|CPSC has the following recommendations for the purchase and safe
use of extension cords:|
- Use extension cords only when necessary and
only on a temporary basis.
- Use polarized extension cords with polarized
- Make sure cords do not dangle from the counter or table
tops where they can be pulled down or tripped over.
- Replace cracked or
worn extension cords with new. #16 gauge cords that have the listing, of a
nationally-recognized testing laboratory, safety closures, and other safety
- With cords lacking safety closures, cover any unused outlets
with electrical tape or with plastic caps to prevent the chance of a child
making contact with the live circuit.
- Insert plugs fully so that no
part of the prongs are exposed when the extension cord is in use.
disconnecting cords, pull the plug rather than the cord itself.
children not to play with plugs and outlets.
- Use only three-wire
extension cords for appliances with three-prong plugs. Never remove the third
(round or U-shaped) prong, which is a safety feature designed to reduce the risk
of shock and electrocution.
- In locations where furniture or beds may be pushed against an
extension cord where the cord joins the plug, use a special "angle extension
cord," which is specifically designed for use in these instances.
the plug and the body of the extension cord while the cord is in use. Noticeable
warming of these plastic parts is expected when cords are being used at their
maximum rating, however, if the cord feels hot or if there is a softening of the
plastic, this is a warning that the plug wires or connections are failing and
that the extension cord should be discarded and replaced.
- Never use an
extension cord while it is coiled or looped. Never cover any part of an
extension cord with newspapers, clothing, rugs, or any objects while the cord is
in use. Never place an extension cord where it is likely to be damaged by heavy
furniture or foot traffic.
- Don't use staples or nails to attach
extension cords to a baseboard or to another surface. This could damage the cord
and present a shock or fire hazard.
- Don't overload extension cords by
plugging in appliances that draw a total of more watts than the rating of the
- Use special, heavy duty extension cords for high wattage
appliances such as air conditioners, portable electric heaters, and
- When using outdoor tools and appliances, use only extension
cords labeled for outdoor use.