Countless devices in and around your Gonzales home depend on electricity to operate. Extension cords provide a convenient solution when you need to use those devices away from existing electrical outlets. Although extension cords are fairly straightforward, you do need to follow several safety rules to help prevent injury to yourself or damage to your property. Check out these tips to ensure you’re using your extension cords correctly.
Use the Correct Gauge
Extension cords come in different gauges. The gauge of an extension cord measures the size of the wires in the cord. Lower gauge numbers indicate larger wires. When a wire is larger, it can safely carry more amps of power without overheating because the larger wires offer less resistance to the electricity that’s flowing through. Make sure that the extension cord you choose for a particular task is a gauge heavy enough to safely power the device you plan to use with the cord. Otherwise, the cord could overheat and potentially cause a fire.
Avoid Prolonged Use
Extension cords are not meant for permanent use. Over time, the insulation surrounding the wires in the extension cord can wear out. If the wires become exposed, you might end up with an electrical short that can damage anything that’s plugged into the cord. With exposed wires also comes the risk of electrical shock. If you find yourself continuously needing an extension cord for more a prolonged period of time, you’ll want to call GVEC Electrician Services, so an electrician can install a permanent outlet in a more convenient location for the device you’re using.
Replace Cords When Necessary
Since extension cords don’t have any moving parts, they can last for a long time. However, don’t let convenience get in the way of you using an extension cord safely. If you notice any nicks, cuts, crimps, loose prongs or any other defects on an extension cord, it’s a good idea to replace it as soon as you can. As you stretch, pull, wrap and store an extension cord, any imperfections on its surface will likely get bigger and put you at a greater risk of electrical shock. Also, if you have older extension cords that don’t have polarized plugs, it’s important to recycle these old cords and replace them with cords that do have polarized plugs.
Avoid Rugs and Furniture
Extension cords can move a lot of power. However, it’s important to think of an extension cord the same way you do a garden hose. If you crimp a hose, less water will be able to get through, and the water pressure behind the crimp will increase. The same is true of an extension cord. If an extension cord becomes constricted because it’s under a rug or a piece of furniture, it won’t be able to safely provide the necessary amount of electricity. Furthermore, these constrictions can cause the cord to overheat to the point that it can ignite surrounding surfaces. When laying out an extension cord, try to plan a clear pathway so that you know exactly where to lay the cord.
Wrapping extension cords around your arm before you store them is a quick and easy way to finish a job requiring extension cords. However, this method of storage can damage the cord and lead to annoying tangles the next time you want to use it. Instead of wrapping the cord around your arm, hold the end of the cord in one hand and use your other hand to make loops that you place in the hand holding the end of the cord. This method creates a clean look and significantly reduces the amount of strain you’re putting on the cord while you’re wrapping it.
Taking Care of Your Electrical Needs
At GVEC Electrician Services, one of our top priorities is the safety of our customers. We provide electrical wiring, whole-home surge protection, interior and exterior lighting upgrades, electrical inspections, whole-home electrical upgrades and much more. Everything we do, we do with great care to ensure our customers and their homes are safe. This commitment and our consistent attention to detail are two big reasons why customers consistently leave us five-star reviews. It’s also why we can maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. To learn more about safely using extension cords, contact us at GVEC Electrician Services today.