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Running A Flat Extension Cord For Under Carpet: Safe or Dangerous

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

No one wants to return to a house tangled with wires. Especially not after working for a whole day. It can be stressful, disgusting, and outright annoying. Naturally, running the wires under the carpet can come to your mind. 

Is running a flat extension cord for under carpet safe?

Running an extension cord under a carpet is always dangerous. Because it generates heat and human traffic can damage them. But it’s still up to you. To run them properly, you’ll need to plan the route and measure the cables. After that, you’ll remove the carpet and furniture to lay them out. 

Without a doubt, that wasn’t enough to explain everything. Stay with me if you want to know more about cords being under rugs. 

Why Is It Dangerous To Run Extension Cords Under Carpet?

Extension cords have always been a huge problem. Partly because of how much of a fire hazard they are. They’re also super easy to get damaged. And that adds a lot more to the potential risk. 

Extension cord safeties aren’t just bound to indoors. Even running those expansion cords outdoors has safety issues.

The ultimate question is, should a homeowner run an extension cord under the rug? 

The straightforward answer is no. You can always find some middle ground in this topic. For example, running them safely around the house. Or running them in a way people wouldn’t step on them. 

But either way, the danger still remains. And let me explain why. To keep it simple, I’ve categorized the dangers and explained them one by one. 

Reason 1: Extension Cord Generates Heat

First of all, extension cords are flammable. As if that’s not enough, they also generate a lot of heat. And guess what you’ve done? You’ve put a rug on those wires. 

This means all the heat is now trapped and is going to accumulate over time. Have you plugged in a microwave? We’re now talking about a lot of heat.

How about a washing machine or a fridge? Even more heat. All of that heat will end up damaging the wire if it can’t dissipate properly. 

You can also spill water on the rug which can make the cords wet. And if the cord isn’t waterproof, it’s an immediate electrical hazard. 

Even extension cords meant for outdoors being wet can be extremely dangerous. 

Reason 2: Human Traffic Is Likely To Damage the Cords

Other than the extension cords being flammable, human traffic is also a concern. 

Not all cords are well-built. 

That’s why there’s a high chance of damaging the cords by stepping on them. 

Imagine a house tangled with wires. What do you imagine? The first thing you’re going to realize is that that house is messy. 

It’s also boring, unfun, and overall not a resting place. But even with all these disadvantages, it still has one advantage. 

And that’s safety. With wires out in the open, you’re less likely to step on them. But with a rug on them? You’re definitely going to step on them. At least once or twice a day, even after being careful. 

After a month of stepping and walking on them, the wires are going to start cracking. You may end up tearing those wire jackets. After that, the cords will be frayed eventually.  

The extension cords even make crackling sounds when they’re frayed. But because of a rug, you’re less likely to notice them.  

This puts you at a complete disadvantage. Your house might catch fire in the middle of the night because of the fridge. You’ll never know! 

But you can always make arguments. And that’s what people do! Because of that, this is still a debate. 

Should You Run Extension Cords Under Carpets? 

At the end of the day, the choice completely depends on you. Some people choose not to do it because it’s scary. 

Some people simply think otherwise and throw counter questions instead. 

For example, what about running them properly? Or, what about being extra safe when moving around?

That’s why some people often prefer to take the risk. Because at the end of the day, your house does look weird with wires. 

You can’t live without them either as they have a lot of usage. You can even rewire lamps with extension cords

Before you choose a side, you need to be completely sure. After all, the professionals do not recommend this practice at all. 

If you want to run extension cords under carpets, flat ones are better. They’re well-built, and they tear less frequently. This makes them slightly safer than others. 

If you’re looking for strong extension cables, no need to worry. I have got your back. I have listed some of my favorite picks for you:

Product 1
Product 2
Product 3

These should help you choose one if you choose to run them under the rugs. 

How To Run Extension Cords Under the Rugs: In 3 Steps

If you still insist on running extension cords, I won’t stop you. There are some steps involved in this. That’s why I’ve simplified them as much as I could.

Step 1: Plan the Routes & Measure the Cable

The first thing you’ll need to do is to plan the routes perfectly. Because you’ll need to avoid stepping on the wires. 

For this, you’ll need to choose a route that will deal with the least human traffic. 

Finish the entire route this way. It may take a while. You can make sketches to make it easier. 

After that, measure the entire length. This will help you realize how long of a cable you really need. You’ll also need to choose a strong cable. 

Step 2: Remove the Furniture and Pull the Carpet

When you’re done with the previous step, it’s time to get to work. First off, remove all the furniture where the cord will travel through. 

After that, pull the carpet out and run the cables. If the carpet is too heavy, do one section at a time. 

Step 3: Route the Extension Cord & Replace the Carpets

With carpets out of the way, you can finally place the extension cords. Make sure to follow the routes you’ve made. Use fish tape to guide the extension cord properly. 

When you’re done, place the carpets back. This should be an easy task. After that, you’ll need to replace the furniture. 

Make sure, none of that furniture is on the cable. Because that would damage the cable. 

And you’re done!

FAQs

Question: What is the flat wire?

Answer: The only difference between flat cables and normal cables is the ribbon form. Other than that, flat wires are slightly denser and conductors are insulated separately. 

Question: What gauge extension cord is best?

Answer: 14 AWG is the best extension cord you can possibly have for your house. At 25 feet, that’s your best choice. For 50 and 100 feet, 12 and 10 AWG cables are better. 

Question: Can you put a rug over a floor outlet?

Answer: Covering a floor outlet with a movable rug is considered fine. But you should never cover the outlet with wall-to-wall carpets. This applies to junction boxes as well. 

Final Thoughts

That was all I could explain on the flat extension cord for under carpet. Flat or not, they’re ultimately dangerous. And a big risk to your house. But I still simplified how to run them; should you insist. 

If the process itself seemed bothersome, don’t hesitate to call experts. They might initially disagree but they would still do it if you insist. 

Finally, have a nice day!