Is it safe to use an extension cord for an electric fireplace heater? The short answer is we don't recommend it.
Using an extension cord for an electric fireplace can be potentially unsafe and we aren't the one ones that don't recommend it. Electric fireplaces draw a significant amount of power, and using an extension cord can create a safety hazard for several reasons:
Electric fireplaces typically require a substantial amount of electricity to operate, and they may draw more power than a standard extension cord can handle. Using an extension cord that cannot handle the load can lead to overheating and potential fire hazards.
Extension cords have resistance, and the longer the cord, the higher the resistance. This can cause a drop in voltage, which may result in the electric fireplace not functioning correctly or efficiently.
As mentioned earlier, extension cords with inadequate power capacity can overheat. When an extension cord is overloaded, it can become a fire hazard.
Extension cords can create a tripping hazard, especially if they are run across high-traffic areas or under carpets, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.
But that said, you can use an extension cord safely if you observe a few rules.
How to Use an Electric Fireplace Extension Cord
#1 Use the Right Cord
Use number 14 AWG minimum size and rated no less than 1875 watts. The extension cord must be a three wire cord with grounding type plug and cord connection. Avoid using power strips.
Lastly, the extension cord should not be longer than 20 feet. Use the shortest length needed to reach a nearby wall outlet.
#2 Adequate Wiring
Ensure that the electrical wiring in your home can support the power requirements of the electric fireplace. If you are unsure, consult a qualified electrician.
#3 Look for Other Options
If you have an unused gas or wood burning fireplace and mantel surround, you might consider converting into a functioning feature of the home by inserting an electric fireplace log set.
It is typical to have an outlet on the wall right beside the fireplace mantel surround. With electric fireplace cords typically between six and seven feet long, you could insert an electric fireplace in your existing fireplace and not have to use an extension cord at all.
#4 Do Not Use Damaged Cords
Do not operate an electric fireplace with a damaged cord, damaged extension cord, or damaged plug as this can be a fire hazard.
Contact the cord manufacturer to see if the cord is under warranty for replacement of a damaged cord. You can have a cord repaired by a qualified service technician. Otherwise, purchase a new cord.
#5 Don't Hide Cords
Don't try to conceal the cords under the rug to hide them as this can be a fire hazard.
#6 Keep It Temporary
Extension cords are one of the leading cause of electrical fires and should only be used on a temporary basis. When they are unplugged, store them in a safe place and never use one that feels hot or looks exposed.
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