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Extension Cord Usage And Safety Tips For Outside Use

It's very common to need to use extension cords outside -- such as for power tools, lawn appliances, and outside decorations. But using an extension cord outside can also be a safety hazard if it's not done correctly. Outside extension cords will be exposed to the elements, which can include water, wildlife, and other threats. Follow these safety tips to keep your home and family safe.

Always Use Outside Rated Extension Cords

Extension cords are either rated for inside or outside use. If you try to use the wrong type of extension cord, you could short out your tools and appliances. You might even create a fire hazard. If you can't find a rating on your extension cord, it's likely only for inside use.

Tie Off Your Extension Cords When Connecting Them

Sometimes you need to connect two extension cords. Before you connect them, tie a simple knot in both cords -- and connect the cords at the apex of that knot. This will form a knotted cord with the connection at the center. Knotting your cords in this way prevents them from pulling out as you work, which could result in damage.

Don't Pass Extensions Through Doorways

Passing extensions through doorways is dangerous for two reasons. Outside extension cords shouldn't be connected to inside outlets -- they may damage them. Additionally, passing cords through doorways often leads to the cords themselves being pinched and damaged. This will not only make them less effective, but it could also expose their wiring.

Never Overburden Your Extension Cords

Each cord should be rated for a certain amount of electricity. Make sure that you're not overburdening it, as this could lead to shorting out. One of the biggest mistakes people make is plugging in multiple extension cords into a single extension cable and then using all of the slots in those multiple extension cords. A single extension cord should never be running more appliances than there are slots.

Never Use a Warm Cord

If a cord is warm when it shouldn't be, it's likely there is some internal damage -- such as a live wire. This is always dangerous. When dealing with outside cords, the temperature variation can be more difficult to determine because of factors such as the sun. But you'll notice if certain areas of your cords have more or less condensation in the morning or if they seem to be giving off some heat.

Remember that electricity can be incredibly dangerous. If you find an extension cord operating strangely or find its wiring damaged and exposed, you may want to consult with a professional before trying to move it. When used properly, however, most outside extension cords will be able to operate for hours without trouble.

For more information, contact Americord Power cords or a similar company.


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