Extension cords are an easy solution for a lot of appliances and fixtures that fall short of making it to our main outlets. But rightly so, we worry that we’re overtaxing these power extenders.
For instance, can you plug a freezer into an extension cord? At best, the trepidation comes from how there are various types of freezers with equally diverse amp ratings out there.
To answer your question: as long as you match the cord’s gauge with the freezer’s requirements, you can safely run it. It’s not an ideal permanent setup, though, and most brands dissuade it.
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Can an Extension Cord Be Used With a Freezer?
I’m going to make it clear outright that using an extension cord for freezer should only be done temporarily and only if it’s necessary. I don’t care about people who state, “I’ve had my freezer in garage feed off an extension cord for ten years and it did just fine.”
Make no mistake, I have no doubt that it will work, especially if you use the right extension cord. It’s just that it won’t give me peace of mind knowing that I’m going against the NEC’s basic recommendations on portable cords usage as per section 400.8 as well as the Fire Code at the same time.
To cite an example, in states like Kansas, you’re solely legally allowed to connect an extension cord to any load only for 90 days.
If you have no other choice, you’ll have to meet the following strict requirements, and even then, I’m not guaranteeing its safety:
- You need to make sure that the freezer’s load is less than what the cord is rated for. To cite an example, I’d be more at ease if you’re plugging in a used small freezer rated 7A to a 15A cord.
Maintain a solid safety buffer to account for overloads and surges. The same goes for the wattage rating.
- Most freezers’ amp rating ranges between 3A to 6A, so a 12 gauge extension cord rated 15A would suffice. However, some appliances can pull as much as 16A, especially upon starting, which is obviously troublesome.
That’s why I recommend only a heavy-duty power strip for refrigerator that readily reveals its wire gauge, amp rating, and wattage rating. The cord should be specified to be suitable for freezers, refrigerators, and most kitchen appliances.
- The line should be long enough. If the freezer cord too short, even with the extension cord, it defeats its purpose. If it’s too long (i.e., more than 50 feet), you have to deal with voltage drop and resistance, which heightens the risk of fires and electric shocks more.
With the risks and performance issues in mind, you can’t blame electricians if the intent to plug a deep freezer into a power strip ruffles their feathers. In fact, this has been a touchy subject on the r/askanelectrician on Reddit for a while now, believe it or not.
I’m always inclined to take the side of electricians because, in the end, it won’t matter what gauge extension cord you’re using. A “fridge extension cord” will never match the safe and sound reliability of an outlet or power circuit.
- Is It Safe to Plug an AC Into an Extension Cord?
- Can You Plug an Extension Cord Into Another Extension Cord?
Reasons You Shouldn’t Plug a Freezer Into an Extension Cord
- As said above, you’ll be going against two authorities in electrical and fire safety if you insist on running a freezer on an extension cord.
- Extension cords are much more vulnerable, flimsier, and less reliable than a properly installed, by-the-book circuit.
- Most electricians and I are already leery of circuits that freezers share with other appliances. What more if extension cords are involved?
- It leads to performance issues, so you won’t be able to make the most out of your freezer and may even damage it. A correct, dedicated freezer electrical outlet will ensure the exact opposite.
- It may become an exercise in futility for most because the setup may end up damaging the cord’s wires, rendering it completely useless and wasting your money.
Things to Consider if You Want to Plug a Freezer Into an Extension Cord
Still aren’t convinced that you shouldn’t continue this daredevil act? OK, I’m just going to assume that you haven’t got any alternative available.
The least you can do is follow these tips to a tee:
- Ensure the amp, wattage rating, and cord gauge suit both the freezer and extension cord. Naturally, it’s got to be a 3-pronged, grounded kind.
- Keep the entire wiring run short or, to be exact, below 50 feet.
- Don’t even think about daisy-chaining your cords!
- Plug in ONLY the freezer into the extension cord. All the better if you buy a heavy-duty one that only has a solo socket.
- Keep your setup contained in a single room as much as possible. This way, you prevent the wiring from running short, and the extension cord is less likely to be disturbed.
- That being said, exert effort in keeping the cord protected. Placing it in a position where people won’t kick, nudge, or trip on it (by accident or otherwise) goes a long way.
To summarize my answer to “Can you plug a freezer into an extension cord?”, yes, it’s possible. However, anyone who thinks it’s fine to make it a permanent setup is practically sticking their necks out and looking for trouble.
If you intend to set up your freezer in such a manner, the least you can do is follow every recommendation I shared here. Remember, you should install a dedicated circuit for it for the sake of safety as well.
I am Edwin Jones, in charge of designing content for Galvinpower. I aspire to use my experiences in marketing to create reliable and necessary information to help our readers. It has been fun to work with Andrew and apply his incredible knowledge to our content.