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5 Tips On Choosing The Right Extension Cord

We are all aware that our lives revolve around several electrical appliances from beginning our day to ending it. Whether it's the phone and laptop chargers that help recharge our' most essential devices', or a chain saw that serves its purpose occasionally, we rely on those appliances regularly.

With such technological advancements and an increase in the number of electrical appliances that we own, it's hard to find power outlets within reach, to power them all. Extension cords are the instant solution in such a situation. You can use them to power anything from a simple hairdryer to a home office.

However, be careful while choosing the right extension cord to avoid any fire and electrical shock hazards at home or office. It can seem overwhelming to pick the right one, as extension cords come in a diverse variety, suitable for various electrical appliances, though all of them serve the same purpose.

If you're wondering how to choose the apt extension cord for your home or office, then go through the tips mentioned further, so you can have a clear understanding of extension cords.

5 Tips On Choosing The Right Extension Cord
5 Tips On Choosing The Right Extension Cord

1. Cords That Are Thicker Carry More Power

The first and foremost thing you need to understand is the length and thickness of the extension cords before picking one. Usually, the gauge is the measure to denote the thickness of an extension cord in the U.S.You must have noticed 14 gauge or 10 gauge written on the box of an extension cord during a visit to a hardware store earlier. It's essential to understand, what that means though.

A rule of thumb, when it comes to the thickness of extension cords is that thicker cords carry more power fit for heavy electrical appliances and thinner cords carry less power. So based on your requirement, choose the thickness of the extension cord. Any extension cord will be able to power primary electrical appliances such as phone, laptop chargers, and headlamps. However, to power heavy electrical appliances such as drills and saw, choose an extension cord that has more power.

2. Pick Cords That Can Handle At Least 15 Amps Of Power

It could be tricky to understand the relation between the length and thickness while choosing an extension cord.If you seem to face such a confusion yourself, then it’s better to rely on the amperage rating while choosing an extension cord.The standard amperage rating for residential voltage in the U.S is 125 or 130 V.So, look for an extension cord with an amperage rating of 15 A (125 V) for household electrical appliances.

In case you require an extension cord for both indoor and outdoor electrical appliances, then it’s better to evade choosing cords with 10 A or 13 A.Also, if you stumble upon an extension cord that does not mention the amperage rating, it’s better to avoid purchasing it entirely as that can jeopardise your safety.

3. Pick Longer Cords Than Required

Another aspect to consider while choosing an extension cord is its length. Always go for an extension cord that is longer than needed. It not only allows room for any error by providing additional length but is also safe and secure. For instance, you might connect smaller wires to reach the desired power outlet. That might seem convenient but is not a safe practice at all. When extension cords connected together, it causes a resistance between the power outlet and the appliance plugged in.

Additional resistance further drops the voltage, causing any heavy appliances such as drills and vacuums to run at a relatively lower power. That's not all if the resistance between the power outlet and the electrical appliance keeps building up, then it might also result in a fire or melt one of the extension cords. So, it's better to always go for longer extension cords than needed.

4. Cords Designed For Cold Weathers Are More Flexible

When it comes to extension cords, flexibility plays a vital role, followed by safety. You would want an extension cord that can stretch across in a hallway or workplace.It’s more accessible to coil and store, flexible extension cords as well. However, the challenge is to find out which cords are flexible, as it’s not possible to guess that, merely by looking at the box.The best way to find out whether an extension cord is flexible is by knowing whether it's made to sustain lower temperatures or not.

Extension cords meant for cold temperatures tend to be more flexible than the others. However, not all extension cords will list the exact ideal temperature ranges on the packaging.If you can find an extension cord that can sustain below the freezing temperature, then you can rest assured that it is flexible.

5. Choose The Correct Indoor And Outdoor Extension Cords

The most common mistake many homeowners make is using an extension cord with a few extra outlets to power both, indoor and outdoor electrical appliances.No matter how convenient, that might look, is not a safe practice as it causes an overload.Similarly, it’s crucial to analyse the environment for the extension cords.For instance, if you are looking for an extension cord to power lights for an outdoor event, then buying an extension cord, made to sustain an indoor environment might not be the right thing.

Go for a light extension cord if you plan on using it rarely without regular usage. On the contrary, opting for a medium-duty cord for non-stop usage would be the right choice.To power heavy electrical appliances such as a chainsaw, use a heavy-duty extension cord.

In any given situation, try not to overload the extension cord, as doing so might put your safety at risk.It’s better to analyse your requirements about the extension cord, before purchasing one. Choose the perfect extension cord for your home or office using the tips mentioned above.

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