Extension cords can be a lifesaver for many of us. We all reach for them at one time or another. However, they also can be the mechanism for the delivery of a death sentence when used improperly. These helpful aides should be used wisely, monitored carefully, and disposed of quickly when necessary. Although there are many important facts to consider when using an extension cord, here are five of the top ones in our opinion:

1.       DO NOT PLUG ONE EXTENSION CORD INTO ANOTHER ONE. These cords are designed to be used in connection with a wall receptacle. Every time you add a cord, you provide a source of heat build-up, and even arcing between the two pieces which may not make good contact. Joining cords is a fire risk. Relocate the item needing power, or get a longer cord.

2.       ALWAYS INSPECT BEFORE USE. Any sign of damage is an issue. Look at the plug. Inspect the blades. They should be straight and strong. Repeated bending from being yanked out of outlets is damage, and the weakened area could overheat. Now run down the length of the cord. If you see cuts, slices, pinched spots, or frayed areas, the cord is not to be used. If the receiving end of the cord is burned or the wiring is frayed at the connection point, do not use. Find another cord and dispose of the damaged one. It isn’t worth the chance you are taking by using it. Also, never use a three-prong cord in a two-prong plug. Bypassing the ground is not safe.

3.       IF A CORD FEELS HOT, UNPLUG THE ITEMS YOU ARE POWERING, AND CHANGE YOUR PLAN. If the cord is building heat, it is overloaded or damaged. Begin by removing the items you have plugged in. Inspect the cord. If it appears undamaged, decide which item you can live without or relocate to another circuit.

4.       Most cords hold heat when covered up, but it becomes impossible to inspect. Cords are not meant to be a long-term solution, and permanent placement is not a good idea. Remember that extension cords are temporary.

5.       NEVER LEAVE AN EXTENSION CORD LYING IN WATER OR SNOW. There is a risk of electrocution any time cords are wet. Find a way to keep them dry. Run them up and over if necessary.

As with any tool or convenience, be sure that you have the proper one for the job. Adequate length and size are critical if you want to protect your loved ones from harm.

The temptations are always there to skip these warnings, especially in older homes which were built with only a few receptacles. The demand for power then was not the same as today, and we tend to compensate with extension cords. The better answer is to have new circuits added. For the most permanent solution, give us a call. We can inspect your panel for adequate sizing, add new circuits where you need them, and reduce your reliance on extension cords.

If you are in need of any residential or commercial electrical services or LED lighting in Baldwin County or Mobile, Alabama look no further than Professional Electric! Visit us online at and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! We are available 24/7 for emergency services! Mobile: (251) 473-5788 Baldwin County: (251) 929-8957 Remember, when it comes to your electrical needs, Keep It Professional!

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