Extensions and cables
Use our online calculator to check you are not overloading sockets in your home.
The more wall sockets you have in your home the less you will need an extension cable or adapter. However, many portable electrical items like lamps and radios are supplied with relatively short cables. So sometimes the use of extensions can be unavoidable, but beware of the following dangers.
- Damaged cable, due to leads being walked over, continually bent at the same point or stored badly.
- You can trip or fall over taut, over-stretched cable.
- Leads on power tools frequently become tangled, leading to one of the conductors eventually failing – this could cause danger.
- Overuse of multi-way adapters or adapter blocks, which increases the risk of fire
An extension lead should only be used when it is not possible to reach a wall socket with the equipment cable. When the use of an extension cable is unavoidable – follow these simple suggestions:
- Only use an extension lead which was bought ready-assembled.
- We recommend that no extension lead be more than 15 metres long.
- Only use extension leads fitted with suitably insulated connectors and plugs. (Never join two lengths of flexible cable by twisting the bare ends of wires together.)
- Position an extension lead carefully to prevent any risk of damage.
- If the cable has to cross a pathway, cover it with a rubber protector strip.
- Always check that leads, plugs and sockets are undamaged.
- Always check the extension lead plug contains the correctly rated fuse for the equipment being used.
- If using a cable drum extension lead, it should be completely unwound to avoid overheating.
- For general use, 2-core extension leads should not be used.
Get rid of and replace damaged extension leads – never repair them. Sticky tape isn’t enough. It’s not strong enough and won’t provide enough protection from electric shock.