Extension Cord and Power Strip Use

Drawling of an outlet with a plug and two lighting bolts.

Improper use of flexible and temporary wiring such as extension cords, multi-outlet adapters, uninterruptible power supplies, and power strips can present both fire and electrical shock hazards. The following are guidelines for proper use of extension cords and power strips at TWU.

Extension Cords

Extension cords are for temporary use only, for short periods of time (hours or days, not weeks or months!).

An example of acceptable extension cord use would be a custodian using one with a vacuum to clean a hallway carpet. An example of unacceptable use is to connect a computer to an outlet under your desk with an extension cord.

Power Strips

Power strips, multi-outlet adapters, and uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) are acceptable IF they have a resettable circuit breaker and are plugged directly into a properly installed outlet.

Power strips, multi-outlet adapters, and UPSs may never be "daisy-chained" (one plugged into another). They must be plugged directly into a properly installed outlet.

Larger appliances, such as microwaves and refrigerators, may not be plugged into a power strip or extension cord. Such appliances must be plugged directly into a properly installed outlet.

Additional Guidelines

All extension cords, power strips, multi-outlet adapters, and UPSs must be listed by a nationally recognized testing lab (e.g. UL Listed) and so marked. "Homemade" extension cords fabricated out of a length of wire and an outlet box are not permitted!

Never overload outlets or power strips; tripping circuit breakers are a warning sign not to be ignored! If you have questions about the amount of equipment that may be plugged into an outlet or power strip, contact EH&S.

Never use a three to two-prong plug adapter! If your space only has two-prong outlets, contact Facilities Management & Construction for assistance.

When using electrical equipment, including extension cords, near any source of moisture (including outdoors), the equipment must be plugged into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) equipped outlet or a GFCI adapter plugged directly into the outlet.

Never use extension cords or power strips that have any signs of damage or overheating. This includes any indication of damage to the insulation, such as a cord wrapped with electrical tape.

Below are photographic examples of the above rules for clarification. A downloadable PDF depicting the Extension Cord and Power Strip Guidelines is also available.

TWU Extension Cord & Power Strip Guidelines Examples

Page last updated 9:27 AM, May 18, 2023