Use Extension Cords Safely

Extension cords seem like the practical, cost-effective solution when adding or rearranging appliances and electronics in your home. However, we urge you to keep in mind that extension cords are not designed for permanent use and that it is important to choose a cord that meets your needs.

If you go shopping for extension cords, you will find there are a variety of options available. It is important to choose an extension cord that is properly rated for the device you will have plugged into it. According to Underwriters Laboratory (UL), if an appliance or power tool is drawing more current than an extension cord can carry, it may cause the cord and tool to overheat and create a fire. Check the packaging or the tag on the cord for its rating and check the appliance or its use and care booklet for its power usage.

Follow these additional tips for the safe use of extension cords:
• Check the condition of extension cords. Look for fraying or cracking along the entire length of the cord and for damage to the plug or sockets. Replace any damaged extension cords.
• Make sure the extension cord that you are using has been certified by a recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory, ETL, or CSA.
• Do not overload extension cords with too many electronics or appliances.
• If any part of the extension cord becomes hot while in use, unplug it immediately and discard it.
• Keep extension cords away from children, pets, and high-traffic areas.
• Do not place extension cords under carpets, rugs, furniture, or other objects.
• Unplug extension cords when they are not in use.
• When using extension cords outside, use only extension cords rated for outdoor use.
• An extension cord should never be put in place as a long-term solution. A qualified electrician can help you install the necessary wiring and receptacle outlets for a permanent solution.