Electrical outlets in different homes differ, making the needs of one home different from another. Some homes may have electrical outlets that do not satisfy their electrical needs and thus the need for an extension. Each apartment has various appliances, which create insufficiency in the outlets.
With an essential extension of power cords, it would be easier to accomplish your daily functions. The need to keep on unplugging different appliances such as the toaster after use to plug in the refrigerator back can be cumbersome and hectic, especially with kids around. It creates enormous risks when using different equipment on an extension cord.
Here are some tips to help you choose a safe power cord and extension cord for your new house:
1. Choose the right wire gauge
When purchasing an extension cord, it is fundamental to know for what purpose you are buying it. If the extension code is for use frequently, the wire gauge may differ from the one that is for use rarely. Besides, intensive electrical appliances require heavy duty wire gauges. Wire gauge refers to the thickness or diameter of your wire. It determines the amount of current that the cable can carry without melting or burning.
A light extension cord is for use with very light electrical appliances such as lamps and other lighting items that do not generate much heat. They are two-prong plugs type of extensions and lack the grounding wire.
Medium cords are three plug prong cords with the grounding wire. These are essential for the electrical appliance that needs a little more electrical energy than lamps. These include television sets and even your favorite radios and computers.
Heavy-duty extension cords are essential for appliances that generate extra heat in their functionality, such as toasters, refrigerators, fans, among others. If your device requires ten amps and above for it to operate, then you should purchase a heavy-duty extension cord.
Remember, if an extension cord has a large number for its gauge, then it is a light extension cord as its electrical current carriage is lower. If it has a small gauge number, then it is heavy-duty, and it requires more electrical current.
2. Select the right indoor or outdoor cords
Know the right environment in which to use the different extension cords in the market. If planning an outdoor party on a hot afternoon, the extension cord needs will be different than planning a cocktail party indoors. The various environmental factors may impact the extension cord, making it unsafe for use. It may overheat and melt due to intense sunshine or break and cause an electrical shock.
Therefore, it is essential to understand and identify the frequency of use for different extension cords. If aiming to use it on a rare occasion, then get a light extension cord for bright appliances. If it is for frequent use e.g., non-stop, then get a medium duty extension cord. If you are to perform other activities at home, such as using chainsaws and air compressors, among others, you might have to consider having a heavy-duty cord. It can take that kind of electricity without causing an outage.
3. Color code different extension cords for use by others
At home, children are there, friends, families members and pets. Therefore, ensuring their overall safety is of the utmost importance to any person. Since they may decide to use extension cords in your absence, it is essential to color them.
For instance, green may stand for light-duty power cords, yellow for the medium-duty, and red for heavy-duty. Ensure that you explain their uses to anyone in the house using electricity and require an extension. That way, it will reduce confusion as to which one is the right cord. Besides, it will reduce the possibility of accidents from using the wrong extension cords.
4. Learn to read different letter signs for possible cord usage
Each extension cord has a unique letter engraved in its outer coat. The letter indicates the uses of that specific cord. It prevents misuse of the extension cord, which can be dangerous. By reviewing the letters, it makes sure that you purchase the right cable that will suit your home needs. These letters include:
- S for general or overall use (multipurpose).
- W is for outdoor applications and use.
- J is for heavy-duty applications.
- P is for parallel electrical use such as in air conditioners.
- T stands for thermoplastic vinyl i.e., wire topcoat material.
- E stands for thermoplastic elastomer which is a rubber material for the top jacket.
- K shows the wire is resistant to oil
5. Understand that not all items use extensions
Sometimes, what you need is not an extension cord for your house. You need more power outlets for your devices. You may think that every electrical appliance causes an extension cord. However, many of the home appliances require their outlets for proper functionality.
You may be wondering why that is the case? Well, some appliances require massive wattage to work correctly. Extension cords may have the indications that they can take the current. However, after use or while in use, they retain too much heat due to the resistance. They melt or burn and start an electrical fire that is lethal, especially in a household with children.
Therefore, use extension cords where you are sure that it will not cause an accident. However, if you have hairdryers in the house, toasters, irons, or a treadmill for your morning workout routine, consider getting them power outlets and no extension cords.
Finding the right extension cord means that your family and neighborhood are safe. Also, even with the above tips, it is essential to know how to plug in the different appliances. Choose the right gauge, understand your appliance needs, and keep your family safe from electrical shock.