An extension cord connects the electrical cord to the outlet if the main cable is insufficient. Both the length and style of outlet plugs on extension cords vary. They come in lengths ranging from two feet to more than one hundred feet. Using the proper cord size for the task at hand is crucial. Because it reduces amperage, connecting two extension cables should be avoided. An excessively lengthy extension cord can pose a tripping risk.
What is an extension Cord?
An extension cord, power extender, drop cord, or extension lead is a length of flexible electrical power wire (flex), having one end with a plug and another with one or more sockets (usually of the same type as the plug). The phrase “adapter cord” may be used if the type of plug and power outlet differ. Despite being built up to 300 feet in length, most extension cables are between two and thirty feet long.
Here are five aspects regarding the extension cord industry that you should be aware of:
1. Types of Extension Cords
Electrical extension cables come in a variety of sizes and capacities. The required capacity of an extension cord to properly extend power is determined by two significant factors. Some of these considerations include gauge and length.
The extension cords gauge refers to the wire thickness or diameter. Today, extension cords’ most common gauge sizes are 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18. The thickness of the wire increases with decreasing gauge number. For example, if you’re trying to power your 30 amp and your power cord is probably too short, you’ll need an extension cord.
If you find yourself in this situation, use a 30 amp extension cord. A 10-gauge extension cord, on the other hand, might have a 20-amp rating and a length of up to 100 feet. The voltage drop will depend on the extension cord’s length. Voltage drops when the extension cord’s wire experiences too much electrical resistance.
2. Choosing the Right Extension Cord
You must first understand how to purchase an extension cord. Buy only cords that have been certified by a reputable testing facility. Use only extension cables designated for outdoor use for projects. For information on how to use the cord properly and how much power it consumes, see the instructions (if any are available).
Choose cords that can manage the power of the devices that utilize them. The gauge of a rope reveals its size: The size of the wire and the amount of electrical current that the cord can safely handle increase as the number decreases. Think about how much space you’ll need. Shorter cords of the same gauge can carry more current than longer ones. Pick wires with three- or polarized-prong plugs. The ideal extension cables for larger appliances are thick, rounded, low-gauge cords. You can utilize flat or thin cords for devices and smaller appliances.
3. Using Cords
Now that you’ve located a cord, let’s talk about how to use extension cords safely. The grounding pin should not be removed to make an extension cord fit a two-prong outlet. If a cord has a grounding pin, it is because it is made to withstand a higher voltage and needs the pin to avoid an electrical fire.
A single appliance should be powered via an extension cord at a time as well. Even though the appliances are tiny, any more could overwhelm the wire. Additionally, avoid connecting several extension cords.
Use a cord only as directed if it is labeled for indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor cords are more shielded from the weather. Stop using an extension cord immediately if it feels warm to the touch. The purpose of extension cords is to reduce heat accumulation (thus averting a potential fire hazard). The cord might be overloaded if it is hot to the touch.
4. Maintaining Cords
You still have safety obligations even when your extension cords are not used. There are various ways to coil an extension cable correctly, but whichever method you choose, be sure you can do it well and follow it.
Extension cables must always be unplugged and kept indoors when not in use. Keep in mind that rain and electrical lines do not mix. You risk starting a fire and facing legal action if you’re negligent. Never pull on the cord while removing a plug from an outlet; always pull on the plug. And replace a cord right away if it exhibits any indications of damage.
5. Extension Cord Safety and Other Tips
There is a risk of electrical shock when working with extension cords and corded-electric equipment. Most safety measures for extension cables at work are based on common sense and a simple concept: you want to keep your employees safe. This can be avoided by using the correct extension cord and adhering to proper safety protocols. Other safety tips include:
- Always use the proper size extension cord.
- It would help if you never used extension cords outside.
- Make sure you have the proper gauge cord.
- Use only frayed, cut, or worn cords.
- Never use a dripping extension cord.
The primary consideration when using extension cables is that they are intended to be used only temporarily. It would help if you have yet to use them for permanent wiring. Extension cords, also known as cord sets, have a male “attachment plug” at one end to plug into a receptacle and a female cord connector at the other, as everyone knows.
Also, inspect extension cords for loose parts, deformed or missing pins, damage to the outer jacket or insulation, and indications of potential internal harm (such as a punctured or crushed outer jacket).