Choosing the Right Extension Cord for The Job

Everyone knows that frustration of getting your room decorated just so and then discovering that the outlet is a tiny bit farther than the cord of your lamp.

For those times when the power you need is just out of reach, an extension cord can be the best solution, but you want to make sure that the best solution is the right cord.

The wrong extension or drop cord can create serious problems, up to and including damage to the appliance you’re plugging in. There’s a big difference between running a cord to charge your mobile device or running a cord to fire up your power saw.

We’ve put together some tips to help you make sure you’re using the right cord.

Don’t Bring that Outside

One of the most important considerations when choosing the right extension cord is whether or not it is rated for outdoor use.

A cord not rated for outdoor use can overheat and cause a fire. The packaging on the cord will note whether or not it can be used outside, but a W printed on the cord identifies it as being a cord suited for outdoor use.

Why is my electric bill higher this year than last year?

Your electric company may have just gone up on the price per kilowatt. It may be something is running that you did not know it was. Even electronic that are plugged in and not operating could drain tiny amounts of power. All those charging cords can add up fast. If everything is off and unplugged and your meter is still running you may have a bigger issue and you will need to have it looked at.

Gauge How Much Power You Need

Different extension cords will deliver different amperages, and so you should understand how much power you need to run the appliance.

Most household appliances have a printed amperage rating found on a tag or a plate. Extension cords are categorized by gauge (with most household cords falling between 18 gauge and 8 gauge (lower gauges corresponding to heavier duty appliances).

Using the right gauge with the right appliance is important. If you have questions, you can always consult an extension cord amperage chart.

Don’t Extend Too Far

Voltage levels can drop as electricity travels through longer extension cords, so it’s important to use a cord that is only as long as you need it to be. Using cords that are too long also wastes electricity.