Are Electrical Extension Leads Safe?

Electrical extension leads or electrical extension cords can be found in most homes and offices. We use them daily to plug in our appliances when the wall socket is too far, we use them when we need to power two or more devices. These cords allow us to have a great level of convenience when it comes to connecting power. However, just because they’re common it doesn’t mean they’re always safe to use. When dealing with electricity, you must always retain a health sense of caution. Furthermore, you must learn how to safely use electrical extension leads to stay safe.


Are Extension leads safe?

As convenient as they are, you must still be mindful of what you use your extension lead for. Just because your extension lead has four plugs, this doesn’t mean you are able to plug in anything. Certain appliances require more power than others. Overloading your extension lead can cause the wire to overheat, potentially causing a fire. As a guideline, you shouldn’t load one plug socket with more than 3,000 watts. Below is a list of appliances and how much power they need.

Appliance Power (Watts) Appliance Power (Watts)
Hairdryer 2,200w Electric Heater 2,000w
Tumble Dryer 2,500w Electric Blanket 60w
Washing Machine 2,220w Lamp 60w
Fridge 150w Radio 40w
Iron 2,800w DVD Player 28w
Hoover 2,000w Mobile Phone 12w
Toaster 2,000w Microwave 1,550w
Kettle 3,000w

Which extension lead should I buy?

With many manufacturers producing the same product, choosing the right extension lead can be often overlooked. Most people assume ‘they all do the same’ and purchase the cheapest lead. Although this may be true, when purchasing an extension lead you must consider the use. For instance, you shouldn’t use an indoor extension lead for outdoor use. Outdoor leads are built with additional protection against moisture. In addition, extension leads come in different lengths and width. The width of the wires inside dictates how much power the extension lead can safely carry.

Surge protection

It’s highly recommended to purchase extension leads with a surge protector. A surge protector is an appliance or device specifically designed to protect electrical appliances against voltage spikes. Furthermore, a surge protector works by attempting to limit the voltage supplied to an electric device by blocking or shorting to ground unwanted voltages above the safe threshold.

Choosing an extension lead with surge protection will contribute to keeping your property and family safe. It’s important to realise, a surge protector can only absorb so many surges before its ineffective. Some extension leads will have a built-in light that will alert you when the surge protection has stopped working. However, not all extension leads are built with this technology. As a general rule of thumb, we advise you to replace the surge protection every 2 years.

Electrical extension lead guidance

  • Only purchase extension leads from trusted retailers
  • Do not use leads that appear damaged (exposed internal wires)
  • Do not use extension leads with burn marks
  • Be cautious of where you lay the extension lead (prevent trips & falls)
  • Do not join 2 extension lead, this can easily lead to overloading.
  • Do not use indoor leads outdoors
  • For further guidelines please click this link.