Electrical outlets are a vital tool for everyday life. They make it possible to power up appliances, turn on lights and charge up those electronic devices. However, even if your home has tons of outlets, they may not be where you need them. An extension cord makes it possible to put the power of your outlet right where you need it; however, choosing the right extension cord is crucial. There is a huge difference between charging your tablet on your bedside table and powering up an elliptical in the middle of your living room. When you need to extend the power provided by your electrical outlet, having the right extension cord is vital for safety; choose the wrong cord could potentially cause electrical shocks or even start a fire.
Keep It Short
The beauty of an extension cord is that it allows you to bring the power provided by your electrical outlet to pretty much anywhere you need it. However, that doesn’t mean that the longer cords are better. The longer the extension cord is, the less voltage it will deliver to whatever you are using it to power. Not only does this mean that you will have electrical efficiency, but it could also mean that the item that you are charging will not power that it needs to run effectively and safely.
To ensure proper voltage transmission from your outlet to whatever you are powering, it is best to choose the shortest cord possible. Doing so will help to conserve energy and ensure that everything is running smoothly and safely. For example, if you just need a few extra inches, you don’t need a cord that is several feet long. If you want something more permanent, call an experienced electrician to install it.
Choose the Right Gauge
All electrical devices and appliances have amperage ratings. Amperage is used to measure the electrical current that flows through a circuit. Most appliances and electrical devices will have a tag or a plate attached to them that lists the amperage rating. Extension cords are categorized by grade; lower gauges are meant for items that require more amperage, while higher gauges are intended for items that need less amperage. Typically, extension cords that are designed for use in the house range from 8 to 18 gauges. You can find handy charts online that will help you match your electrical device to the proper extension cord, or you can contact an electrician to find out what cord is best for your needs.
Always Exercise Caution
When it comes to electricity, exercising caution is always important, and using extension cords is no different. Some key safety tips that you should follow when using extension cords include the following:
- Do not connect extension cords; if a cord is too short, switch it out to a longer cord. Connecting cords will reduce the electrical flow and could increase the risk of electrical shocks and fire.
- Inspect cords for damage prior to using them. If you notice any frays or tears, do not use the cord and throw it out. Using a damaged cord significantly increases the likelihood of shock or fire.
- Pay attention to wear you run them. For example, don’t run an extension cord across the middle of a high-traffic zone, such as a hallway or a walkway. Also, never run them underneath carpeting or any fabric, or in doorways or windows where they could be pinched.
Remember, while extension cords are certainly helpful, they are not intended to be a permanent solution. If you need to extend power permanently, contact a licensed, experienced electrical contractor. We’ll be happy to help you with all of your electrical needs!