What exactly are extension cords?
An extension cord also referred to as a power extender or an extension lead is a flexible electrical power cable with a plug on one end and one or more sockets on the other end. It allows you to power a device when its own cable does not reach an electrical outlet. Extension cords come in various lengths and thicknesses. Generally, the more power needed by a device, the thicker the extension cord should be. In terms of safety, cords that are used outdoors, in wet areas or exposed to sunlight for long periods should be selected for such use. Cords designed for outdoor use have more durable ‘jackets’ which refers to the rubber, plastic or vinyl coverings that insulate and protect a cord’s conducting wires. While it is safe to use an outdoor extension cord indoors, using an indoor extension cord outdoors could lead to overheating and dangerous short circuits. You can learn more about a cord’s durability and intended use by looking at its specific jacket type which appears on the product packaging or the cord itself. Different countries have different regulations in terms of the use of extension cords. In Europe and countries where the normal domestic voltage is around 230V, there is less risk of causing fire through overheating of cables for any given power due to the lower current. However most extension cords not include an automatic current cut-out to avoid misuse of the cord. Finally, an extension cord should not be confused with a power cord, which is similar but much shorter and designed to connect an appliance to a mains outlet.