Home Improvement

3 Ways To Use Electrical Extension Cords Properly

The most popular, useful, and convenient method to run electrical power to a machine, instrument, or equipment that cannot reach an electrical point is through an extension cord. These extremely common, protected, and plastic equipment are available in nearly any miscellaneous merchandising store, hardware, or home supply shops. The extension cord contains an opening for connection, a plug, and a length of stretchy shielded cabling, used in many households, industries, manufacturing units, and building facilities.


While offering a huge advantage in supplying electricity to wherever required, the popular extension cord is one of the most neglected and overused gadgets in any place. They are often used to supply current greater than their capacity in settings beyond their intention. Below are a few ways to use these electrical appliances properly:


Select the right kind of cord for the job

Using a cord smaller than the needed size can result in an overloading of power. Even using a cable not graded for the atmosphere or specific purposes can prove to be a big blunder. The above conditions can lead to overcapacity where cables can heat the socket. The insulation either liquefies or carbonizes, generating a fire, spark, burn smoke, or shock hazard.

Extension cords are esteemed in diverse methods. The first is the usability of the cord. According to the usage, you should buy hard or extra-hard cable. Hard-service cables are easily available and usually marked as S, SE, SO, ST.


On the other hand, light burden cords, also known as ungrounded flat-wire cords, are not fit for construction works. They do not deliver similar scrape and electrical shields for manufacturing units and commercial locales as double-insulated heavy-duty cables do. Light duty cords cannot power numerous items simultaneously. For instance, water heaters, room heaters, toasters, microwaves, iron, and even hair dryers have high-energy requirements—gadgets with external metal planes need to be grounded.


When purchasing extension cords, make sure the cords are certified by a nationally recognized authority, such as a 12/3 extension cord. Always read the producer’s guidelines cautiously. They guarantee whether the cord will meet your essential needs.

Choose extension cords carefully based on the electrical current essential to carry (amperage or amps) apart from the cable’s size. Consuming a low amp rated cord for an application demanding a higher power will lead the cable to heat. The current-carrying capability of extension cords depends on the diameter of the cord and the length. Wire diameter and the number of amps it can transmit rises with a reduction in gauge number.

Guard the cables and those that may touch them

Cord insulation included during manufacturing, especially in the light-duty two-wire cables, gets damaged very easily. The most common cause is getting pinched between door hinges, window hinges, tables of chairs and floorboards or walls, or by being crumpled or scraped by foot, uncovering the live wires. It can generate a fire and electric shock danger. The impairment may not be easily noticeable. If the insulated metal wires are spoiled, like by the cable being creased in a door, it can form a blistering spot creating a fire threat. Likewise, insulation of cables placed nearby to heating machines may also be impaired, melting, or sweltering it away.

Inspect and replace

Damaged, worn, or broken cords should be distanced from usage and demolished to avoid re-use. Instead, substitute the spoiled cable with a new one. A few of the defects that you can look for are:

  • Distorted or lost pins
  • Misplaced grounding bits
  • Destruction to insulation
  • Unfastened plug or receptacle tops
  • Damaged plug head

Due to their high usage and significant misuse, extension cables must be visually examined for damage before use every time.

Confirm the cord’s correct type and length according to the usage, surroundings, and power strains. Look at the outer jacket and string ends. If they feel hot or even warm, directly cease to use that extension cable. It may specify overcapacity or internal destruction. Extension cords provide a suitable way to transmit electrical power as desired. These valued and popular gadgets are also subject to overuse and mistreatment, causing adverse outcomes.


Tips to keep cords properly

  • At all times, store cords in the house where there is no water seepage.
  • Unplug extension cables when you are not using it.
  • Dispose of broken extension cables properly.
  • Always pull the plug first after switching off the electric switch. Pulling the cable when disconnecting from the outlet leads to internal breakage.



People usually do not put in much thought while buying an extension cord. They tend to use it wherever needed without proper examination, like grabbing an old cord from last year’s Christmas junk closet and using it to toast bread. It can turn into a quick mishap if not analyzed before usage. Hence, think twice, and you will possibly remember times you used a cable with twists, damages, or even broken wires.


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