Colourful twinkling Christmas lights have become the norm in Australia. Throughout December and into early January, houses are festooned with sparkling lights and roads and cul-de-sacs transformed into multi-coloured Christmas extravaganzas. A home’s exterior has become as festive as the decorations inside.

But it’s a definite no-no if you’re considering using an indoor extension cord and running power outside your home for your Christmas lights. Indoor extension cords are not designed to withstand the searing sun, moisture and temperature changes. Cords are not one-size fits all so make sure you understand the way they should be used.

Indoor extension cords

Indoor extension cords are called that for a reason - they are rated for indoor use. The female socket moulded into the end of the cord is not weather tight. They have minimal insulation and are more prone to physical damage. External extension cords are thicker, rain tight and have a safe rubber moulded female socket at the end and can carry more power over longer distances.

Indoor extension cords left outside for extended periods may break and could lead to sparking, fire and shock.

Outdoor extension cords

As mentioned, the primary difference between the two, an indoor and outdoor cord, is the insulation. Cords for outdoors have a special covering. In Western Australia the harsh sunlight could easily break down the plastic on indoor cords.

Outdoor extension cords have a higher amperage rating and are categorised depending on thickness. The lower the number the higher their amp rating. A low gauge number such as 10 is good for portable air conditions, while a 16 gauge cord is perfect for radios and low wattage lights.

Know your cord safety

There’s some general advice you can follow about cords and safety.

• Don’t try to connect extension cords together. Use the right sized extension cord for the job. • Never place them under carpets, rugs or even furniture as they could get hot. • Multiple appliances should never be run off the one cord. • Stop using a cord if it starts to feel hot to the touch. • Try not to bend them when in use as this will weaken them. • Don’t tamper with the grounding pin on your three.

Care for your extension cord

If you look after your extension cord, it will serve you well. Whether it’s an indoor or outdoor extension cord, always store it indoors. Unplug the cord when it’s not in use and when you’re removing it from the outlet, remember to pull the plug, not the cord.

Never forget that an extension cord is a temporary measure intended as a short-term wiring solution and should never be used on a permanent basis.

If you require more information or you’re looking for reliable, affordable electricians, come and talk to us. At PWA Electrical Services we pride ourselves on providing a level of workmanship that is outstanding. Read our reviews and you’ll understand why we’re the go-to electricians in Perth and the surrounding area. Give us a call today for any of your electrical requirements.