Extension Cord and Power Strip Use
Improper use of flexible and temporary wiring such as extension cords, multi-outlet adapters, uninterruptible power supplies, and power strips can present both fire and electrical shock hazards. The following is a list of rules for proper use of extension cords and power strips at TWU.
- Extension cords are for temporary use only, for short periods of time...hours or days, not weeks or months!
- An example of acceptable extension cord use would be a custodian using one with a vacuum to clean a hallway carpet.
- An example of unacceptable use is to connect a computer to an outlet under your desk with an extension cord.
- Power strips, multi-outlet adapters, and uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) are acceptable IF they have a resettable circuit breaker, and are plugged directly into a properly installed outlet.
- Power strips, multi-outlet adapters, and UPSs may never be "daisy chained" (one plugged into another). Again, all power strips, multi-outlet adapters, and UPSs must be plugged directly into a properly installed outlet.
- Larger appliances, such as microwaves and refrigerators, must not be plugged into a power strip or extension cord. Such appliances must be plugged directly into a properly installed outlet.
- All extension cords, power strips, multi-outlet adapters, and UPSs must be listed by a nationally recognized testing lab (e.g. UL Listed) and so marked. "Homemade" extension cords fabricated out of a length of wire and an outlet box are not permitted!
- Never overload outlets or power strips! Tripping circuit breakers are a warning sign not to be ignored! If you have questions about the amount of equipment that may be plugged into an outlet or power strip, contact EH&S.
- Never use a three to two prong plug adapter! If you only have two prong outlets, contact Facilities Management & Construction for assistance.
- When using electrical equipment, including extension cords, near any source of moisture or outdoors; the equipment must be plugged into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) equipped outlet or a GFCI adapter plugged directly into the outlet.
- And of course, never use any extension cord or power strip that has any signs of damage or overheating! This includes any indication of damage to the insulation, such as a cord wrapped in electrical tape.
Below are photographic examples of the above rules for clarification. A downloadable PDF depicting the Flexible Cord Examples below is also available.