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Extension Cords







Home Safety: Electrical Safety

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Electrical Safety Foundation, every year incidents involving electrical equipment, such as extension cords, receptacles, and light bulbs, result in more than 41,000 residential fires that claim about 350 lives and cause over 1,400 injuries. These fires also cause more than $620 million in property damage annually.

Extension Cord Safety
  • Never run an extension cord under a rug.
  • Do not consider extension cords part of your home's electrical system—use them only for temporary situations.
  • A frayed or cracked cord could cause a shock or fire. Replace old and damaged extension cords.
  • Make sure the cords you buy are approved by an independent testing laboratory.
  • Never overload an extension cord; that could cause a fire. Check the rating labels on the cords and the appliance. If necessary, upgrade to a higher-rated cord.
Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission

Receptacle Safety
  • Receptacles are inexpensive. Replace any that are broken, no longer hold a plug securely, feel hot to the touch, or spark or make noise when inserting or removing a plug.
  • Replace broken faceplates so you don't accidentally touch a plug to a live portion of the receptacle.
  • Never alter a polarized plug to make it fit into an old unpolarized receptacle.
  • If you must use a grounding adapter, first verify that the receptacle is grounded (use a neon tester, the simple directions are on the package), then be sure to secure the tab on the adapter under the coverplate screw.
  • Do not use a multi-plug adapter for extended periods of time. If you need more receptacles, add a new receptacle (and circuit, if necessary).
  • When replacing a receptacle, make sure the new one is properly rated—never install a 20-amp receptacle on a 15-amp circuit.
  • Never install a three-slot receptacle where there is no ground available, unless it is a GFCI receptacle. While it would be better to run a ground wire and install a properly grounded receptacle if there is a need for one, the next best thing is to install a GFCI. While it won't be grounded, it will provide some degree of shock protection.
  • Use lockout receptacles or childproof plugs if young children will be present.


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