If you depend on extension cords to power appliances for long periods of time, you may want to consider having a new electrical outlet installed nearby. Although they may seem perfectly safe, extension cords can pose several safety hazards.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly 3,300 residential fires are attributed to extension cords each year. It is recommended that you use extension cords “only when necessary and only on a temporary basis”. The permanent use of extension cords may violate many building codes for homes and offices.
Why Are Extension Cords Hazardous?
One of the primary dangers in using extension cords is the fact that they are always in your way, and may cause you to trip. Repetitively walking over them can also cause excessive damage and wear. If the cord is used outside, exposure to the sun can also cause wear and tear to your extension cords.
Damaged cords are dangerous because they can lead to a short circuit. This can cause your electrical system to overheat, and possibly starting a fire. This danger is amplified when the cord is run underneath a rug. Extension cords placed underneath rugs are most frequently walked on, and damage to the cord remains hidden; the rug creates additional fire danger.
If you are using an extension cord with multiple outlets, you are running the risk of overloading the circuit. When your circuit becomes overloaded, it can overheat and lead to other issues.
How Do I Fix It?
One of the easiest ways to prevent short circuits is to use a power strip rather than an extension cord. It is important to use a power strip with a built in circuit breaker. This will help to mitigate the dangers of damaged wiring, overloading, or short circuits. The circuit breaker will shut power off to the strip if any of these are detected.
Although power strips are an improvement from extension cords, they may still present a tripping hazard. It is also possible for the internal circuit breaker to wear down without warning. The safest solution to this problem is to have an electrician add a new outlet in the area you need power. If you have any questions about this or would like for us to help you install a new outlet in your home, please don’t hesitate to call us today for a free estimate.