While this is convenient for you, not using the proper extension cord can be very dangerous for you and your family. According to the U.S. Product Safety Commission, roughly 50 people are killed and 4,000 are injured from accidents involving improper usage of extension cords.
An extension cord’s ability to safely provide electrical power is based on length and gauge. The longer an extension cord is, the lower its gauge number will be. In other words, the longer it is, the thicker the wire is. Electrical experts say you want to use the shortest cord possible to reduce the chance of major injury.
There are three types of extension cords – heavy duty, medium duty and light duty – which are made for specific electrical appliances. Heavy-duty cords are designed to work for the larger appliances and power tools in a home. Heavy-duty cords work great for electrical devices with 10-15 amps of load.
Medium-duty cords are built for your laptops, portable DVD players, netbooks and other like devices. These cords are for devices of roughly 10 amps. Light-duty cords are designed for basic use with clocks, lamps and other small electrical devices. These are usually for devices no more than seven amps.