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Get Smart About Power Cords

Here are five tips about power cords that will keep your family safe and your appliances running better.

  1. Never bend a power cord. If you are rolling it up to store it, don’t crimp the cord. Cords and cables have wires inside. Bending them can break them—which will ruin the cord.
  2. Avoid covering a cord with a rug. If you need a long cord or an extension cord to plug in a lamp or other device, your device is too far away from the plug. Move it closer. If you hide a long-distance cord under a rug, it could overheat. Or someone could trip over it.
  3. Cords and appliances are supposed to “match” when it comes to amperage and wattage rating. If you plug a high-wattage appliance into a low-wattage cord, you will overburden the cord. That can cause the cord to overheat and the appliance to malfunction.
  4. Don’t force a cord’s plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit. If the outlet is too big and the plug does not fit snugly, the outlet is likely to overheat and damage the cord and the plug. If the plug is too big, use an adaptor or find a different outlet. Never cut the third prong off a three-prong plug to fit it into a two-prong outlet.
  5. Inspect power cords often. Even a tiny nick in the cord can result in a shock or even a deadly electrocution. Do not use cords—or appliances with permanent cords—if the cord is damaged in any way—frayed, worn, torn or cut.