You’re setting up your new computer, but the power outlet is just out of reach—that is, until you remember the extension cord tucked away in the junk drawer. You plug in both ends, and voila! Your electronic device is all powered up. But before you kick back and relax, you might want to check that your extension cord is being used safely. In Canada, extension cords are a leading cause of house fires because of the improper use of them. We’ve put together the most important tips when it comes to power cord safety:


If you are using an extension cord outdoors, check the label. 

Not all extension cords are meant for outdoor use. Check the specifications of the product before you set it up. When using extension cords outside, make sure to keep them away from water sources and damp areas, as this can pose an electrical hazard.


Don’t exceed the wattage rating. 

Each extension cord can handle a specific amount of electricity; it’s called an amperage or wattage rating. Drawing too much power is not safe. This is why you shouldn’t use power-hungry appliances with extension cords or plug multiple electronics into one extension cord. Another specification to check is that the extension cord is approved by a testing laboratory such as the Canadian Standards Association. 


Store them properly. 

The coating around the wiring of an extension cord is an important safety measure. Extension cords emit heat when they’re in use; if the wiring is exposed, this becomes dangerous. When you are storing extension cords, wrap the cord loosely to avoid bending it or kinking the wires as this can break the wires.


Don’t remove the grounding pin. 

Sometimes, an extension cord has a three-pronged plug, but your outlet may only support two. Even though it’s tempting, don’t try to remove the third prong to make it fit. The grounding pin is a safety feature of the cord that protects against electric shocks, which can be fatal.


A brightly coloured cord can prevent tripping hazards. 

What’s more infuriating than tripping over your extension cord and shutting down your computer, causing you to lose all your unsaved progress? Probably the goose egg that appears on your forehead from the impact. Tripping over power cords is never fun. If you purchase an extension cord that’s bright blue, orange, or yellow, you’ll have an easier time spotting it before you catch your foot on it. 


Don’t string extension cords together. 

Have you set up an extension cord only to find that the outlet is still too far away? You might have thought to use another extension cord to close the gap. Unfortunately, this solution is not a very safe one—you risk overloading the extension cord and putting yourself in danger.


Remember that extension cords are temporary solutions, not permanent ones. 

If you always find yourself short on power outlets, call an electrician to install more of them. Looking for Winnipeg electricians? At Powertec Electric Inc, we have a team with experience in providing all types of commercial and residential services. We understand the importance of taking precautions to protect everyone in your home and/or office building.