Most of the time, we plug our appliances and devices within the comforts of our power outlets. On the other hand, there are times where power points are merely far from where we need them. In those cases, we rely on electrical extension cords.
An extension cord is the “extension” of your household’s electrical system. You use it every day, from powering holiday lights, plugging in more devices, gaming, to extending power supply for leaf blowers and power tools.
However, using extension cords frequently results in wear and tear that deteriorates its quality and exposes your family and equipment to electrical emergencies. That’s why you have to keep an eye on your extension cords and know when is the best time to replace them.
The following indicators are symptoms of a deteriorating cord. If your cable exhibits such traits, they should be discarded and replaced promptly:
The Plug is Too Loose
Many people have a terrible habit of yanking on the cord instead of properly pulling the plug. Because of this, you may realise that the plug feels loosely attached to its cable.
If so, you need to replace them and learn to remove them from the outlet by the plug. Because over time, the contact points could touch, resulting in a short circuit. Speaking of which, a shorter cord could also be a problem.
If you need to plug something from a distance and you only have a few metres of extension cords, the first thing you do is plug in more cables. However, extended cords have a reduced wattage capacity and could lead to a meltdown and short circuit.
Instead of connecting two or more cords to another, keep your home safe by buying a longer cable that’s right for the job. Additionally, a sufficient wire length also reduces the likelihood of overheating and melting down of insulation.
Warm and Hot Wires
Plugging in more appliances than an extension cord’s capacity can heat up the wires and may lead to overheating. Constant heating wears out cords more quickly and is a real safety hazard.
If you find your extension cords heating up even under low-wattage conditions, immediately replace them. Similarly, cracked insulation also pose a severe safety risk.
Just like heat, physical wear and tear can also damage a wire’s insulation. Over time, friction, foot traffic, and rolling wheels over extension cords can cause cracks, nicks, cuts, or frays on its exterior. So if you noticed its protective coating to show signs of damage, don’t try to repair it with electrical tape – it’s time to replace it.
Also, when looking for a new cord, look for safety certification stickers.
Lacks Security Certification Stickers
That extension cord you bought from a hardware’s great deals aisle may cause you severe problems in the long run. When choosing for a new or replacement cord, only buy those with UL certification stickers. A cord that lacks security certification stickers is not tested for quality standards and may pose a safety hazard.
Wrong Electrical Rating
You might use just any extension cord in operating construction and power tools. This is a dangerous practice as it could lead to overloading. Make sure you’re using a cord that has the correct rating for the appliance you’ve plugged it into. If you can’t find the wattage in the outlet, check its packaging or talk to your local hardware store.
Missing Safety Features
Using the same old extension cord you’ve had for years may be unsafe for modern electrical appliances. Newer extension cords have extra levels of security such as an RCD switch and polarised blades where one slot is larger than another, so the plug only goes one way.
If your extension cord lacks security features, you may be prone to safety risks. The safest and most practical choice is to replace them promptly.
Nailed and Stapled Cords
Some people use extension cords as a permanent wiring system by fixing them on the wall. However, nailing and stapling your cords damages them and causing another fire hazard. These cords have thinner insulation than electrical cables, so if you need electricity in areas your cords don’t reach, seek for a qualified level 2 electrician to have them install a new powerpoint.
Extension cords are inarguably vital in every household electrical system as we need it to extend power to unreachable spots. That’s why you have to keep it in check and replace it whenever adverse symptoms show up. But if you want to add wall outlets to your room and living spaces, Gordon Powers will gladly help you through it.
At Gordon Powers, we know how essential your wiring system is for your household. Contact our friendly staff at (02) 9199 7480 if you require any electrical services in Sydney. We are available 24/7 to conveniently improve your electrical system swiftly and safely.