The surge protector and extension cord do have different unique roles. The surge protectors do protect you and your electronic equipment from power surges.
The electrical surges are caused by faulty wiring, lightning strikes, and many more. The extension cords do offer extra lengths for most electronics that come with short cords.
In this article, we are discussing the equipment. To find out if they can be used together, plus what will happen when you connect the two components.
Can I Plug a Surge Protector into an Extension Cord?
Yes, connecting these two components is possible. However, the extension cord should handle the same power load (or more) as the surge protector.
For example, if your surge protector cord is a 14-gauge. Then the extension cord should be 14-gauge or better. Otherwise, you will be putting excessive load on the extension, which can cause a fire hazard.
Surge Protector And Extension Cord
I’m sure you know the various what the surge protector and extension cord are. In this section, we are going to highlight their specific role in detail. The information will be of great help when using any of the equipment.
The Surge Protectors, like the name suggest, do protect electronics against spikes and power surges.
These are the sudden increase in power voltages that mostly happen during power outages, lightning strikes, and random malfunctions.
The electronics do need a certain amount of voltage to function. Excess or sudden surge of voltage can overwhelm the electronics and damage them.
Keep in mind that not all power strips can perform the functions of the surge protectors. The common ones offer an outlet and extra reach.
The extension cords are pretty popular in most households. The extension cords are not created equal. You should be aware of certain factors before making a purchase.
The most crucial factor is the gauge of the cord. The thickness of the gauge determines the amount of power the card carries.
How To Use An Extension Cord With A Surge Protector
Many people want to find out whether the surge protectors and the extension cords are compatible. Technically they are compatible and will indeed work when used together.
However, it’s against the National Electrical Code safety regulations and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The two components have not been designed to work together.
This doesn’t look very clear because, at first glance, the components look like they can accomplish the same goal in different ways. Under specific circumstances, you can use both components.
The Power Strip And The Power Surge Protector
There is a misconception about the surge protectors and extension cords. Many do confuse the roles of the surge protector and power strip.
The role of the power strip is to increase the number of outlets available. While, as mentioned, the surge protector does prevent power surge that damages electronics.
Some surge protectors have batteries to ensure it functions in a brief power outage or surges.
How To Plug The Surge Protector Into The Extension Cord
Now that you know the two components can connect, you need to know the safe way of doing it. There are several precautions that you need to take note of.
The ratings of the extension cord should match that of the surge protector. It’s because the extension cord will have to carry all the load of the devices that are connected to the surge protector.
Alternatively, the ampacity of the extension cord should be greater than that of the surge protector.
Avoid using heavy load appliances
Heavy load appliance like the space heaters is more likely to cause overload on the surge protector and extension cord. Note that daisy-chaining does increase the distance which the current has to travel.
This does increase resistance. The greater the amount of resistance means the more heat generated will be. It may cause fires.
So, it’s better to stick to appliances that do not need much power, like TVs, computers, and phones.
Use it in places with little foot traffic
You should use the extension cords and surge protectors in the open. Hiding them under the carpet will undoubtedly cause overheating.
They should, however, be used in places with little foot traffic. Otherwise, they’ll wear out quickly and be at risk of starting fires.
Always use a vetted cord
Use cords that have been vetted by an organization such as Underwriters Laboratories. The ampacity and gauge are not as crucial if the cord does not have a safety rating.
The safety rating is an assurance that the electric component was tested and met the relevant safety standards.
It’s an Adequate Short-Term Solution
Using the surge protector with the extension cord is a fire hazard. With this, you run the risk of degrading or damaging both components. But this risk is most probable when you use this setup for an extended time.
However, if you are confident that the extension cable is not worn or damaged, you can use it with a power strip. It would be best to use it for short periods; ideally, it should be four hours.
It’s best to use the setup with only the low current machines. The cord and the surge protector should be able to carry the same amount of power.
Never use a low current cord with a high current surge protector. It’ll cause chaos. If one component uses 14 gauge wires, the other component should have the same rating as well. The details about the components are always written on the packaging.
The Best Available Alternative
The best available solution is buying and using the surge protector extension cord to minimize the hassle and risk. They are also known as long cable surge protectors or power surge extension cords.
This component does offer the benefits of a surge protector. Plus, it has multiple outlets and multiple feet in the length of the power cable.
The surge protector extension cord can be used for several years without posing any risk. It’s better than when you link two incompatible components.
I guess you now know that it’s possible to connect the surge protector to the extension cord. However, you should follow all the proper precautions, like choosing components with similar power ratings.
The precautions are pretty simple and won’t cost anything. But will certainly guarantee your safety and that of your appliances. There are other solutions to this, and you should consider them first before opting for this.