Use extension cords only temporarily, and never with space heaters or air conditioners. Always plug these appliances directly in the wall outlet and keep them three feet from anything that can catch fire.
With all our gadgets and appliances, it seems there are never enough outlets so we get out the extension cords.Yet, improper use of extension cords is a common cause of home fires. A recent tragic fire in Milton started where an extension cord and space heater were connected.
Here are seven tips to keep you and your family safe:
Get an approved cord. When purchasing an extension cord, be sure a nationally recognized laboratory properly certifies it. Some of these include Underwriters Laboratories (UL), ETL-SEMKO (ETL) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
Check that the “load” is suitable for your needs. Demanding too much power from an extension cord risks overheating and fire. Be sure to read all packaging and instructions carefully.
Be careful where you put them. Do not place cords under furniture or rugs, and do not use them in close proximity to flammable material and accelerants such as gasoline. Heat from the cord is not able to escape, which could cause a flame to spark and ignite nearby items.
Don’t daisy chain. Do not plug extension cords into other extension cords. They should not be used this way and doing so, creates a fire risk.
Inspect cords for damage or deterioration to the insulation before use. If a cord is damaged in any way, do not use it. Plugging a damaged extension cord into the electrical system of your home risks the lives of yourself and your loved ones.
Never pull on the cord to unplug an extension cord from the wall socket, since this can cause internal and external damage to the wiring, compromising its structural integrity.