3 Ways to Use Extension Cords Safely

A simple and convenient way to connect your electrical devices to a power source is through extension cords. They allow you to bring power to your electrical tools, irrespective of their location or distance from the power source. These products are of different types and specifications; some are designed for outdoor use, while others are only suitable for indoor. Therefore, you must consider this when buying one. 

As harmless as they look, they can cause a fire hazard or pose risks to users’ safety if they are not handled properly. So, you need to handle your extension cord with care and follow some essential safety tips, whether you are using the device indoors or outdoors.  


Safety precaution not only applies to the use of the device; it starts at the point of purchase.  In other words, your efforts towards preventing fire accidents or other hazards associated with safety use begin at the time of purchase. This means that you should make the right selection in terms of specification, cord length, etc.  

Tips for Selecting the Right Extension Cord 

You don’t just pay for an extension that catches your attention; you need to consider several factors. This will help you choose a perfect cord and prevent shock, injuries, fire accident, or any other hazard associated with this device.  The tips below will help you select the right cable when you need one for indoor or outdoor use.  


  • Check the Wattage 

Before making your buying decision, you must check your cord’s wattage if it can handle your electrical appliance or machines.  Apart from the 30 amp extension cord, there are several other specifications that you can select based on the load you intend to connect to it.  Furthermore, the gauge will give you an idea of its size.  The gauge number decreases as the wire’s strength increases, which means that a cord with a smaller gauge number can safely handle more current.    

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  • Choose the appropriate length.

When selecting the length of the cord you need, bear in mind that the shorter ones can handle more current than the longer ones having the same gauge.  


  • Buy only approved cords.

Another factor that you must consider before buying a cord is approval from an independent testing lab.  If the wire does not have this approval, you should not go ahead with the purchase.  You must endeavor to check this out for safety concerns whenever you buy an extension cord.  


  • Select the appropriate cord for an outdoor project

If you are looking to buy an extension for an outdoor project or industrial use, buy the marked products for that purpose. Buying a high-gauge or low capacity wire for such purposes might lead to fire hazard, shock, or even electrocution.   

So, you should get thick, low-gauge cord for heavy-duty machines. On the other hand, flat and thin cables are ideal for smaller electronics and appliances.


  • Read and understand the information about the extension cord.

Some cords come with information that guides users on how to use the product safely.  If such information is available, you should spend time to read it as you will learn more about the correct use of the wire and its power rating. 


How to Use Extension Cords Safely?

Electrical extension cords are commonly used in homes, offices, industrial sites, among others. It is worth noting that the cord’s proper usage is essential, as it forms an integral component of home and industrial electrical safety.  

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Furthermore, the TDI/DWC has provided the do’s and don’ts for safety when handling electrical cords. Following the instruction will enable you to prevent fire hazards or any mishap that might occur due to the inappropriate use of extension cords.  

Apart from ensuring your safety and protecting your appliances, proper use of an extension will elongate its useful life, giving you a good value for your money.  The three tips below will guide you on the appropriate use of your extension cord:


  • Ensure that the Cords are not Covered 

The heat will not escape if you cover your extension, which could lead to fire hazards. During usage, the cords may get hot, and there is a need for the flow of air around it.  Covering the wire will prevent the heat from escaping and result in a fire when the heat becomes excessive.  

  • Keep the Cords away from water.

If you are using a cord outdoors, ensure that it does not have any contact with water to prevent electric shock.  Water is an excellent electrical conductor; so, it can increase the risk of electric shock when in contact with a cord.  

  • Do not Overload the Cord and Unplug it when not in use.

Overloading your cord with many power tools or appliances might cause it to heat up and result in a fire. Ensure that the total wattage of all the devices you connect with the cord is not more than its load requirement.


Bear in mind that extension cords are meant to be temporary wiring solutions in the homes or workplaces.  You should try as much as possible to upgrade your wiring system if you are using them permanently.  

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