The world we live in has become increasingly electrified, and our reliance on electrical devices and appliances is growing daily. Amid this, there’s a need to understand the importance of extension cord ratings and begin embracing best safety practices.

Extension cords can extend the reach of the power sources in your Coachella Valley home, offering you convenience and flexibility. Nonetheless, misusing an extension cord can have dire consequences, including fires, electrical shocks, and permanent damage to electrical gadgets.

Here are nine tips on how to safely use extension cords in your home.

1. Choosing the Best Extension Cord

Before you can plug in your extension cord, start by confirming that you have the right type. You shouldn’t use outdoor extension cords indoors, or vice versa. Also, make sure to consider its gauge and length based on distance from the power source and your power needs.

The following are six factors to look for in an extension cord.

  • Power requirements
  • Size
  • Indoor vs. outdoor
  • Power configuration
  • Code designations
  • Color

Apart from the six factors above, you may also want to learn about the different types of extension cords. The five common types are described below.

Flat Extension Cords

Flat extension cords are constructed from multiple wires instead of a single continuous wire. As a result, their length can range between 2 and 10 feet. Additionally, there’s no construction rule to specify the thickness needed to distribute power across them.

T-Connection Cables

Technicians refer to these cables as “triple tap” cords, or “Y” connections. These extension cords have three plugs, enabling you to connect multiple devices at once.

Regular Cords

You’re probably familiar with this type of extension cord, as it’s the most prevalent. We provide them in both grounded and ungrounded forms, and they can vary in color and length.

Appliance Cords

As their name suggests, these are for use with home appliances, and they come fitted with a polarized plug. You can find them in grounded or ungrounded forms.

Twist-Lock Cords

We recommend these cords for outdoor use or for heavy objects. These extension cords are more resilient and substantial than conventional cords.

2. Choosing a Location

After choosing a cord that will meet your electrical needs, the next step is to consider your placement options. Whenever possible, try to place it in an area that has little to no foot traffic. For this, you’ll need to stay away from areas with pets and children to prevent tripping.

Make sure to avoid walkways, heat, and water sources as well. When the time comes to plug it in, confirm that you’ve pushed the cord in all the way. If you’ve followed the instructions correctly, no part of the plug prongs should be visible.

3. Weather Proofing

Outdoor extension cords are built to withstand various weather conditions, such as sunlight, moisture, freezing snow, and rain. You need to choose the right cord for each location. Outdoor cords have additional shielding layers to protect and insulate their fragile internal wires.

However, you can always invest in weatherproof covers to safeguard the connections. Our technicians recommend keeping the cords elevated to prevent snow and water damage. A wet extension cord can lead to a short in an electrical appliance, potentially causing a fire.

4. Sidestepping Overloads

Take your time to check the gauge level of the cord you want to purchase. The gauge level provides a description of how much power your indoor or outdoor extension can handle. To ensure you won’t overload it, only attach appliances whose power draw is within the cord’s volume. While at it, try to use a single cord per power supply as opposed to relying on a multi-plug cord.

5. Checking the Extension Cord for Damage

Always inspect your cord for damage before use. Regular inspections are crucial and the easiest way to prevent a fire. If you’re unsure of what to look for, you can have one of our technicians come over and inspect your cords for fraying and wear and tear.

If the cord has visible signs of damage, throw it away and seek a replacement instantly. Don’t attempt to use electrical tape to patch up the exposed wire or splice the cord to repair it. Additionally, do away with any cord that feels hot to your touch, as that’s a fire hazard.

If you’re using the cord in an area where it’s likely to get damaged, call us to run underground wiring for your home. Underground wiring is a more permanent solution that allows you to sidestep many of the risks linked to exposed wires and damaged cords.

6. Using Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Electrical Outlets

Ensuring the electrical outlets located outside of your home in Morongo Basin are safe is another way to protect the cord and the people using it. We highly recommend that you let our technicians install a GFCI outlet for you. These outdoor outlets offer an additional layer of protection against short circuits and electrical shocks when running cords in wet or damp areas. The GFCI can track how much current is flowing through your electrical circuit, allowing it to trip if it detects a loss of current.

You can establish whether your outlet is GFCI-certified by looking for a small button on either side of the outlet. Their presence is meant to enable you to reset the receptacle, making it an excellent idea to confirm they’re working before using an extension cord.

7. Unplugging the Cord After Use

As is the case with every other electrical appliance, you should unplug the cord when it’s not in use. Failure to unplug it increases the risk of potential damage and other hazards. When the time comes to unplug it, resist the temptation to pull on the cord.
Instead, grab the head of your extension cord and pull it from the outlet slowly. This helps to prevent damage to the cord.

8. Storing It Away

Learning how to use an extension cord is one thing, but knowing how to store it after use is another. When not in use, you should store the cord indoors in a place that’s cool and dry. Coil the extension cord loosely to avoid tangles that may lead to damage the next time you take it out. Coiling it loosely also assists in preventing kinks, thus improving its lifespan. Remember to inspect it for damage before using it again.

9. Abiding by Local Regulations

Finally, confirm that your cords abide by any local codes and regulations for outdoor use. Following these codes helps to ensure the safety of you, your loved ones, and your home. If you’re unsure of whether your cords are compliant, contact our team, and we’ll inspect the legality and safety of your outdoor electrical setup.


These nine safety tips will help you use both indoor and outdoor extension cords safely. Make it a point to use the right length and gauge level when dealing with outdoor cords. Also, avoid placing them near heat and water sources and walkways where they may cause tripping accidents.

It’s important to remember that outdoor cords are intended for use as a temporary measure. You may need to run underground wiring if you intend to use them on a more permanent basis. The team at Home Team Electric can help with updating your electrical setup. We have an in-house team of experts who offer indoor and outdoor electrical installations. Our other services include electrical repair, electrical panel upgrades, indoor lighting, and whole-house generators. If you need reliable electrical services in the Coachella Valley, contact Home Team Electric today.

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