Household Extension Cords Can Cause Fires
- Choose the right extension cord for the job, and use it as specified. Extension cords can overheat
- and cause fires when used improperly. Overheating is usually caused by overloading or
- connecting appliances that consume more watts than the cord can handle. Damaged extension
- cords can also cause fires. Extension cords should only be used temporarily. Protect young
- children by keeping them away from extension cords and unplugging the cords when not in use.
Overheating or Damage
- Overheating can occur at the plug, at the socket, or over the entire length of the cord.
- Hot plugs and sockets are often caused by deteriorated connections to the cord’s wires.
- Look for visible signs of excessive wear or damage to the plug, sockets or insulation.
- Replace damaged extension cords.
- If any part of the extension cord is hot while in use, it is a warning sign that it may be
- overloaded. Check if the extension cord is properly rated for the products that are plugged
- into it. Also, inspect the cord along its entire length to ensure it has not been damaged.
- Do not overload your extension cord by using it to power appliances beyond its capacity.
- You can check its capacity, or rating, by looking at the tag on the cord or its packaging.
Protect Extension Cords from Damage
- Do not run extension cords under carpets, through doorways or under furniture.
- Only use an extension cord outdoors if it is marked for outdoor use.
- Never alter a cord to change its length or perform inadequate repairs such as taping up
- damaged insulation. Do not trim, cut or alter the plug blades in any way.
- Unplug an extension cord when it is not in use. The cord is energized when it is plugged in
- and can overheat if shorted.
Discard Older Extension Cords
- Discard cords that are old and/or are
- missing important safety features,
- including safety closures, polarized
- blades and a large plug face that covers
- the outlet’s slots and is easy to grasp to
- Extension cords should be at least 16 AWG, unless they are 18 AWG with fuse protection.
- AWG refers to the size of the wires in the cord. The wire size is imprinted on the cord’s
Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission www.cpsc.gov