What Kind of Extension Do You need for Every Electronic Item in Your Home?
Many people are not lucky to have an electrical outlet in an exact place where they need it. Thus, the need for extension cords in your home or office. Do you know how dangerous it may be to use the wrong type of extension cord?
Improper size can lead to accidents or even death. Primarily, an extension cord is made up of insulated electrical wires that have a plug on every end. The electrical current flow through wires produces heat. If too much current passes through the wires, they may overheat and melt the plastic insulated wires resulting in short circuits and fires. It is crucial to understand your cord needs to choose the right size for your purpose.
What you need to know when looking for the correct extension cord
Extension cords provide you with a means of extending your home’s electrical circuits, especially when your electrical appliance has a short cord to reach the location you need. People have various extension cords they keep for this reason.
What most people don’t consider is that extension cords must be of a suitable size. Here is what you need to consider for the right cable. Extension cord ratings – this depends on the wattage the cord can handle and amperage it can carry safely. Extension cords with 16-gauge wire are fit for simple items like radios, lamps, and TVs.
Heavy-duty and light-duty extension cords
Extension cords come in various distinct kinds and capacities. The length and gauge are the key things to consider. The gauge of an extension cord is the diameter/thickness of the cord’s wire. Several extension cords come in 10-18 sizes. Small-sized gauges have thick wires such as a 10-gauge electrical extension gauge can have up to 20 amps and up to 100 feet in length while 18-gauge cord has up to 5-7 amps and 25 feet in length. Lower gauge wires permit much more current to pass via the extension cord. Thus, they are the best suitable for larger electrical items and tools like air conditioners.
A light-duty 220v extension cord is suitable for small electrical items like clocks and lamps. These extensions cords range from 16-18 gauge with up to 50 feet in length. Heavy-duty cords are fit for large electrical devices that require more power to function. These cords range from 10-14 gauge and 100 feet in length. Having the right extension cord and safe length help prevent electrical fire perils in your office or home.
Grounded and ungrounded extension cords
The most common glaring distinction that you will notice the moment you see various extension cords is the 2 or 3 prongs. The third prong is the ground connection that offers a return trail for surplus electrical current to avert destruction to your electrical device. It also prevents electrical shock in the case of a short circuit.
Light-duty electrical extension cords have only two prongs (ungrounded extension cords). You can use safely these kinds of cords with electronic devices that do not use a lot of power, such as clocks, fans, and lamps. Nevertheless, you will plug your appliance into a grounded (three-pronged) extension cord if its plug is three-pronged.
Plugging a device having a two-pronged plug into a three-pronged extension cord without any problem. However, avoid plugging a three-pronged plug device into an ungrounded extension cord. It is because devices having ground prongs are high-powered, and you should not plug into a light-duty electrical extension cord. The grounded cords are fit for larger appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners.
Indoor and outdoor extension cords
Depending on the cords’ designs, you can use it for outdoor or indoor purposes. You may not differentiate an indoor or outdoor extension cord by just looking at it. However, the insulation which the extension electrical cord uses brings the difference.
The indoor light-duty electrical extension cords have little insulation. You cannot use them outdoor because they will deteriorate fast due to corrosive outdoor elements. Outdoor cords have better insulation so that they can withstand elements like freezing winter or hot sun without resulting in any problems.
Most of the outdoor cords do not offer a water-tight seal around the plug since it is challenging to achieve that. Thus, it is prudent for you to be careful when using the cord around wet places or areas. As well, elevate the plug if there is standing water on the site. You can cover the connection in plastic to stop rainwater from reaching inside.
Fortunately, manufacturers have the above needs in place. You can ask if the cord is suitable for indoor or outdoor from the store or website you buy from. Make sure to understand if the cord is a heavy-duty or light-duty. The light-duty is for light electrical items like lamps, and the heavy-duty cords are for large appliances like microwaves, TVs, freezers, photocopiers, and ovens.
The several kinds of extension cords help you organize your home or office as you wish. You must make sure to use the right cord for your safety and to prevent the appliance from damage. Repair or discard extension cords that show signs of wear, they have cuts or those missing ground connections. Have a routine of examining the plug ends on extension cords to look for any damage. Replace cords with exposed wires as they can lead to electrical shock.