Outlets are often in short supply in the home, and an extension cord can be a great way to reach an appliance that’s just a bit too far away from an existing outlet. But should you plug an extension cord into a surge protector? The answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. There are pros and cons to plugging an extension cord into a surge protector, and it’s important to understand both before making a decision. On one hand, surge protectors can safeguard your electronics from power surges and offer convenience by allowing you to plug multiple items into one outlet. On the other hand, it can be dangerous if the extension cord is overloaded or if it isn’t rated for the type of outlet it’s plugged into. In this article, we’ll cover the pros and cons of plugging an extension cord into a surge protector, so you can make an informed decision on whether or not it’s a good idea.
Can You Plug an Extension Cord Into A Surge Protector?
Yes, you can plug an extension cord into a surge protector. However, it is important to keep in mind that the surge protector should be rated for the amount of power your device will draw. If you are plugging in multiple devices, it is important to make sure that the surge protector is rated for the total wattage of all of the devices.
How To Plug An Extension Cord Into A Surge Protector?
- Turn off the Power – Before you begin connecting your extension cord to your surge protector, it’s important to turn off the power. This is because it’s not safe or recommended to work with live electrical wires. If you’re unsure of how to safely turn off your power, then you should contact your local electricity company.
- Connect the Extension Cord to the Surge Protector – Next, you’ll need to connect your extension cord to the surge protector. There are two types of connection methods: the screw connection and the push-in connection. The screw connection method involves you screwing the two ends together and tightening them with a screwdriver. The push-in connection method requires you to push the two ends together and then rotate them until they click. After you’ve chosen the connection method, you’ll need to connect the ground wire to the ground wire of the surge protector. This is typically done using a ground wire screw, a wire clamp, or a grounding screw.
- Check the Voltage Rating of the Surge Protector – You’ll also need to check the voltage rating of the surge protector before connecting your extension cord. This is particularly important if you’re in the process of replacing an old surge protector. You’ll need to make sure that you select a surge protector with a voltage rating that’s higher than your electrical panel. For example, if your electrical panel has a 120V rating, then you’ll need to select a surge protector with a rating of at least 120V. However, it’s important to note that it’s not safe to select a surge protector with a rating that’s lower than your electrical panel. This is because it could cause an overloading of the electrical equipment and potential electrical fires.
- Connect the Surge Protector to a Power Outlet – Once you’ve ensured that the extension cord and surge protector are correctly rated, you can connect the surge protector to an electrical outlet. You can do this by removing the screws from the back of the electrical socket and placing the surge protector in line with the outlet. It’s important to remember that the surge protector should be placed in the middle of the outlet and not at the top or bottom.
- Turn on the Power – After everything has been correctly connected, you can turn on the power and enjoy the protection provided by the surge protector.
Pros Of Plugging An Extension Cord Into A Surge Protector
- Your electronics will be safeguarded from power surges – If a power surge hits your home, the surge protector will divert the current away from your equipment and into the ground. This means your computer, TV, refrigerator, and other appliances plugged into the surge protector will be protected from damage caused by a power surge.
- You can plug multiple items into one outlet – If you have a TV and a computer that needs to be plugged in, but there aren’t any outlets nearby, you can plug an extension cord into the surge protector and then plug the surge protector into the outlet. This means you can plug two appliances into one outlet, which is great for crowded homes or households with lots of electronics.
- You can use a surge protector with a long cord – A surge protector with a long cord is ideal for plugging an extension cord into. This is because it allows you to plug the extension cord into the surge protector and the surge protector into the outlet, which means you don’t have to stretch the extension cord across the room.
- Protection From Power Surges – A surge protector can help protect your electrical equipment from sudden power surges. This may be caused by an electrical storm or the side effects of a nearby lightning strike. When a surge protector is connected to your electrical equipment, it diverts any excess current away from your equipment. This is achieved as the surge protector will have a thicker and higher-resistance cord than the equipment plugged into it. This excess current will then travel through the surge protector, before being sent to the ground wire.
- Avoiding Electrical Fires – Electrical fires can be caused by the build-up of excess current in your electrical wiring. When there isn’t enough resistance between your electrical panel and your electrical equipment, the current can build up. Eventually, the wiring will reach its limits, causing a short circuit. This short circuit will see the electricity travel through the wiring to the ground. However, if a surge protector is used, it will divert the excess current and prevent a short circuit and any potential electrical fires.
- Protecting Electrical Equipment – Electrical equipment, such as computers, televisions, and refrigerators, are designed to work with a steady flow of power. However, if a surge protector is used, it will divert any excess current away from your equipment. This means that you won’t have to replace any of your electrical equipment after a power surge.
Cons Of Plugging An Extension Cord Into A Surge Protector
- You have to use an extension cord – Using a surge protector with an extension cord means you have a long, tangled cord running across your floor and furniture.
- You can remedy this by getting a surge protector with a long cord or by purchasing a short extension cord.
- You may not be able to plug all your appliances into the surge protector – Most surge protectors have a 15-amp circuit breaker, which means they can only handle a 15-amp load.
- This means you may have to unplug another appliance to plug a large appliance into the surge protector. In this scenario, you’re better off plugging the extension cord straight into the outlet without a surge protector.
Tips For Using Extension Cords And Surge, Protectors
- Make sure you’re using the right extension cord – If you’re plugging the extension cord into a surge protector, you have to make sure you’re using the right extension cord. You should use a heavy-duty extension cord that has a higher amp rating and is rated for indoor use.
- Check the circuit breaker of your surge protector – If you’re plugging an extension cord into a surge protector, make sure you have enough room on the circuit breaker to plug in the surge protector along with the extension cord. This can be tricky to figure out because surge protectors don’t come with circuit breakers. Instead, you have to account for the circuit breakers of each appliance plugged into the surge protector.
- Don’t plug more than one extension cord into a surge protector – It is important to note that surge protectors aren’t designed to handle the power coming from multiple extension cords. Never plug more than one extension cord into a surge protector — you’ll blow the circuit breaker and cause a major safety hazard.
- If you’re plugging an extension cord into a surge protector, make sure it’s plugged into an outlet that’s on a different circuit than the outlet the surge protector is plugged into. This will keep the surge protector from tripping the circuit breaker.
A surge protector can protect your electronics from power surges, so you should always plug one into an outlet near your appliances. If you have an extension cord, it’s a good idea to plug it into a surge protector. However, if you have a long extension cord, it’s best to plug it into a surge protector that’s plugged into an outdoor outlet. It’s also important to use the right type of extension cord to plug into a surge protector.