Imagine, you have run out of power outlets for your electrical appliances. Besides, the cords are also short. But your electrical appliances are plugged with a surge protector. Sounds familiar? Well, I have been in your shoes before.
Can you plug a surge protector into an extension cord?
The answer is both yes and no. It is possible to connect a surge protector with an extension cord. Unfortunately it raises safety concerns. There might be chances of fire, even electrocution. But with proper safety measures, you can minimize the risks of fire hazards and other accidents.
That was just the preview. In this article, I’ve gone over everything in detail. Hence, in order to know more, keep reading!
Extension Cord And Surge Protector: The Basics
Extension cords, as well as surge protectors, are frequently used appliances in households. Also, these two appliances look almost similar. But these are used for solely different purposes.
So, before getting into the details, let’s try to understand the basics first.
Did you think that surge protectors save your electronics from surges? Well, you’re right. Yes, it is exactly what the name suggests. In case you didn’t know – it is also known as surge suppressor.
Now, what are surges and why do they happen – you ask?
You see, the voltage of electricity in your household suddenly increases at times. I call this sudden increase in voltage a power surge.
It can happen because of power outage, faulty wiring, or even failure in the power grid. In addition, surges can also happen for natural reasons. For example, thunderstorms, lightning strikes, etc.
You still should ground the main electrical panel though.
By the way, in case you were looking for good surge protectors, take a look at my suggestions-
You are sure to be satisfied with these products because of their durability and performance.
Let’s say that you want to connect an electrical device but you run into a problem. You notice that the cord of your electrical device is very short. Wait, that’s not it, the power outlet is also not close by.
So, what do you do next? Well, you can guess it by now. You can’t plug in your electrical appliance.
Now, this is where an extension cord comes into play. You plug in your electrical appliance on one end. And you plug the other end on the electrical outlet.
Okay, now you know all about extension cords and surge protectors. Let’s find out whether you can daisy chain them.
Can You Use Extension Cord And Surge Protector Together?
Well, it’s difficult to answer because it’s not black and white. It’s just like the case of whether it is possible to use a 15 amp switch on a 20 amp circuit.
Don’t worry though! Because I’ll elaborate on it for you.
Actually, a surge protector and an extension cord have compatibility with each other. Now, what does that mean? Well, it means that you can use an extension cord and a surge protector together.
Let’s break it down further for you!
Do you see the prongs of the plug of your surge protector? You are asking what about it, right? Typically, you can connect these to the electrical outlets of your extension cord.
There’s more. You won’t find any obstacle that can stop you from connecting a surge protector with an extension cord.
So, already on your way to using an extension cord and surge protector together? I’d like to bring you to a stop right there.
Here’s the thing – Just because you can plug these two together, doesn’t mean that you should. As it begs the question of whether this configuration is safe or not. And that’s what I’ll discuss in the next segment.
Is It Possible to Safely Plug Surge Protectors And Extension Cord Together?
There are some safety concerns related to using an extension cord and surge protector together. You’ve probably heard before that there’s a possibility of a fire hazard.
Now, are you wondering whether that information is true? Actually, it is true.
You risk causing a fire whenever you try to use the extension cord and surge protector together. That’s not it though. There’s something worse that could happen. And that is – Electrocution!
There’s a probability that you will wind up electrocuting yourself or the people living with you.
But I’m going to give you a reality check. You run a risk of fire hazards or electrocution whenever your power strip is overloaded. To put it differently, this can occur to any electrical appliance.
While you’re processing that information, let’s address another question. Will your surge protector continue safeguarding your electronic appliances when it’s plugged into the extension cord?
To put it simply, the answer is – yes. But it’s only a temporary solution. If you use this configuration for a long time, then accidents can happen.
The safety issues will turn you away from connecting a surge protector and an extension cord together. But what if I tell you that there’s a way out? That brings me to – Precautions!
Then let’s move on to that part, shall we?
How To Use Surge Protector With Extension Cord?
You can safely use the extension cord and surge protector together with the necessary precautions.
So, what are these precautions? Don’t worry. We’ll walk through them one at a time.
Precaution 1: Use The Right Gauge And Ampacity
You must use the correct ampacity. You can find out the correct ampacity by measuring the wire gauge size.
Let’s say that the gauge size of your surge protector is 16. And the gauge size of your extension cord is also 16. So, what does that entail? In this case, you can use the extension cord and surge protector together.
Now, what if the gauge size of your extension cord is 14 whereas the surge protector is 16? In this particular instance, you run the risk of starting a fire. Because the ampacity doesn’t match.
In short, the extension cord’s ampacity should match or exceed the surge protector’s ampacity.
Precaution 2: Don’t Let It Overload Or Overheat
There’s a high risk of overload whenever you plug a high-wattage gadget in a surge protector.
There’s physics behind it. Daisy-chaining lengthens the distance that the current must travel, increasing resistance.
What happens next? The heat generation increases and it gets overheated. With that, the possibility of fire hazards also increases.
Therefore, it will be safer if you use gadgets that use low wattage.
Precaution 3: Use Cords of Good Quality
Suppose you are using the right gauge and ampacity. But that won’t help if your cord isn’t of better quality.
Bad quality means that the cords have poor construction. As a result, it might lead you towards fire hazards. And of course, you wouldn’t want that.
Hence, it is necessary to check for safety ratings. Typically, safety ratings are an indication of good quality. Also, it means that the cords have been tested. And it complies with all applicable safety regulations.
Precaution 4: Use It Temporarily
You can’t connect the extension cord together with the surge protector and just leave it like that. Because It should not be a permanent solution.
When you use extension cords for an extended period of time, you can run into certain issues. It gets worn out. Also, the cords can suffer tears. So, what can happen then?
Well, the chances of an accident increase many times. Just like one bad outlet can affect others.
That’s why you should not use this solution for more than a few hours. In fact, a few days is fine as well. But you should use it only for emergencies.
Also, avoid keeping them in a place where they might overheat. Try to keep them in the open.
We have one last piece of information for you. Connecting a surge protector with an extension cord is illegal in some places. So, it’s better to know about the regulations of your area first.
Question: What gadgets can be safely plugged into a surge protector?
Answer: You can safely plug gadgets that require less power into your surge protector. For example – lamps, laptops, computers, smartphone charger, tablet charger.
Question: What gadgets shouldn’t be connected with a surge protector?
Answer: You should not plug gadgets that require a lot of power into your surge protector. For example – hair tools, another surge protector, kitchen appliance, space heater, air conditioner.
Question: Is there any difference between surge protector and power strip?
Answer: Yes, there is a difference between surge protector and power strip. Power strip provides additional space for electrical outlets. On the other hand, a surge protector saves your electronics from random increase in voltage.
I hope that you’ve found the answer to can you plug a surge protector into an extension cord. Just be extra careful with all of these, okay?
That’s all from our end. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed reading this article. Fingers crossed.
Alright then, see you next time!