Galvin Power is reader-supported. When you buy via our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more

Why Are Extension Cords Unsafe? – 3 Main Reasons

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

why are extension cords unsafe

Extension cords are essential tools for different areas, such as a DIY workstation, office, or even a normal room. Using them will let you supply electricity to any part of a space. Moreover, depending on how many outlets the extension has, it will energize multiple devices at once.

However, this equipment can also promote hazards. To know why are extension cords unsafe, read below.

Are Extension Cords Bad? Reasons Why Extension Cords Are Unsafe


Are extension cords dangerous? Yes, they can be potentially hazardous at times, especially if used improperly. Here are the possible hazards they can cause to your home.

1. Fire Hazards


Most of the time, an extension cord fire hazard occurs when the cable has been damaged due to age or rough usage. This leads to higher likelihood of short circuits, which cause fires.

Another reason for the damage is when you misuse or overload an extension cord. Plugging in multiple devices at a time may result in the overheating of wires as they exceed their rating, which results in a burnt extension cord.

Avoid using too many high-load appliances in a single connection to prevent an overloaded extension cord. Also, only pair the latter with an appropriate rating for every application.

Additionally, an extension cord should not be used to power equipment on a permanent basis as it is not designed for it. If you need to use electricity for a long time, you can install a fixed circuit or outlet instead.

2. Electric Shock Hazards


Like any other energized circuit, an extension cord connected to any outlet can cause electrocution, so you must be careful when using it. Moreover, not all types of extension cords can be used in different applications.

If you want to use them outside your house, you should purchase an outdoor-rated cable and a weatherproof cover to avoid circuit malfunction in the rain.

Furthermore, it is a good idea always to check the cord before use to see if there is damage to any part of it. If you see a breakage, do not try to repair it, especially if you don’t have enough knowledge of electronics.

3. Tripping Hazards


An extension cord can be a hazard if you do not properly store or position it. For instance, you can get injuries when slipping and falling over the cord.

To prevent such a thing from happening, you should use a tool such as a floor cord cover in high-traffic areas like doorways. Do not put an extension cord under rug, as it is extremely dangerous and can be a fire hazard.

Ways to Protect Extension Cords From Damage


Improper use of cords may cause early damage or make them unsafe. To avoid these instances, check out these tips on properly using your extension cords.

  • Unplug the cables when they are not in use to save energy and lower your electric bill.
  • Store extension cords properly in a dry place to keep them in good condition at all times.
  • When disconnecting an extension cord or any power cord from an outlet, it is best to hold the plug rather than the cord. Simple mishandling can lead to damaged electrical cords; plus, if there is crack in the insulation, you may be electrocuted.
  • Extension cords get hot when used, so do not cover them with anything that may generate more heat.
  • Plugging two extension cords together is dangerous and may cause the overloading of circuits, so it is not a good idea to do this.
  • Power strips should not be used more than how many days? Well, if you need them for months on end, it is better to install new circuits.

Can You Get an Electric Shock From an Extension Cord?


Without a doubt, an extension cable is a very convenient tool. However, there is a risk of getting an electric shock while utilizing it. To raise your awareness, below are some dangers of extension cords.

Depending on how high the voltage is, its effect on our body will differ. You can experience a tingling sensation if the electricity that flows through your body is only 0.25 mA.

However, if you get electrocuted by an extension cord connected to a 120v outlet, it may result in a more severe muscle spasm. On the other hand, if the rating is more than 500v, you can get a deep burn that may lead to death.

Aside from said circumstances, some unexpected consequences may also appear a few weeks or months after electrocution. This is because electricity don’t affect all body parts the same way.


Knowing why are extension cords unsafe will give you an understanding of the danger they can cause to your home. As a result, you’ll know to use them responsibly to avoid any potential hazards.

Always remember that the safety of anything, such as extension cords, is dependent on our habits. As a friendly reminder, remember that tinkering with cables is not recommended and is against the NEC code. Therefore, replacing broken cords is much better and safer.

5/5 - (2 votes)