Holiday decor is in full swing! However, when it comes to large lighting displays, it’s important to know the safest steps to powering them up. Extension cords often play a large role in supplying this power, which means it’s the perfect time to review your outdoor extension cord know-how.
Extension Cord Safety Checklist ✓
- Always use a three prong, GFCI outlet when using outdoor extension cords. Two pronged plugs are unsafe, as they don’t have a grounding wire.
- Make sure that your extension cord is properly rated for outdoor use; never use an indoor cord for the outdoors.
- Never plug an extension cord into another extension cord.
- Ensure that the cord you’re using has an ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories) or UL (Underwriters Laboratories) logo on the front of the package or stamped on the product. These are trusted, thorough electrical testing facilities.
Does My Cord Work for Me?
If your GFCI outlet is within 25ft of your Holiday lights, a 16 gauge cord should work well. It can hold multiple string lights, with a current rating of 10 amps.
If your lights are over 25ft away from your GFCI outlet, then your best bet is a heavy-duty 14 gauge powerstrip.
If your extension cord usage doesn’t line up with the guidelines here, consider reevaluating your set up. Improper extension cord use can cause dangerous electrical fluctuations that may spark fire hazards, a blown fuse, or a tripped circuit.