An extension cord is generally used to connect multiple electrical cords in one place. This is if the main cable falls short. Due to this, you might think of permanently setting the extension cord outside for a purpose.
Is it safe to place a permanent outdoor extension cord?
No, it is not safe at all. If you use it on a permanent basis, it will create several hazardous complications. Such as, getting damaged, breakers tripping over it, and generating heat. These issues might seem minor, yet really dangerous. It can be turned into an electrocute environment leading to a fire hazard in your residence area.
This was just a teaser. I am about to share 4 reasons against the permanent outdoor extension cord. If you have a few minutes, keep reading with us.
- Can I Use Outdoor Extensions Permanently?
- 4 Reasons to Avoid Using Extension Cord Permanently
- 3 Safe Ways to Use Outdoor Extension Cords
- Avoid Unsafe Practices
Can I Use Outdoor Extensions Permanently?
As we mentioned above, you really can’t use extensions outside of your house for a long time. It’s true that extension cords contain no use to date. But they will lose their potential over time.
There are two thoughts about the cord’s longevity. Either it will pass away on its own. Or it will create the worst conditions; malfunction, voltage fluctuations and ultimately damaging the appliance.
That’s why you really can’t trust these cord’s efficiency in the long term. It’s better to throw away the cables as soon as it touches the expiry date.
I have seen dozens of cases filed against extension cord incidents. Various fire and electrical codes in different regions alert citizens for avoiding permanent extension cords.
But eventually, none has stopped the permanent uses of cords as wiring solutions. If you’re in such a situation where you need to use extension cords, you can do that. But you have to follow a few safeguards to avoid any destruction.
Let’s focus on the bad impacts of extension cords.
4 Reasons to Avoid Using Extension Cord Permanently
You’ll find many reasons why people advise against using extension cords outdoors permanently. In this segment, I will show you 4 strong reasons to avoid cords as a permanent solution.
Stay with me till the end-
Reason 01: Tripping
Most of the time everybody overlooks the hazard of tripping. But it is considered one of the most dangerous causes of extension cords. These cords usually consist of a range of a few dozens to hundreds of feet.
That’s why when you place the cord in a particular space for up to a few weeks or months-
There’s a high possibility that you’ll forget about its existence. As a result, you’ll end up tripping over the cord.
If the cord is majorly damaged, you might hear some crackling noise from the cord. This sound will indicate a critical condition of your extension cable.
From my own experience, I have witnessed some people falling over an extension cord. They were injured and one of them broke his teeth. That’s why be careful about it.
Reason 02: Quickly Gets Damaged
Let me tell you the truth, extension cords are really easily damaged. Whether you’re careful about tripping over it or not, you can’t avoid damaging it now or then.
There are hundreds of ways to harm the cord if you keep it open. For example, walking over the cord, or placing a heavy object on it. Even exposing it to water can damage its lifespan.
Reason 03: Generates Heat In Suffocated Areas
A suffocated environment is a big alarming situation for your extension cord. Usually, people don’t want these cables to be visible. As a result, they cover them inside the wall, ceiling, or under the floor.
Eventually, they cover them with cloths, rugs, or carpets as well. This suffocating situation generates heat and finally leads toward a fire hazard.
Reason 04: Overload
Extension cords cannot handle the overload of electricity. These cords are designed in a limited way to carry a limited amount of current. Though people mostly don’t know about it or they just escape reality.
I have seen many of them plug multiple devices into the cord. You can’t even believe it, some of them do not even hesitate to connect heavy appliances like microwaves.
They just don’t bother that their stubbornness can push them into an electrocute, or a fire explosion.
What if a similar thing happens in your house?
Simply, you will have nothing to do but witness the destruction that was created by you. This is why I am strongly suggesting not to plug in heavy gadgets. That can end up creating an unimaginable situation.
Authorities also discourage using cords as a permanent solution. Because they are way too dangerous.
3 Safe Ways to Use Outdoor Extension Cords
Apart from avoiding extension cords outdoors, there are yet a few possibilities available. Because there might be situations where you will find no other alternatives than wiring extension cord in your backyard.
Or simply you’re not getting better solutions. In both cases, you can actually use extension cords. I’ve seen many people act stubbornly to maintain the basic coding rules.
That’s why I have prepared this section for people like them. Here, I will discuss 3 safe ways to use outdoor extension cords.
Way 01: Power Stips
The first way I would suggest, using power strips. In that case, bring power strips that contain a circuit breaker. Circuit breakers can safeguard your appliances from any kind of overload or short circuits.
But circuit breakers can trip too. Try to avoid those minor problems and you will be good to go.
Still, I would recommend replacing the power strips at least once a year. Because it’s not sustainable enough to last long and will be hazardous as time flows. For example, the circuit breaker will deteriorate, thus it will open all gates of danger.
Way 02: Ventilation Space
The space for ventilation is another important thing you must consider while placing extension cords outdoors. People sometimes hide tripping materials by covering the cords.
ESFI warns not to place any extension cords inside walls or ceilings. They even banned it from being placed under the floor. Because the heat won’t fade away and it may end up generating a massive fire on your resident.
As a result, always keep extra space for ventilation. Set the extension cords in open areas. It will save you from any unwanted accident.
Way 03: Use GFCI
GFCI is the most effective technology for saving you from any breakneck situation. GFCI goes for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters.
This means in any ground fault situation, GFCI will automatically cut the power supply to the permanent extension cord. Nevertheless, it will prevent massive disasters and save your family.
Nowadays, there are extension cords available with GFCI protection facilities. If you don’t wanna invest money in this, there is another way available.
You can just plug a GFCI-protected wall receptacle with your extension cord. It is as simple as plugging surge protectors into extension cord.
Anyways, I have gathered the names of a bunch of the most renowned brands. This list may help you to choose the best GFCIs as per your need. Have a look-
Choose any of these and they will provide you with a relaxed environment.
Avoid Unsafe Practices
There are a few mistakes people make while wiring outdoor extensions. You must not perform the same unsafe practices. Have a look at what you should avoid-
- Do not use a damaged extension cord.
- Do not use any cord that provides lower current capacity than the device you attached with.
- Do not connect extension cords with power units
- Avoid using a cord when it feels warm or heated.
- Avoid placing cords under rugs or carpets.
- Don’t ever use ground pin adapters and convert a 3-wire plug to a 2-wire extension cord.
Try to follow these don’ts as it’s a matter of your house safety. Some people do these unsafe practices while grounding wire in outlets as well. That’s why I avoid these mistakes. Or your family might face electrical accidents at any time.
Question: How do you tell if an extension cord can be used outside?
Answer: You can recognize the cord through letter designation. You’ll find the letter “W” on the cord packaging or on the extension cord itself. Moreover, the heavy-duty outlook and tough, bright orange color indicate the cord is applicable outside.
Question: Can I use an outdoor extension cord inside?
Answer: Yes, you can definitely use an outdoor extension cord inside your house. But in most cases, it’s unsafe to use an indoor extension cord outside under the open sky.
Question: Is it OK to bury an extension cord?
Answer: Well, no, you can’t really bury any extension cord. Because all types of extension cords are produced for temporary purposes. Rather, apply permanent outdoor cables such as burial UF cable.
As you can see, a permanent outdoor extension cord isn’t safe at all. Yet if you’re in a converse situation, you may use them.
In that case, try to maintain the safeguards as advised.
Until next time, take care!
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