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5 Tips for Picking the Right Household Extension Cord

by The Custom Boxes
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Extension cords are incredible when you need to extend the range of an electrical outlet. Extension cord can make it easy and safe for you to get electricity where you need it – whether you use a power tool in your workshop, run Christmas lights around the house, or plug in an appliance on the other side of a room. Power strips make it convenient and ensure safety from hazards such as fire and shock that come with overloading circuits. 

coiled extension cord

Extension cords vary in length and amperage. You need one that fits your application. This post will help you to find the perfect one for your domestic needs. You will learn how various extension cord features affect usability, durability, and your household equipment safety. Here are five tips to help pick a household extension cord to match your needs. 


  1. Consider Safety Features

Before you get lost in the various designs, lengths, and styles of cords, look for safety features. Extension cords should have a UL certification or other certifying body rating to ensure they meet the required safety standards. Consider buying an extension cord with overload protection and circuit breakers to prevent power surge damage and avoid overloading your outlets. 


With a safety-compliant extension cord, you are sure your appliances, gadgets, and other equipment you will need to connect are safe. For instance, surge protectors, extension cords with circuit breakers, and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) will protect you from potential risks. 

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Additionally, look for indicator lights on the power strip. Those will alert you if the power strip is turned on or off, so you can save energy by remembering to switch off your appliance when not in use. You must also turn off the power to avoid electrical hazards like shocks, water damage, and fires. 


  1. Choose the Correct Length

You do not want to get yourself into more trouble by buying an extension cord that does not help in your circumstances. The length of the one you get will determine the limits of using the strip. For instance, an indoor cord is usually limited to three meters, while its outdoor counterpart can be up to 100 meters long. 


Survey the area you want to use the power strip. Household power cords are ideal when you want to change the position of your work desk or move the gadget to another room without a power outlet. Pick one that is longer than you think you would need, as too short a cord will be a hassle. The longer extension cords give room for maneuverability and the freedom to adjust its course. That can help you avoid doorways, furniture, and obstacles. 


  1. Buy the Correct Gauge Cord

gauge extension cord for household 


What is a gauge, you say? It is the thickness of the wire used in the cable. The measurement varies from 10, 12, 14, to 16. The latest is the narrowest cable used in the extension cord. But why would it matter? Is it not all copper like everything else? 

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The thickness of the cable determines its capacity to support more electricity and power. A 10-gauge will serve heavy-duty electrical appliances like electric stoves, power tools, and ACs. 14-gauge cords can support up to 15 amps of current. Use the 16-gauge strips for lighter applications like lamps, TVs, and computers. 


As you can see, most basic uses may not require a 10-gauge cord. So, always buy one that is suitable for your power needs. But be careful how you handle those with narrow wires because they may break, resulting in an electric shock. 


  1. Determine the Outlet Count

Extension cords vary in design. Some allow you to connect multiple appliances and gadgets. Consider the number of devices you will plug into the power strip before purchasing one. A four-way connector or surge-protected power strip with multiple outlets will provide a better solution. 


But remember that the power rating determines the exact maximum amperage. For instance, a 15-amp cord will give you the same power output as a single wall outlet but with more outlets. You must not plug more than one appliance drawing 15 amps of power. However, you can connect one 3-amp, one 2-amp, and two 5-amp devices. 


  1. Think About the Durability

extension cord 


The longevity of extension cords lies in their design, insulation, and material used. Avoid cables with cloth casing or plastic-coated ones that are more prone to wear and tear. Also, look out for a cord with thicker insulation material. This way, the cable will remain intact even during extreme weather conditions or intense usage. 

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Most protected cables are ideal for outdoor use. But who said household means only limited? What if you want to throw a party in your backyard? You can choose an outdoor cord with increased insulation and higher resistance to water damage. It will serve indoors when you want to enjoy your evening television program. 


Summing Up 

Extension cords are a must-have for every home. But you must choose one that will not cause any harm or inconvenience. Consider the length, gauge, outlet count, and durability before purchasing. Also, opt for one that offers protection from overloads and short circuits. Follow these tips, and you will have the best extension cord for your home.