How to Use an Extension Cord With a Power Strip

Extension cords and power strips have become common items in many homes. These items are used to increase the number of items that can be plugged into a circuit, and to extend the reach of an outlet. Many of these items, however, are used incorrectly. Incorrect use can cause a fire due to the wires overheating. Excessive usage of power strips and extension cords is a red flag to fire marshals.

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Power strip with three outlets

Step 1

Check the wire gauge for the power strip and the extension cord. Most homes have 12 gauge wiring for the receptacle circuits. The power strip and extension cord should have a minimum of 12 gauge wire. This keeps the wire gauge constant, and minimizes points of high resistance.

Step 2

Plug the power strip into the wall outlet. If the power strip needs to be at the beginning of the circuit, plug the extension cord into one of the outlets on the power strip. If the power strip needs to be at the end of the circuit, plug the extension cord into the wall outlet, and then plug the power strip into the receptacle end of the extension cord.

Step 3

Unplug the extension cord or the power strip from the wall outlet when not in use. Power cords and power strips are designed to be used as a temporary means of extending power to a device. They should not be used on a continuous or permanent basis.