Using Extension Cords Safely – Advice from Los Angeles Electricians
Extension cords are a brilliant invention. They allow us to use all sorts of small appliances and tools where we need them. But they also carry certain risks and pose dangers for you and your family. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has estimated that around 4,000 injuries a year which require attendance at a hospital emergency room are caused by extension cords. About half of those result from people tripping over the cords and the other half are caused by shocks and burns. Many of these accidents involve young children. Below is advice from “Los Angeles Electricians” on how to use extension cords safely.
Not a Permanent Solution
The first thing to remember is that extension cords are only intended for temporary use. If you are using extension cords on a permanent basis then you should call in an electrician to relocate your outlets or increase their number. Too many trailing wires can easily become a tripping hazard, plus you run the risk of overloading the circuit.
The Right Cord for the Right Job
Make sure you have a cord that is suitable for the job in hand. If you want to use power tools or other electrical equipment in your yard, you must have a cord rated for outdoor use. These are made to tolerate the sunlight, moisture and rapid temperature change to which they may be exposed. Of course, as it is more durable, you can use an outdoor rated cord inside.
Check that the wattage rating of the cord is adequate. Appliances and tools, for example, are marked with the wattage they consume. Overloading an extension cord by running an appliance which is trying to draw more current than the cord can handle will damage the cord and may lead to a fire.
When looking to purchase an extension cord, choose one that is listed by one of the recognized testing laboratories such as UL or MET to ensure that it is a safe product. It is worth paying a few extra dollars for peace of mind.
Cord in Good Condition
before use, always check an extension cord for any signs of damage. Look for any cracks in the plastic covering, particularly where the cord enters the plug, as this is often a pressure point. Check that the blades on the plug have not worked loose. Do not use a cord that is damaged in any way.
Placing the cord
Consider the placement of the cord so that nobody will trip over it. You may think that running it under a mat or a carpet would be a good idea, but you would be wrong. Stepping on the cord or resting furniture on it can easily lead to the casing becoming cracked or damaged and create a fire risk.
Do not use nails or staples to fix a cord to any surface such as a baseboard as this is likely to damage the insulating casing and create a shock hazard. Select a cord that is the right length for the job in hand. Do not use a cord when it is in a coil.
Remember to unplug the extension cord when you have finished. Serious injuries have been caused to young children who have placed the outlet at the end of a cord into their mouths. Store the cord safely without creating kinks so it will be ready for the next time you need it.
If you take these sensible precautions then you will be able to use your extension cords safely. If you need to have additional outlets installed in your home to reduce your use of extension cords, then call a firm Los Angeles Electricians to undertake this work for you at the earliest opportunity.