Extension cords are a convenient way to extend power to electrical devices. Used without proper caution, however, they can become a fire hazard and pose a risk to your personal safety. Use these tips to help keep your household safe:

Selecting Extension Cords

  •     Purchase cords approved by an independent testing laboratory. Read the device’s instruction manual for information about its use and the amount of power it draws when running.
  •     For outside projects, use extension cords marked for outdoor use.
  •     Select extension cords rated to handle the wattage drawn by the device. A cord’s gauge indicates its size: The smaller the gauge, the larger the wire and the more electrical current the cord can safely handle.
  •     Consider the length of the extension cord you’ll need. Longer cords carry less electrical current than shorter cords of the same gauge.
  •     Select cords with polarized or three-prong plugs.
  •     To power larger appliances, select thick, round, low-gauge extension cords. For smaller appliances and electronics, choose thin, sometimes flat cords.

Extension Cord Don’ts:

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  •     Don’t remove the grounding pin to retrofit an extension cord for a two-prong outlet.
  •     Don’t power multiple devices with one cord.
  •     Don’t use indoor extension cords outdoors.
  •     Don’t plug multiple extension cords together.
  •     Don’t run extension cords under rugs or furniture.
  •     Don’t tape extension cords to floors or attach cords to surfaces with staples or nails.
  •     Don’t bend or coil extension cords when in use.
  •     Don’t use extension cords that feel hot to the touch.

Caring for Extension Cords

  •     Cover unused extension cord receptacles with childproof plugs.
  •     Store cords indoors.
  •     Unplug extension cords when not in use.
  •     Throw away damaged extension cords.
  •     Pull the plug—not the cord—to disconnect from an outlet.

Extension cords are temporary wiring solutions. If you’re using extension cords for permanent power, consider updating your home’s electrical system.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss-control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.

Arlette Cascella, a second generation State Farm Agent, has served the New Providence/Berkeley Heights area since 1997, and has clients throughout the state.
Arlette’s office is located at 1625 Springfield Avenue in New Providence.  Her phone is 908-665-1030.  Visit Arlette online at www.arletteagent.com