With all the snow we just received this week in Ottawa, Ontario, we thought it’d be the perfect time to inform residents on outdoor extension cords to keep your electrical working properly and safely during the snow covered months of winter in Canada. Choosing the right outdoor extension cord can help to prevent house fires when lighting up your exterior or running power to your vehicles.
How to Buy the Right Outdoor Extension Cord?
The first and most obvious thing is to read the packaging on the cord itself for its intended use. Outdoor extension cords will have a higher amp rating as well as outdoor electrical usually requires heavier electrical loads. Another identifier is that outdoor extension cords use a bright rubber, vinyl or plastic that covers the cord and acts as insulation to protect from temperatures, moisture, and sunlight. All outdoor extension cords will have 3-prong plugs which are safer for use and reduce electrical hazard risks. Indoor extension cords can be 2-prong plugs or 3-prong plugs but outdoor extension cords will never have only 2-prongs.
Outdoor Extension Cord Categories
Occasional: used for small tools
Frequent: used for heavier duty, large tools and equipment
Rugged: used for high-amperage tools and construction sites
Reading Extension Cord Packages:
When you are reading the labels when buying extension cords they use letters as codes to describe the type of jacket (insulation) and cord use. Common labels are:
- “S” – identifies a general use and flexible cord
- “W” – identifies that it is rated for outdoor usage and wet areas
- “J” – identifies hard service and that it has 300V insulation
- “P” – identifies that it has parallel wire construction
- “T” – identifies that the jacket is made from vinyl thermoplastic
- “E” – identifies that the jacket is made from TPE rubber
- “O” – identifies that it is oil resistant
If you are unsure what label you need for your usage and amperage for your outdoor extension cord, contact us to learn more and the suggested cord for your use.
Outdoor GFCI Outlets
The exterior of your home should have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected outlets for use with outdoor extension cords. This will increase your protection and reduce the risk of fire by automatically shutting off the power if it senses there is moisture or water.
If you have any questions or would like the help of a licensed Ottawa electrician contact us for more information or a quote.