Extension cords are essential for everyday use around the house or office. They help us bring power to places where switches should not reach. However, the improper use of extension cords can be hazardous. Learning how to utilize an extension cord properly is the secret to enjoying this cord’s benefits and prolonging its lifespan. Below are essential tips on using an extension cord properly and avoiding making mistakes that could threaten your safety.
Always Check the Cord’s Safety
An extension cord can loosen or develop faults if not used for long. If you have flat cord power strip stored somewhere in storage, say in a shed, you should always test it before using it. It is possible that it could have developed serious faults that have compromised its integrity and safety. You never know if rodents have interfered with the wires by chewing on the cord or if something else could have caused serious damage that causes the cord to be a risk
Before plugging it into a power source, observe its physical appearance and note any differences. You aim to determine if the insulation is in good condition from end to end. If there are any signs of compromise, you have to think about replacing it or having someone with electric knowledge confirm further that it has not been compromised to levels that affect its safe usage. You also need to verify whether the plug and the contact are still intact and earthed? To do this, you should consider using a rubber model that comes with a reinforced sealing (IP value 44).
Finally, you also need to check if the cord’s connection to the plug is as it should be or in a good state. Also, confirm that the contact has a cable clamp. When all these specifics check out, it is safe to use the cord without worrying, even if it was in storage for years.
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How to Connect 2 Cords
Mishaps occur during such scenarios. You should understand how to properly connect two cords if one does not get to where you want to use power. Loosely tie the cords together before joining them.
Alternatively, please make use of a watertight connector that envelops the connection, blocking the cords so that they cannot come apart. Find these connectors at a DIY electric shop.
How to Handle Coiled Cords
If your extension cord happens to be coiled around a reel for easier storage, make sure to unwind it completely before plugging it into a power source. This guarantees safety as it confirms that the cord is in perfect condition and not broken at an unseen location that has been wound up. Also, it will prevent any fusing from occurring since the winding of the cords causes overheating that triggers fusing due to electromagnetic induction.
Using Electric Cords with Appliances
It is advisable not to use extension cords with large appliances. For this, plug directly into the socket. The goal is not to overload the extension cord, as this can have adverse effects and compromise the safety of your appliance.
A rule of thumb is never to use one cord to connect multiple devices. This is the fastest way to overload a cord, jeopardize its safety and put you at risk. Always check the total load of the appliances and ensure that it does not exceed the maximum load allowed for the extension cord you are using.
When you ensure that everything rhymes or matches, you are assured of safe use of the appliances and extension cords. You could also go for reels with protection devices and multiple sockets. This is a safer way to get power to areas away from the source. You can even go further and check the capacity of the cord to be sure everything works as expected.
For instance, an extension cord with a diameter of 2.5 m², rated 16 Ampère (A), will be better than a cord of 1.5 m², rated at 10 A. Always check the markings because they make a huge difference when deciding what to buy for your home needs.
What Happens When it Rains
A suitable cord can withstand rain without being compromised. However, this is not your cue to leave the plug and contact in the rains or wet ground. If you must leave it outdoors, make sure to use a watertight connector that guarantees no water entry. The last thing you want is your cord to come back compromised because you neglected it.
Safe Use of Cords Outdoors
If you must use the cord outdoors, especially in a busy area, you have to develop strategies that will ensure nothing happens to the cord. For instance, you need to watch out for drivers who drive over the cord and cause serious internal damage.
To avoid such cases, especially if you cannot stop it, build a protective bridge by placing a plank on either side of the cord. Choose a plank that is thicker than the cord itself for maximum protection. The improvised bridge prevents the installation from flattening and bursting when vehicles pass over the cord. This will save your cord and protect you and the appliances from any unforeseen accidents.
Quick Tips on Choosing, Using, and Storing Electric cords
Now that you know how to use the electric cords safely in most scenarios, these quick tips will give you an upper hand when choosing, using, and storing the cords.
- Only buy cords from approved laboratories and stockists. You do not have to know much about electric cords, but where you buy matters. Reliable manufacturers and suppliers will ensure all quality standards are met, thus sparing you the headache.
- Use the cords appropriately. For instance, only use outdoor cords for outdoor projects
- Choose cords based on the intended use. Go for cords that are rated to match your intended use.
- Mind how you use multiple cords as they should never be plugged simultaneously.
- Avoid running extension cords under furniture and rugs
- Discontinue the use of cords that are too hot to touch
- Store your extension cords indoors always
- Discard all damaged extension cords and resist the temptation of repairing them
There are a lot of ways to use electric cords safely. Just be sure to observe basic use rules and avoid any situation that could jeopardize the safety of your appliances and the people around you.