Electrical Extension Cords, Using Guide

Electrical Extension Cords, Using Guide

Electrical extension cord necessity is endless until invented wireless electricity which is not available in the near future.

Electrical wiring is possible for some fixed devices, but every day we need some indoor or outdoor temporary power sources that meet the Electrical Extension Cord.

A power strip is a block on the end of a power cable with a number of sockets (usually 3 or more), often arranged in a line. This term is also used to refer to the whole unit of a short extension cord terminating in a power strip.


What is the Extension Cord?

An extension cord or power extender or drop cord or extension lead is a length of flexible electrical power cable with a plug on one end and one or more sockets on the other end is defined as an electrical extension cord.

You can have your television set, speakers, DVD player, and other gadgets plugged into the extension cord and use them at the same time. Most often, socket outlets only provide two holes which can plug-in only two appliances. With the use of an extension cord, you can plug several low wattage devices and provide power.


What do we consider to purchase an electrical extension cord?

Before purchase an extension cord you must need to consider some fact to get the optimized and safe performance.

Purchase only cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory.

  1. Choosing extensions cord for outdoor projects, use only extension cords marked for outdoor use;
  2. Before using, read the instructions (if available) for information about the cord's correct use and voltage/current-carrying capacity;
  3. Select cords that are rated to handle the wattage of the devices with which they'll be used;
  4. Consider the length you'll need. If no need, do not use longer cords that can't handle much current; 
  5. Consider choosing cords with polarized or three-prong plugs;


Type of application for an extension cord

Following applicational featured purpose need to choose an extension cord.

  1. General-purpose;
  2. Household;
  3. Workshop;
  4. Cold weather;
  5. Landscape; or 
  6. Residencial.

Type of using environment
Safety protection may vary in indoor or outdoor use of extension cord.
  1. Indoor use;
  2. Outdoor use; or
  3. Indoor & Outdoor use.

Length of measurement
The sufficient length of cable for an extension cord is necessary to reach until the required point. In outdoor need longer length than indoor use. The general length of electrical extension cords cable are available in the market is as below:
  1. 2ft;
  2. 3ft;
  3. 6ft;
  4. 7ft;
  5. 8ft;
  6. 9ft;
  7. 15ft;
  8. 20ft;
  9. 25ft;
  10. 50ft;
  11. 75ft;
  12. 100ft.

Wire gauge of extension cord
Wire gauge is important to carry sufficient electrical energy for a long time safely.  In this case, less is more - the lower the number, the thicker the wire. The available wire gauge is as below:
  1. 18 gauge;
  2. 16 gauge;
  3. 14 gauge;
  4. 12 gauge; & 
  5. 10 gauge.


Type of extension cord

Before purchase an electrical extension cord, the selection of the type according to the purpose of the use is important. The common type of electrical extension cord is as below:
  1. General extension cord;
  2. Lighted extension cord;
  3. Flat Plug extension cord;
  4. Locking extension cord;
  5. Lighted and locking extension cord;
  6. Foot switched extension cord.


American Standard of electrical extension cord 

In the United States, the domestic voltage is 120 V, and the National Electrical Code (NEC) prohibits the use of extension cords in a 20 A circuit unless they are of 16 AWG or larger diameter (for example, 14 AWG or 12 AWG).

Conductor
gauge/wires
Max
current
Max
length
16/213 A50 ft15 m
10 A100 ft30 m
16/313 A50 ft15 m
10 A100 ft30 m
14/315 A50 ft15 m
13 A100 ft30 m
12/315 A100 ft30 m
10/315 A100 ft30 m


Safety tips to use an electrical extension cord

An electrical extension cord is used as additional loose cable, so there is a chance to happen an electrical accident at any time. The user must be careful to avoid any incident. The common tips to use safe extension cord.
  1. Always unplug extension cords when they’re not in use;
  2. Avoid using overload extension cords or run through water or snow on the ground;
  3. Avoid substituting extension cords for permanent wiring;
  4. Avoid run through walls, doorways, ceilings or floors;
  5. Avoid using an extension cord for multiple appliances at the same time;
  6. Avoid chaining multiple extension cords, use multiple plug outlets directly into mounted electrical receptacles;
  7. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the products to be plugged in, and is marked for either indoor or outdoor use;
  8. Ensure the appliances that are using the cord have the same or lower wattage rating on it;
  9. Never use a cord that feels hot or is damaged in any way;
  10. Never cut the grounding slot or use three-prong plugs with outlets that only have two slots for the plug; 
  11. Use extension cords with polarized and/or three-prong plugs;
  12. Buy only cords approved by an independent testing laboratory.
Please keep in mind that the continuous using over time, an extension cord can rapidly deteriorate, creating a potentially dangerous electric shock or fire hazard.

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