Do Extension Cords Use More Electricity?

An appliance plugged in with an extension cord consumes more energy than one hooked directly into the wall. This increase is insignificant for small purchases, but it will mount up over time for larger items.

How much power does an extension cord consume?

Electricity is not used by an extension cord. It’s just a conductor that sends power to the appliances plugged into its outlets. As a result, unless it includes indicator lights and displays, it will not drain vampire power if left plugged in.

This question won’t make sense until you learn how widespread vampire electricity is in many households.

Even when not in use, over forty products in the average American household are always connected to power.

The homeowners who forget to unplug them are unaware that the vampire power they consume adds an estimated $100 to their monthly utility bills. However, while vampire power is a problem with most household gadgets, several homeowners are unsure whether it affects extension cables.

They have no idea if extension cables even consume electricity in the first place. The answers to these inquiries will differ depending on a number of circumstances, including the extension cord’s design, length, and whether or not appliances are plugged into its outlets. Continue reading to learn how all of these factors affect an extension cord’s energy consumption.

With an extension cord, how much electricity do you lose?

For safe and efficient appliance use, consider how much the voltage will drop throughout the length of the extension cord. If the provided voltage is 120 volts and the wire carries no more than 12 amps, 50 feet of 14-gauge wire will create a voltage loss of around 3%.

What’s the harm in using extension cords?

When extension cords are used incorrectly, they can overheat and cause fires. Overloading or connecting equipment that require more watts than the cord can handle are the most common causes of overheating. Extension cords that have been damaged can potentially cause fires. Extension cords should only be used for a short period of time.

Is it necessary to unplug extension cords while they are not in use?

Extension cables are a frequent and easy way to connect electrical equipment to a power source. However, if not utilized with prudence, they might become fire dangers and endanger your personal safety.

Selecting extension cords

  • Only buy cords that have been approved by a third-party testing facility.
  • Read the instructions (if available) for information on how to use the cord properly and how much power it consumes.
  • Choose cords that are rated for the wattage of the gadgets they’ll be utilized with. The gauge of a cord indicates its size: the lower the number, the bigger the wire and the greater electrical current it can safely take.
  • Think about how long you’ll need. Shorter cables of the same gauge can handle more current than longer cords of the same gauge.
  • Thick, circular, low-gauge extension cords are ideal for use with larger equipment. You can utilize thin or flat wires for smaller appliances and electronics.

Using extension cords

  • To fit into a two-prong outlet, never remove the extension cord’s grounding pin.
  • Extension wires should never be taped to the floor or stapled or nailed to surfaces.

Why are extension cords a safety hazard?

  • Heat cannot escape if the extension cord is covered, which could result in a fire.
  • Make extension cables visible and, if feasible, avoid running them through high-traffic areas. For those strolling through the area, they can be a tripping hazard.
  • Take extra precautions to avoid electric shock when using an extension cord. It’s crucial to ensure sure it’s not submerged in water or snow. If you’re going to use an extension cable outside, be sure it’s weatherproof.

Also, keep in mind that extension cables are only meant to be used as temporary wiring solutions. Consider improving your home’s electrical system if you find yourself using them on a regular basis.

What consumes the most electricity in your home?

The breakdown of energy use in a typical home is depicted in today’s infographic from Connect4Climate.

It displays the average annual cost of various appliances as well as the appliances that consume the most energy over the course of the year.

Modern convenience comes at a cost, and keeping all those air conditioners, freezers, chargers, and water heaters running is the third-largest energy demand in the US.

One of the simplest ways to save energy and money is to eliminate waste. Turn off “vampire electronics,” or devices that continue to draw power even when switched off. DVRs, laptop computers, printers, DVD players, central heating furnaces, routers and modems, phones, gaming consoles, televisions, and microwaves are all examples.

A penny saved is a cent earned, and being more energy efficient is excellent for both your wallet and the environment, as Warren Buffett would undoubtedly agree.

Is it true that leaving wires plugged in consumes electricity?

Yes, to put it succinctly. Even when switched off, a range of electronic equipment and appliances, such as televisions, toasters, lamps, and more, can consume electricity when plugged in.

A “phantom load” or “vampire energy” is a term used to describe this phenomena. Any electronic equipment or appliance that consumes electricity when turned off but remains connected into an outlet is referred to as a phantom load. These appliances and electronic devices give the amenities we expect in today’s world, but they also squander energy and money. According to the US Department of Energy, 75% of the electricity used to power home devices and appliances is spent when they are turned off.

Which appliances use the most electricity when plugged in but turned off?

Your home or apartment is full of vampires (appliances and electronics) who consume electricity even when they’re switched off. We’ll go over some of the worst offenders that cause phantom energy loads and increased utility bills in this section.

Electronics in your entertainment center

When you switch off the television, it isn’t truly turned off. It’s just sitting there, waiting for someone to click the remote’s button, and that takes energy. Energy is used by televisions to remember channel lineups, language preferences, and the current time. When turned off, DVD players, DVRs, video game consoles, cable or satellite boxes, and stereos all use electricity.

Home office equipment

Even when turned off, home office equipment including power strips, desktop computers, monitors, printers, lamps, and anything with a digital display can require electricity.

Kitchen appliances

Microwaves, coffee makers, mixers, smart speakers, toasters, and other kitchen gadgets can consume a lot of energy, which might raise your power bill.

How to reduce electricity use for appliances that are plugged in but not turned on

Unplugging appliances and electronics every night or when not in use is the greatest approach to prevent them from wasting electricity when they’re plugged in but turned off. That is, however, inconvenient and difficult to remember. Some of your devices may even need to be left on in standby mode in order to function properly. Although it may be annoying at times, unplugging as many equipment and appliances as possible when not in use might help you save money on your next electricity bill.

Here are some extra suggestions for conserving electricity when your appliances and electronics are plugged in:

  • On power strips, group appliances and electronics together and turn them on only when they’re needed; nevertheless, be careful not to overload your power strip.
  • Screen savers do not lower monitor energy consumption; a better energy-saving method is to put monitors in sleep mode or turn them off manually.
  • When you’re not using your computer for 20 minutes or more, turn it off, and if you’re gone for two hours or more, turn off both the computer and monitor.
  • When the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use, unplug the chargers.
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR equipment, which uses less than one watt of standby power.

Do extension cables lose power as they go longer?

Extension cords are used to power gadgets with cables that can’t reach nearby electrical outlets. To maintain electrical safety and prevent home fires, choose the proper sort of extension cord. The next time you go to the hardware shop to get extension cables, remember these dos and don’ts.

DO Choose the Right Type of Extension Cord for Your Needs

There are three types of extension cords: occasional usage, frequent use, and tough use. Check the box or the cord itself for these designation letters to ensure you get the proper extension cords for your needs:

  • W denotes a cord intended for use outside. The insulation is the most significant distinction between indoor and outdoor extension cords. Indoor cords are far less heavy-duty and feature bright orange rubber, plastic, or vinyl covers, whereas outdoor cords have bright orange rubber, plastic, or vinyl covers.
  • The letter J denotes that the cord has normal 300-volt insulation. The cord is designed for heavier use with 600-volt insulation if there is no J marking.

DO Buy Three-Prong Plug Extension Cords

Two or three prongs are available on standard extension cords. The first prong is “hot,” the second is “neutral,” and the third is a ground wire path. By providing a safe area for power surges to disperse, this third prong dramatically decreases the risk of shock and electrical fires.

Of course, three-prong extension cables can only be used with three-prong outlets. If your home’s electrical wiring is old, you may need to upgrade it before replacing your outlets with modern three-prong types that are safer to use.

DON’T Overload Your Extension Cords

Every cord has a maximum amperage rating, or the highest amount of electricity it can safely carry. Examine the gadget you intend to connect and select an extension cord with a greater amp rating. If you plan to connect many devices, sum up all the amp requirements to make sure the extension cord isn’t overloaded.

Divide the wattage by 110 to convert the rating to amps if the power requirement of a device is given in watts.

If the cord you’re thinking about doesn’t have an amp rating, you can figure out how much current it can carry by looking at its wire gauge. The wire’s capacity increases as the gauge decreases. Follow the following guidelines:

  • Light-duty applications call for a 16-gauge extension cord (holiday lights, portable fans, hedge trimmers, etc.).
  • For medium-duty applications, a 14-gauge cord is used (lawnmowers, power drills, table saws, etc.).
  • For heavy and super heavy duty applications, a 10- to 12-gauge cord is used (chainsaws, circular saws, shop vacs, air compressors, etc.).

When picking the correct type of extension cord, you should also consider cord length in addition to amperage and gauge. Longer cords produce higher electrical resistance, resulting in less power being delivered to the connected device. To avoid power loss, use a cord that is the right length, especially if you’re using a gadget with a high amperage rating.

DON’T Plug Sensitive Electronics into Ordinary Extension Cords

Surge protectors and extension cords are not the same thing. Surge protectors are designed to deflect or block excess electricity by grounding it. Surge protectors (or extension cables with built-in surge protection) are essential for protecting sensitive equipment from even mild surges.

When using an extension chord, how long should it be used?

When two identical cords are plugged into each other, their current capacity is cut in half, which can lead to voltage drop and overheating. Extension cables should not exceed 100 feet in length in general. The maximum cord length can be readily exceeded by inserting one extension cord into another.

Is it possible to connect a television to an extension cord?

It is quite safe to connect a television to an extension cord. Extension cords are only dangerous when they are overloaded with heavy equipment such as refrigerators. If an extension cord is already powering other heavy-duty appliances, a television set will overload it.

However, if the TV is the only device connected to the extension cord, there is no need to be concerned. Surges will not be protected by the extension cord (unless the manual says that it has surge protection). The usage of an extension cord, on the other hand, is unlikely to cause a fire or electrocution.