How to Choose and Use an Outdoor Extension Cord

Outdoor Extension Cord in New Braunfels, TX

Extension cords are incredibly handy when you need more distance between the device or appliance you’re using and the outlet that’s powering it. Like many homeowners in Gonzales, Texas, there may come a time when you must choose an extension cord for outdoor use. Finding one that’s both designed and rated for the outside environment is essential for ensuring your safety.

Check the Extension Cord’s Packaging

One of the easiest ways to tell whether an extension cord can be safely used outside is by checking its packaging. Only extension cords that are clearly marked with a “W” are meant for outdoor use. These cords have thicker and more durable insulation than your average indoor extension cord, which makes them virtually impervious to major temperature changes, exposure to modest amounts of moisture and direct sunlight.

Your Outdoor Extension Cord Should Have a Plug With Three Prongs

Another quick way to determine whether an extension cord is built to weather the elements is by looking for a three-pronged plug. Indoor cords usually have just two prongs. While multi-outlet extension cords, power strips, and surge suppressors for indoor use have three-pronged plugs, all outdoor extension cords have this configuration. The third plug functions as a ground wire to limit the risk of electrocution.

Use a GFCI Adapter

Choosing the right extension cord for outdoor use is only the first step in avoiding electrocution and other dangers. It’s also important to use the right outlet. If you don’t have an outdoor outlet that’s ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected, you should use a GFCI adapter. Both GFCI outlets and adapters act as circuit breakers to stop the flow of electricity whenever problems arise. For long-term extension cord use outside of the home, it is always best to have a GFCI outlet installed.

Check Your Extension Cord Before Using It

Give outdoor extension cords regular inspections. This is especially important to do after taking them out of storage. If their insulation is cracked or otherwise worn, retire and replace them. Likewise, outdoor GFCI adapters and outlets should be regularly inspected as well. Due to their outdoor location, all these things are likely to sustain far more wear than cords, adapters, and outlets that are always indoors.

If you need help choosing the right outdoor extension cord for your Gonzales, Texas home, or if you need to have a GFCI outlet installed, GVEC Electrician Services has got you covered. We offer an expansive range of professional electrician services, including whole-home surge protection, battery storage, and interior and exterior lighting installation. Call us today for a quote or to set up an appointment.