7 Tips To Prevent Electrical Fire From Faulty Extension Cord

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Given the recent advent of technology, there has been a sudden surge in the number of gadgets people use. While the devices are increasing, there is a new issue emerging: keeping them charged or powered up. Some people are fortunate enough to find electrical sockets nearby to plug their gadgets, but not everyone enjoys this if power sockets are located far away or faulty. Here, the extension cord comes into the picture. It allows you to use, charge, and power the devices when the electrical socket is far away. Most people use extension cords in their homes or workspace, but they fail to realize that a faulty one can lead to accidents.

Do you use extension cords in your home? Are you wondering how you can prevent electrical fires arising from faulty cords? Keep reading to learn more about keeping electrical fires at bay.   

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What is an extension cord?

First things first, what is an extension cord? For those unaware, an extension cord is a unique cable consisting of a standard three-prong plug with two flat and one round prong in the shape of a triangle that goes into the power socket. There are numerous types of extension cords available on the market today. 

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How to prevent electrical fires from faulty extension cords?

Even though extension cords have become indispensable in most homes because of their convenience, they can be prone to faults. It may often lead to hazardous situations and even cause electrical fires. If you use extension cords and want to avoid accidents, here are seven tips you must remember:

1.       Choose the cord as per your needs:

The first thing to remember when it comes to extension cords is ascertaining your needs or usage. You can easily decide your usage pattern to choose the right cable from the three major types – occasional usage, frequent usage, and heavy usage. Besides that, the jacket or the cord’s insulation might also have letters that signify its use as per the wire inside it. For example, for heavy usage, choose a heavy-duty power cord like 240v extension cord.

2.       Avoid using a damaged cord:

The easiest way to prevent any damage from extension cords is not using a faulty one. While it is quite a simple rule, people tend to overlook it. If there is a minor fault in the extension cord, you can quickly repair it and use it again. But, if the wire breaks completely, it is safe to get a new one instead of using the old one to prevent electrical fires.  

3.       Look for GFCI protection:

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, and it is imperative when using extension cords in crawl space, basements, and outdoors because of the moisture present there. The cord can either be GFCI type or plugged into a GFCI protected socket. Some cords even have in-built GFCI protection to prevent shocks. 

4.       Make sure the cord has a three-prong plug:

When you start looking for an extension cord, you will find both options of two-prong and three-prong plugs. It is wise to opt for plugs with three-prong since it offers a safe outlet in case of a power surge to dissipate. It can bring down the chances of electrical fires. Keep in mind that you can use three-prong extension cords only with three-prong power sockets. Before you invest in a cord, make sure you have three-prong power sockets in your home.

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5.       Don’t plug one cord into another:

A common mistake that can lead to accidents is plugging one extension cord into another. While this arrangement may get you to run your appliances, it often proves risky. The circuitry might be able to handle high amperage, but the capability of each cable is limited. This setting leads to overheating along with voltage drop and sudden power surges, causing appliance failures.  

6.       Use longer and thicker extension cords:

If there is just one rule of thumb that you can adhere to in the case of extension cords, it is to use longer and thicker ones. A long and round cord will have more insulation layers that ensure durability. On the other hand, the thickness will determine the amount of power carried by it. A thicker cable will carry more power and help prevent any hazards.

7.       Avoid using nails or staples to attach:

Some extension cords come with a unique stand that allows you to hang them on the wall. If the stand isn’t available, people use nails or staples to keep them in place, which can go through the insulation to damage the cord. It can cause equipment failure or even lead to electrical fires.

Final thoughts

Extension cords are extremely helpful in delivering power exactly where you need it. However, it is essential to use them the right way to keep yourself and your space safe. Keep the above-given tips in mind while using extension cords, and you will be able to prevent electrical shocks and fires.

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