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Choosing the right extension cord for the job

Posted by Simon Caddy Electrical on 1 December 2017
Choosing the right extension cord for the job

When your nearest power point is just too far away for the power cord, an extension cord comes to the rescue.

However, depending on the device you're using, its proper operation can be affected by the type of extension cord you use.

Extension cords deliver power virtually wherever it's needed, but that doesn't necessarily mean that longer is better.

The longer an extension cord is, the lower the delivered voltage.

This not only means you lose electrical efficiency by the meter, it could mean your desired appliance doesn't even receive the voltage it needs to run properly or safely.

As a rule of thumb, choosing the appropriate extension cord is choosing the shortest possible cord for the job at hand.

This not only conserves energy, it may allow for the use of lighter-duty cords.

Shorter length cords is but one factor.

You also need to match the gauge of the cord to the power of the appliance on the other end.

Appliances and devices have amperage ratings, which can usually be found printed on a tag or plate on the device itself.

Extension cords are likewise categorized by gauge, with lower gauges corresponding to more heavy-duty appliances that have higher amperage ratings.

Where will you be using the extension cord?

There are other factors other than length and gauge when choosing the right extension cord to use, and among the most important is whether an extension cord is rated for outdoor use.

If an extension cord not rated for outside, then it can overheat and potentially causing a fire.

Outdoor use ratings are noted on the packaging for new extension cords.

Higher-end extension cords can also come with helpful features, such as indicator lights that show whether there's power flowing through the cord.

This can be important when using extension cords to power things that could potentially be dangerous, such as power tools.

Other extension cords may have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) features, which help prevent accidental electrical shock, or connection boxes, which help prevent cords from accidentally becoming unplugged from their devices.

Safety

Regardless of what type of cord you choose, there are basic safety precautions you should always observe.

Businesses should always have their leads tested and tagged by a licensed professional (OHS).

Never chain multiple extension cords together.

Always upgrade to a longer cord if you need more length.

And before using an extension cord, check it thoroughly for damage.

Discard it if there are tears in the protective insulation.

It's also important to be mindful of where every length of your cord lies.

Don't run them across walkways where they could present a tripping hazard.

And avoid running them under carpet, through doorways or anywhere where they could be damaged by traffic, friction or pinching.

Don't leave electrical safety to chance Contact Simon Caddy Electrical today by calling 0400 110081 for a no obligation consultation.

We are an electrical business specialising in general electrical, data, communications TV antennas and much more - we service the Upper North Shore area including Berowra, Hornsby, Wahroonga, Pymble, Turramurra, Killara, Lindfield, Roseville, Chatswood, Gordon and down to North Sydney.

Author: Simon Caddy Electrical
About: Simon Caddy Electrical is an experienced and qualified electrical company providing a wide range of services, including 24 hour, 7 day a week emergency response. Operating out of Hornsby we cover Sydney's North Shore, Northern Suburbs, Northern Beaches and parts of the Central Coast. We provide a vast range of electrical services to commercial, industrial and domestic clients in accordance with all relevant Australian standards.
Tags: Electrical Safety Electrical Services

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