- Don’t use them for long periods of time. Extension cords are intended for temporary use only. If a cord is being used on a more permanent basis, you should look into adding some extra outlets to your rooms if possible. In addition, be sure to unplug a cord when it’s not in use.
- Get an approved cord. When purchasing an extension cord, check that is properly certified by a nationally recognized laboratory. Some of these include Underwriters Laboratories (UL), ETL-SEMKO (ETL) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
- Be careful where you put them. Don’t snake cords under a heavy object that may damage them. Also, don’t keep extension cords hidden under rugs or carpets or run them through a wall, ceiling or doorway. Not only can this pose a tripping hazard, but it can also pose a fire risk. That’s because heat from the cord is not able to escape, which could cause a flame to spark.
- Be aware of how you use cords. Do not plug extension cords into other extension cords. They were not intended to be used this way. By doing this, you are creating a very real fire risk. Also be wary of how many appliances you plug into the extension cord. Just because there are five outlets doesn’t mean they should all be used at once. By doing this, you could overload the outlet, which could be extremely dangerous.
- Inspect cords for damage before use. If a cord is damaged in any way, do not use it. Damaged cords are extreme fire hazards. If a cord is damaged, do not attempt to repair it yourself. This type of work should only be done by a professional—anything else can be extremely hazardous.