Constant Use of Extension Cords? Think Again – They're Not Recommended for One Place at All

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.19 - 2024 11:22 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
They're Not Recommended for One Place at All.

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Extension cords are only recommended for temporary use. If you find yourself using them continuously, there are a few things you need to check.

In many homes, there are too few electrical outlets or they are located in places where the cords of home appliances or electronic devices can't reach. The temptation to use extension cords on a continuous basis is significant.

However, the recommendation is that the use of extension cords should be temporary. Extension cords are associated with a much higher risk of safety hazards, such as overload and fire risks, compared to fixed wall sockets.

Continuous Use of Extension Cords Sometimes the Only Option – Check These Points

If the available outlets are not sufficient, it's advisable to install more. However, adding more outlets may not always be possible, for example, in a rental property, making the use of extension cords in a home office or near the TV often necessary. In these cases, remember a few points.

"If extension cords are in use, they should be neatly arranged so that they are not pinched, tripped over, or nudged by a vacuum cleaner," says inspector Jussi Vesti from Finnihs Tukes according to Kotelieise.

The condition of the extension cord should also be checked periodically – a damaged cord should not be used – and it should be wiped clean of dust and dirt. Therefore, it's beneficial for the extension cord to be visible or easily accessible.

Vesti does not recommend extension cords in the kitchen at all.

"Food, drinks, or kitchen tools could end up on the extension cord."

Do Not Use an Indoor Extension Cord Outdoors

Also, remember that an indoor extension cord should not be used outdoors; outdoor use should involve specific outdoor-rated extension cords.

"The cord of an indoor-rated extension cord may crack when used outside in freezing temperatures, in the worst case, exposing live wires."

The sockets and plug of an indoor extension cord are also not protected against rain, splashing water, and accumulating dirt.

Does Having an On/Off Switch on an Extension Cord Matter for Safety?

A power switch is a simple solution for saving electricity because it can turn off devices connected to the extension cord from standby mode.

Even though an on/off switch can cut the power to an extension cord, due to component-specific differences, it's not a 100% guarantee that no electricity will flow through the cord.

"A safe disconnection, for example during a thunderstorm, is achieved by unplugging the extension cord from the socket," says Jussi Vesti.

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