When it comes to extension leads many erroneously believe that length is the only factor that sets one extension cord apart from another. However, there is much more that needs to be taken into consideration when looking for such an item to buy.
Not all extension leads are created equal – they’re all designed to carry varying amounts of electrical current and for use in specific environments and applications. According to experts, selecting the right one for every task’s specific requirement can highly reduce the chances of an electrical shock, fire, and injury that may happen due to improper use. Below are the factors you need to consider in order to find the right extension lead for your specific need.
- Outdoor extension leads – The jacket or insulation of these cords is made from a more resistant material that is designed to withstand moisture, temperature changes, UV rays and sometimes chemicals.
- Indoor extension leads – These cords are usually low wattage and are designed for a use with a small appliance like an alarm clock or a portable fan, or with an electronic device such as a TV or computer. They are not weather resistant and shouldn’t be used outdoors.
Wattage rating is the number of watts an extension cord can safely transmit. Before plugging a power tool or appliance into an extension lead, it is of high importance to be sure that the power demand of the equipment doesn’t exceed the lead’s wattage rating.
Powering Multiple Devices
If you are planning to plug more than one device into your extension lead, you will first need to calculate how much watts both devices will need and make sure that the total isn’t more than the wattage that the lead can support. In any case, use an extension cord to supply more wattage than it is designed for as any overheating may result in fire.
Distance and Gauge
All electrical leads contain an inner metal conducting wire to carry electrical current from point A to B. The thickness of this conductor is referred to as its gauge, which is indicated by a number. The lower the number, the thicker the wire. The thickness of the wire can directly affect the amount of wattage it can transmit over a certain distance.
Before you buy an extension lead you need to first find out how much electricity you will need to run a certain device. Usually, all you will have to do to obtain this information is to consult with the manufacturer’s instructions that come with the device. The power cord of the device is another place that you can look for power specifications.
Watts vs. Amps/Volts
Sometimes the power requirements are listed in volts and amps instead of watts. In such case, you can use a simple formula to help you calculate electricity requirements: multiply the number of amps by the number of volts and you will get the appliance’s wattage.