ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#212547 - 01/21/14 04:16 PM Extension cords forbidden?
SamTech Offline
New Member
Registered: 01/20/14
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Greetings Electricians,
I am a computer tech in the S.F. Bay Area.
A customer of mine has been convinced by a local electrical contractor that extension cords should NEVER be used anywhere in her house.

This has led to some inconvenient moving of furniture just to get a lamp or stereo receiver close enough to an outlet to avoid an extension cord.
I understand why you wouldn't want to do dumb things with extension cords - like connect a microwave or fridge with a $3 ungrounded cord.
But recommending none, nowhere, never? Does that make any sense to you?

Thanks - Sam
Top
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
#212548 - 01/21/14 05:15 PM Re: Extension cords forbidden? [Re: SamTech]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5316
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I suppose that this issue had to arise, sooner or later.

Extension cords, strictly speaking, are not forbidden. A properly sized cord is perfectly proper way to temporarily bring power to where you need it.

The key word here is 'temporarily.'

The code has rules for the placement of receptacles. Unfortunately, these rules are often used improperly as a 'design guide.' as a way for the contractor to do as little as possible, yet still 'meet code.' As a direct result, receptacle are often very poorly placed - at least, poorly placed for nearly ever occupant.

It's very rare for a homeowner to have any say where the receptacles will be placed; the tenant never has a say.

So, there are millions of extension cords bought every year. I suspect that the vast majority of them are less than six feet long. These are plugged in and left in place - for years at a time. When you move, the new occupant will probably buy an identical cord to use exactly as you did.

IMO, simple code compliance is no substitute for good design. Yet, that's not the way the world works. The simple reality is that cords are here to stay- and no parsing of the code book will change that.
Top
#212549 - 01/21/14 07:03 PM Re: Extension cords forbidden? [Re: SamTech]
HotLine1 Offline


Member
Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6776
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
The 'reasoning' fot the NEC required spacing is to avoid extension cords. Most lamps & appliances are equipped with a 6' factory cord, which theoreticaly provides a receptacle that 'should' be within reach.

Take an 'older' home....built before the 'spacing', some have only two receptacles per room.

BTW, welcome to ECN
_________________________
John
Top
#212550 - 01/21/14 07:17 PM Re: Extension cords forbidden? [Re: SamTech]
gfretwell Offline


Member
Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9039
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
The huge loophole in the extension cord rule is a surge protecting plug strip with a breaker.

That usually even passes muster with the fire marshal if you are not egregiously abusing the rule.
_________________________
Greg Fretwell
Top
#212552 - 01/21/14 09:03 PM Re: Extension cords forbidden? [Re: SamTech]
SamTech Offline
New Member
Registered: 01/20/14
Posts: 2
Loc: CA
Thanks all of you - Greg - I especially appreciate the point about the surge protector with breaker.
All of the computer gear is plugged in with two of those - each one plugged into an outlet (not daisy-chained)

So I will just recommend the surge-protector solution for the other locations.

Thanks!
Top
#212559 - 01/22/14 09:19 AM Re: Extension cords forbidden? [Re: SamTech]
HotLine1 Offline


Member
Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6776
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
_________________________
John
Top
#212584 - 01/24/14 04:36 PM Re: Extension cords forbidden? [Re: SamTech]
westom Offline
New Member
Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 3
Loc: us
Originally Posted By SamTech
So I will just recommend the surge-protector solution for the other locations.
A much safer alternative is a power strip without surge protector parts. Adding those tiny protector parts has a history of causing house fires. A problem so serious in some power strips that, well, everyone should be aware of an APC warning last Oct of some protector strips that should be removed immediately. The problem exists with all power strip surge protectors. Some are more dangerous than others. Safest power strips have that 15 amps breaker, a UL listing, and no protectors parts that are the reason for fires.


Edited by westom (01/24/14 04:36 PM)
Top

Member Spotlight
Member Since: 12/24/00
Posts: 4259
New in the Gallery:
SE cable question
Featured:

2017 NEC and Related
2017 NEC
Now Available!

Shout Box


Who's Online
0 registered (), 54 Guests and 8 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
 
New in the Gallery:
SE cable question
 
Top Posters (30 Days)
Admin 47
HotLine1 43
gfretwell 19
Ruben Rocha 12
Trumpy 9
 
Newest Members
Freecrowder, clee512, Jdscott2005, FAIZAN, Regitest2

ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals