Extension cords are one of the items we frequently use as it helps to supply power to different home gadgets like television, fridge, microwave, pressing iron, and the likes. As harmless as it looks, it could be a potential source of electrical hazards like shock, electrocution, fire accident, among others. Most of these mishaps are the results of neglect and poor handling.
To avoid electrical hazards, you must take time to check your electrical cords for cracks and other conditions that may expose you and your household to danger. Also, you need to follow the best safety practices that guide the use of this item.
Instead of looking for ways to patch things up, you should consider getting a replacement for a damaged cord. This way, you can protect your home appliances and guide electrical accidents. When buying a cord, be mindful of the wattage requirement. Besides, you need to be aware that they come in different versions and specifications.
The versions may come with varying UL listings like Indoor only, multi-outlet, 3-wire design, outdoor weather resistant, oil resistant, tangle-free, vinyl jacket, 125 volts, etc. Also, they are available in different colors like red, orange, pink, yellow, brown, blue, green, brown, or white.
Depending on your need, you may also opt for a 20 amp extension cord or shorter ones, including 50 feet, 25 feet, 25 feet, 15 feet, among others. In essence, you should desist from the habit of grabbing any available cord. Ensure that you get a defect-free device that can safely power your electrical loads without overheating or causing any form of damage to your appliances.
Ignorance could lead to fatal consequences when it comes to using an electrical cord. Hence, you should replace the device immediately in the case of exposed wire, bent cords, frayed jackets, broken prongs, or missing ground plugs. Here are seven vital extension cord safety tips that you must learn to protect you and your family from electrical hazards:
Do Not Use Staples or Metal Nails to Attach Extension Cords to the Walls
To avoid electrical shock, you should not use metal nails or staples on the cord as it could damage its insulation. The jackets are made with soft and flexible materials, making them prone to damage. Also, it can easily get damaged when subject to bending, pinching, or any form of impact.
Never Run the Cord Under the Rugs or via the Door Way
This safety rule helps to prevent tripping or falling and damage to your device due to traffic. Ensure that you plug the cord in the same room where your appliances and gadget are located. This way, the wire won’t cause obstruction. Do not lay it across the room; place the wire close to the edges or walls where it won’t cause tripping or crushed by something heavy.
Use Cords with GCFI Protection
Cords with GCFI features can disconnect from a fluctuating or surging current. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GCFI) compares the current in the device and disconnects the power if it detects an imbalance in the current flow. It will interest you to know that GCFI cords are not expensive, and they can protect your appliances from sudden electrical surges.
Do not Use a Damaged Extension Cord.
A practice that can guarantee your protection from electrical cords hazards is to avoid using damaged or worn-out cords. Cords with ducts or electrical tape may still be working, but using such a device is against the OSHA regulation. You should avoid patching extension cords; the acceptable way to fix a damaged cord is to remove and replace the affected parts. However, if the damage penetrates through the insulator, then repair is not an option. You need to consider a replacement immediately. Extension cords can easily be damaged when you drive over them or drop heavy material on them.
Do Connect Two Extension Cord
Don’t extend power more than 100 feet with an extension cord. Failure to follow this rule may lead to a fire incident, electrocution, and damage to your appliances. When you plug two electrical cords together, their current carrying capacity is divided by two. This reduction will lead to a sharp drop in voltage and excessive heating. Install a temporary distribution box if you need to extend power to a distance of more than 100 feet.
Do Not Overuse and Overload the Cord
Remember that extension cords are primarily designed for temporary use. Hence, use them permanently. Also, do not connect it to multiple power-demanding appliances. In other words, you should not use it to power loads more than its wattage requirement. This rule helps you to guide against fire accidents, shock, or electrocution.
Select the Right Extension Cord
To avoid electrical hazards, get a cord with the appropriate specifications and features that make it suitable for the intended use. If you are plan to use the device outdoors, go for the one resistant to moisture, abrasion, and sunlight. Also, you should pay attention to the power requirements.
Extension cords are simple electrical devices that should not be overlooked when carrying out electrical safety checks at home. With the safety tips explained above, you can eliminate the risks associated with electrical cords and keep you and your family safe from electrical hazards.
Picture Source – PixabayShare on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn