To do or not to do! A question probed by many, whether to use an extension cord with a fireplace or not. It is indeed tempting to use an extension cord, I mean we humans tend to favor convenience more than the contrary.
I am not sure whether it is due to safety concerns or just a choice, but these days many homes have unused fireplace and mantel. As it happens these fireplaces are dying to get back in action and all they need is an aesthetically crafted electric fireplace log set.
Since there are electric fireplaces around logic dictates that there has to be a power outlet as well, and yes, there are. These outlets are usually located on the wall right adjacent to the electric fireplace. This beats the purpose of using an extension cord.
Still, if you are adamant about using it then there’s one glaring fact involving extension cord which you must know. Statistically speaking extension cords are one of the leading causes of electrical fires. (Doesn’t look that enticing now does it?).
Now, why is that? Well to understand that let's discuss this in detail. But first.
Domestic electric wiring
Before we get to the extension part we need to get an inkling about our home's electrical wiring.
Each house has a different range of amperes, and depending upon the year of construction the amperes tend to vary. Usually, our homes use a 20A fuse for large appliances power outlets, an electric fireplace is one such appliance.
As it happens there is always a power outlet near your fireplace, typically on the same wall. This means using an extension cord would be impractical unless of course, you are using that outlet for somethi8ng else.
If you are then I suggest you find some other outlet (on a different circuit) for those appliances and leave this one for the fireplace.
Avoid having an electric fireplace and other heavy appliances like refrigerators on the same circuit. There’s a possibility of tripping your electrical panel, best to avoid such an avoidable situation by keeping them on a separate circuit.
Types of Extension Cords
Typically extension cords come in 2 types, one has a two-prong connection, another one with 3 prong connection. The former is designed for lightweight use, needless to say, you should never use it for an electric fireplace.
While the 3 prong connection is much more reliant as this cord features a grounding plug that protects you from shocks, shorts, and power surges.
Always remember never to show any negligence or procrastination when it comes to power cords, especially when they are damaged. So if the cords have severed, exposed, or splitting copper wires, get rid of them immediately, or call a professional.
Electric Fireplaces and Extension Cord. Should you use it?
The issue with using an extension cord is that while transmitting a huge amount of energy, extension cords tend to overheat. This heat causes the outer PVC coating to melt. This meltdown exposes the inner live copper wires which is how you set your house on fire.
So all this information suggests that it is better to avoid using an extension cord at all costs. Honestly though using an electric fireplace through an extension cord is completely misguided and simply dangerous.
With all being said if you still have to use an extension cord do it on a temporary basis. In that case, make sure the extension cord that you are using is on par with these following safety requirements.
Another thing to remember, might sound silly but never conceal/sweep the cords under the rug in order to keep it hidden from kids or pets. This is yet another reason why the extension cord catches fire.
So what did we learn? That using an extension cord is never a good idea.
The thing is every electric fireplace has an in-built electric cord, and these cords are typically 6 to 7 feet long. The length of the cord is always of the adequate size, so much so that once you plug the cord you can hardly notice its whereabouts.
So here the use of an extension cord is almost always a choice, so even if it is make it a last resort.
For me, just the thought of setting the house on fire while using an extension cord because of one cold night is downright preposterous.
So keep these above-mentioned points in mind when someone suggests the use of an extension cord, and have a safe and warm fireplace experience.