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Safety Tips For Using Extension Cords Inside Of Your Home

If you live in an older home and never seem to have an outlet nearby where you need to plug something in, then these tips will help you use power cable extension cords in a safe manner and help you prevent the introduction of an unnecessary fire hazard into your living space:

Safety Tip: Use Dedicated Power Cable Extension Cords Where Possible

Rather than using standard extension cords to plug in electronics and small appliances, first, check to see if you can purchase a dedicated power cable extension cord for them. For example, if you need to plug in your computer, then search online for a power cable extension cord designed specifically for your computer. By using a longer power cord between your computer and the wall outlet, you eliminate the potential fire danger of using a standard extension cord.

Safety Tip: Understand that Extension Cords are Only Designed for Short-Term Use

Since extension cords introduce a fire hazard wherever they are used, they are not designed for long-term use in your home or yard. For example, if you want to install a window air conditioner but its power cord won't reach a wall outlet, then you can use an extension cord in the short-term while you are waiting for an electrician to come out and install a new outlet closer to the appliance for its long-term use.

Safety Tip: Ensure the Extension Cord is Properly Rated for Use in the Area You Want to Use It

All extension cords are rated for use in one of the following three ways:

  1. indoor use only
  2. outdoor use only
  3. indoor/outdoor use

It is important you use the proper extension cord in each environment. For example, if you want to plug in a lamp or vacuum cleaner with an extension cord, then you should use one rated for either indoor use or indoor/outdoor use. Alternatively, if you want to use your electric drill outdoors, then you need to use an extension cord rated for outdoor use.

Safety Tip: Check Extension Cords Regularly for Damage

Finally, it is important you check your extension cords on a regular basis for any damage they may have developed. You should check to make sure the prongs are not bent and there are no cracks in the cord's rubber or plastic insulating layer. If you find any damage to the prongs or insulating layer, then you should dispose of the extension cord and purchase a replacement.