When you think about extension cord safety, you usually only think about potential physical damage, but it’s a little more complicated. In fact, taking a critical look at a cord’s safety should happen before you buy.

  1. The use – there is a significant difference in cords depending on their intended use. Outdoor cords have different sheathing that is weather resistant.
  2. The gauge(thickness) is important depending on how heavy the load you will be putting on the cord. A light gauge wire will heat up if you put too much load.
  3. Your length should matter too. You will want the proper length to reduce joints, especially outside.
  4. Environment – make sure you don’t lay your cords down where you can drive over them, especially with equipment like a lawnmower.
  5. Damage – sometimes a damaged cord can be repaired, but often it’s safer to replace the cord altogether.
  6. Features – cords can single end or multiple ends. They can come with locking mechanisms and covers. Choose wisely.

When it comes to choosing your electrical cords, take the time to align the cord with the intended use. Make sure you tidy it up after use and check it for damage every time you use it. Never leave it for the next person.