that the cord you purchase is safe for use during dangerous situations because it will automatically disconnect in such cases. It refers to Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter and is responsible for comparing current flowing through the cord. It will disconnect automatically in case there is a leak that causes an imbalance of 4 to 6mA.
Homeowners do not have to worry about such details as long as they get a GFCI extension cord. It is not possible to keep up with power changes and fluctuations. Such an extension cord covers all the bases, keeping you safe in all situations. Using a cord with a protected circuit installed in it is the best and easiest way to take charge of the family’s well-being.
2. Use a Tool at a time for Every 100 feet Extension Cord.
Most extension cords are not more than 100 feet. Make sure you use one tool at a time. If you are working on a project that needs you to use more than 100 feet extension cord length, you should consider installing a temporary power distribution box. Even though some people ignore and plug a second extension cord into another, this is not safe. It can cause several issues, including potential electrocutions, fires, and the destruction of gadgets or tools.
Note that power cords are dependent on the length of the cord. Plugging two extension cords together means that there will be a reduction in current capacity by half. Consequently, the voltage also reduces and, in turn, causes the cord to overheat and could cause fires. You can avoid making such mistakes or worry about calculating voltage drops by simply purchasing extension cords with 12-gauge wire. The strength and agility of this type of wire allow it to handle all kinds of tools without any challenges, even when the length is up to 100 feet. If you can, do not use small-gauge wires whose quality is not assured.
3. Never Use Damaged Cords
Once an extension cord is damaged or has slight damage, then discard it. Some people may attempt repairs and even put duct tapes to cover the issue, but there is no guarantee with such moves. OSHA rules recommend not repairing extension cords because of how vulnerable they become once they get damaged. Patching up a damaged extension cord will not stop it from working, but it is not highly recommended.
If you must repair it, cut out the whole damaged wire and install a new one. Doing this may shorten the extension cord, but it is the only acceptable repair. Besides that, irreparable damages such as those that penetrate the outer protective layer should be considered permanent, in which case the extension cord should be discarded without attempting any repairs. This only means that home users should be careful with their extension cords as they can quickly get damaged. All it takes is dropping it.
4. Do not Pin or Drill Extension Cords on Walls.
It is amazing how most people do the opposite of what is expected, probably because of ignorance. It is not advisable to pin extension cords on walls with nails or metal staples. These extension cords are made with flexible materials, which can easily be damaged. Moreover, using metallic items to secure the cords can compromise the wires and lead to unexpected accidents.
5. Avoid Running Cords Through Rugs and Doorways
Remember the aim is to use your extension cord safely. When the extension cord is along paths, you are likely to trip on it and cause damages or even riskier accidents. The last thing you want is to treat a fall that could have been avoided. Always use the extension cord in rooms or places that the work you are doing is going on. It also helps prevent laying cords across rooms and instead have them along edges where no one is likely to trip over accidentally.
Once you are done with the cord, make sure to coil or fold it appropriately for easy and correct storage. Remember that you want to place your extension cord in a place that is easy to reach when you need it. Make sure it is also secured in place and not where kids or pets can get to since they are likely to damage it.
Most extension cords are easy to handle, especially when they are for home use. These cords often come with a simple user guide that everyone can understand. However, misuse of the cords can quickly become a problem and a danger to those around the house. When it comes to buying the cords, make sure to choose the right length and pay attention to the specifications on safety.
It is not just enough to find an affordable extension cord when it could be a hazard. Observe rules when using extension cords as a way of prioritizing your safety needs. In the end, how you handle the extension cords determines whether you will use them for a long time and also if you will cause problems or not.