Advantages of a Retractable Extension Cord
Are you familiar with the benefits of a retractable extension cord? It is not uncommon that the placement of electric outlets is always far away from certain appliances. This is because houses, especially big ones, have big unoccupied spaces that make moving the appliances easy but inconvenient relative to the electrical outlets. Since most appliances are portable, the length of their cords relative to the distance of the power outlets wouldn’t be enough to cover these blank spaces. This is where extension cords come into the picture.
Extension cords are important tools to use at home or in the office in order to manage and arrange the flow of electricity. As there are times when the outlet is far from the electronic appliances and gadgets, the extension cords are relied upon to manage the appliances systematically. As the name aptly implies, extension cords are used to extend the electrical flow to reach certain gadgets and appliances that are far from the source.
This is ideal for use especially for people who like to rearrange the interior of their houses. Extension cords are also used for convenience purposes like bringing TV sets, computers, microwave oven, etc. towards you to experience a more convenient feel. During fun activities like dancing, computer game tournaments, movie marathons, and house parties, extension cords become important tools.
The importance of extension cords has paved the way for the improvement of the tool with the retractable extension cord. Unlike the traditional and ordinary extension cords that appear messy when in use, the retractable extension cord is more arranged, preventing you from tripping over the wires and other cables. If you have encountered a retractable lace I.D case or retractable USB case, then you may have an idea of what a retractable extension cord looks like.
Like the mechanisms of the retractable I.D case, the retractable extension cord has a thick and spacey core that allows for the remaining cable extension to be arranged systematically. This doesn’t include the usual hassles of arranging and rearranging the cords to its place after usage, as the extension cords are automatically arranged once not in use. You don’t need to spend precious time trying to put the cords back into place, as the retractable extension cord makes it easier for everyone to put the cords back in place in the shortest time possible without messing with wires and other cables.
Instead of calculating the length of the cord and attempting to make it less visible or more arranged every time you pull it out of the drawer, the retractable extension cord makes the cords appear less visible, allowing fewer distractions and preventing messing with the appliances and systems altogether. This is more ideal for use than the ordinary extension cord, especially if you have small children or pets at home. Since small children are generally playful, there are times that they may trip over wires and cables that were carelessly left lying on the floors. The retractable extension cord prevents these kinds of accidents from happening by systematically arranging the cords on house floors, so you do not have to worry yourself of tripping mishaps.
Choosing the Right Retractable Extension Cord
A retractable extension cord is useful in everyday life, as it offers absolute convenience especially during holidays like Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Putting on light decorations to celebrate the importance of these occasions is not easy if the outlet isn’t exactly at the place where you need it. You can choose varying lengths of retractable extension cords that you will need, from 6-feet and 10-feet, to lengths that are 20-feet or more. More than choosing the lengths of a retractable extension cord, it is important to choose the gauge as well. The gauge of the cord will help you determine the right kind of cord that is safe for use. It is best to choose the top quality cords for your operations, so investing a little more money to ensure your safety is a good idea.
Types of Extension Cords
There are generally two types of retractable extension cord: the basic extension cords and the heavy-duty retractable extension cords. The basic extension cords are the standard double-wire cords you can find in brown, green or white housing. They are commonly used for small appliances like hand and iron mixers, alarm clocks, table lamps, and other small household appliances. The lengths of these cords range from 6-feet to a hundred feet, and can be readily found in the marketplace. However, though they are lengthy, the lengths of the cords do not serve the same purpose of a retractable extension cord. These cords are not ideal for use outdoors and on appliances that use large amounts of voltage. They aren’t advisable for power tools and space heaters, as they are thin and may burn easily.
For outdoor appliances that draw a heavy current (i.e., amperage or “Amps”), it is best to use heavy gauge extension cords that are triple-corded. They can be found in highly visible colors such as bright orange or bright yellow. The reason for this is to allow easy spotting of these cords around power tools. It is recommended to use a grounded electrical outlet when using the heavy gauge cords to make the third prong properly grounded.
Choosing the Best Cord
When choosing the best cord for you, you must first consider your intended use for it. Since you know the basic types of a retractable extension cord, it is easier to decide the right cord to use. For small appliances like desk electric fans or alarm clocks, the two-wire extension cord will be enough to complete the job. For larger appliances like a power saw, it is recommended to use the three-wire extension cord for improved safety. You can also opt to use a heavily-insulated cord when using major appliances outdoors. When purchasing a cord, make sure it is certified by UL or United Laboratories. The stamp of UL means that the cord has met or exceeded all the standards of extension cords set by the industry.
Other important features that should be considered when choosing a retractable extension cord are childproof locking mechanisms, polarized plugs and surge protectors, grounded terminals, and power-on indicators. The prices of these cords range from $3 – $30, depending on the type and use of the cords. Heavy-duty cords are usually the most expensive but are also the most reliable when it comes to major appliances.
Dos and Don’ts When Using a Retractable Extension Cord
A retractable extension cord is considered one of the most valuable tools inside a house. Aside from the convenience it provides, especially when dealing with appliances that are placed far from the electrical outlets, it is safer and easier to use than ordinary extension cords.
However, even a retractable extension cord can cause accidents if not properly used. As common sense tells us, prevention is better than cure, so we need to understand the safety guidelines of using a retractable extension cord. Below are some of the Dos and Don’ts in using a retractable extension cord.
Always remember that a retractable extension cord cannot be used permanently. This means that after some time, you will have to discard the cord due to visible and invisible burn in the wires. Also, always make sure that you replace the cords regularly to ensure that the wires inside are functioning properly.
When buying a retractable extension cord, look for the label of UL or United Laboratories. The UL labels signify that the cords have met or exceeded the set standards for extension cords, so they are of high quality and guarantee a safe operation. Heavy-duty cords are preferable for use on major appliances. Among the basic types of extension cords, they are the most reliable to use. If you are using the cord for smaller appliances like alarm clocks, mixers, and the like, it would be acceptable to just use a medium duty extension cord.
Another important thing to remember is to observe the GFCI rules implemented to protect you when you are using appliances outdoors, especially in damp or wet locations. Make sure that the amperage does not exceed 80% of your extension cord. Overloading happens when you connect several plugs into the outlets, and may result in a burned wire inside the coating. Always take notice of the number of plugs that you connect to the extension cords to prevent accidents from happening.
Always check your cords and ensure that they are at their finest conditions. Check for cuts, abrasions, brittle, damages, weather-checked insulation, cord ends, or sheathing in your cords. Do not attempt to save the cords by putting electrical tape around them. The only thing that you can do to ensure maximum safety is to replace the cords at once.
Make sure that your cords are always grounded. You can achieve this by using a grounding pin.
When using a retractable extension cord, do not staple it down as it is only for temporary use.
Also, do not use chords to hang other objects, as this may result in a loose cord and, consequently, loose wires. Additionally, prevent extension cords from wrapping around doors, chairs, tables, under rags and carpets, and through doorways. This may result in the cords getting flattened or severed, which will only lead the cords to end up in the garbage bin.
Do not store a retractable extension cord in places where they are likely to be chewed and damaged by mice and rats.
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