Have you bought a new freezer recently? Are you shifting your old freezer from one room to the other? Well, neither of these two cases would be a problem if you find a receptacle in close vicinity to connect the freezer.
But, if you discover that there’s no receptacle within the range of the power cord, you would be left with two options: either you need to install a new receptacle somewhere close to the freezer or you need to adjust the position of the freezer accordingly.
Now, if neither of the above two options are possible, the only way to plug in the freezer is by using an extension cord. A lot of homeowners even do the same without being properly informed of the consequences and the safety tips. Most experts forbid homeowners to connect the freezer to an extension cord.
In this guide, we have discussed whether or not plugging a freezer into an extension cord is safe. Besides that, this guide also answers various other questions that are mostly asked by homeowners concerning the safety tips that must be followed while connecting a freezer with an extension cord.
If you are willing to know more in this regard, continue to read below.
Can You Plug A Freezer Into An Extension Cord?
If you are wondering whether you can plug a freezer into an extension cord, know that it’s safe to plug your freezer into an extension cord. However, there are some important facts you must keep in mind. Make sure you connect your freezer to a heavy duty extension cord, the one that’s specially designed to power these heavy duty electrical appliances.
Homeowners shouldn’t connect a freezer to any ordinary extension cord as it’s dangerous. Only a heavy duty extension cord can cater to a freezer’s power requirements.
Any ordinary extension cord would definitely fail to handle the high flow of electricity, causing overheating or melting the insulation, ultimately risking a fire hazard.
If you aren’t aware of the consequences of using an ordinary extension cord for your freezer, continue reading below.
What Happens When You Plug A Freezer With An Extension Cord?
If you choose any ordinary extension cord, the cord is likely to get overloaded. As a result, it can ignite objects surrounding it, like carpets or curtains, objects that have a tendency to catch fire. If the cable continues to be overheated for a long stretch of time, your entire house can burn down.
The greatest risk of connecting a freezer with an extension cord is a fire. When electricity flows through any conductor, it experiences resistance in the process. This generates heat.
Smaller cables provide high resistance, thereby generating more heat. Now, if an ordinary extension cord is made to handle such high volumes of current, the heat will continue to increase, ultimately melting the jacket and causing a fire.
Also, when electricity flows through a smaller wire and encounters high resistance, there are high chances of voltage drops. When the voltage fluctuates repeatedly and this issue remains unchecked, the freezer’s motor can burn out.
Sometimes, the manufacturer can refuse to get it replaced, even if it’s within the warranty period, if they understand that the owner connected the appliance to an extension cord.
Always remember that freezers do not like electrical fluctuations that occur when the cord gets overheated. No matter how convenient it’s to connect the freezer with an extension cord, it’s a risky practice.
Continue to read below to find out how you can ensure safety by finding the ideal extension cord for your freezer.
Is It Safe To Plug the Freezer Into An Extension Cord?
Ordinary extension cords aren’t safe to be used for powering heavy duty electrical appliances like a freezer, microwave, mini fridge, etc. It’s safe to plug your freezer into an extension cord only when the extension cord is specially built to handle the heavy flow of electricity that these appliances require.
While using an extension cord to power a freezer, ensure that there’s no other appliances plugged into the same extension cord at the same time.
Make sure the extension cord you are using is properly grounded. Also, check the amperage rating of it and see if it’s equivalent to that of the freezer.
To ensure the extension cord is sufficient to power the freezer, you must choose an extension cord with 10 or 12 gauges, along with an appropriate wattage rating.
Ideally, one must plug freezers into wall outlets. Even better, if your freezer has a dedicated circuit of its own. This is an important safety requirement which prevents overheating. However, if you can’t establish a new circuit, ensure that the extension cord you have chosen is appropriate for the purpose.
Safety tips: Things To Know Before Plugging A Freezer Into An Extension Cord
Now that you know it’s safe to plug your freezer into an extension cord, there are a few safety considerations. If you follow them, the damage to the appliance and chances of a hazard are reduced. Let’s go through the safety tips one by one below:
Using the Right Gauge
Choosing a 10-12 gauge freezer extension cord would be the safest option, if one is planning to use it to power the freezer. However, a 14 gauge cable would also work.
Never go for 16 or 18 gauge extension cords because the extra current that is needed by the compressor will overheat the cord. Always remember that a 16 gauge or 18 gauge cord is for smaller appliances like lamps.
Use the Shortest Cord Possible
The shorter the length of the cord, the better it is. The voltage drop across a longer cord is more to handle. The freezer’s compressor in that case has to work at a lower voltage, which affects its cooling. If this issue persists for long, it affects the functioning of the compressor, ultimately damaging the appliance.
Use a Single Extension Cord
If you do not have an extension cord that’s long enough to reach the receptacle, never think of using two extension cords. The electrical code as well as the fire code forbids homeowners against this. Instead of using two extension cords, buy a longer cord for this purpose.
Buy a Grounded Extension Cord for Freezer
Needless to say, the power cord on every electrical appliance has a ground pin. That’s why you must buy a 3 wire grounding appliance extension cord and insert it securely into the grounded three pin receptacle. Never insert the cord into a two pin receptacle.
If your freezer is placed in the garage or somewhere outdoors, maybe you require it to connect to an exterior receptacle. In that case, use an extension cord that’s rated for outdoor use.
If you use an indoor extension cord for outdoor purposes, make sure the cable is alright and doesn’t have cracks or exposed wires. Using a damaged extension cord is dangerous.
Don’t Secure the Cord
If the receptacle is on the opposite side of the wall, sometimes homeowners consider it a wise idea to run the cord across the floor and hide it under a rug. It’s an extremely dangerous thing to do. This is prohibited by the electrical and fire codes and homeowners must abide by it. If the cord gets damaged over time, the entire carpet can catch fire.
Always remember that extension cords aren’t a permanent solution to your problem. Homeowners must use extension cords to power electrical appliances temporarily. Meanwhile they must make arrangements to install proper electric circuits for heavy duty electrical appliances in the proper position.
Create a Dedicated Circuit
This is perhaps the most important safety tip that every homeowner must follow. As of now, the updated electrical code mentions that every freezer or refrigerator must be plugged into a dedicated circuit with a 20 amp circuit breaker to reduce the chances of overloading.
Now if you are using an extension cord, chances are that you are plugging it into an already existing circuit. If that’s so, you must ensure there’s no other loads on that circuit to reduce the chances of overloading to the minimum.
The Bottom Line
By now you are aware of the risks and dangers associated with using an ordinary extension cord. Being a responsible homeowner, you must keep them in mind and follow the necessary safety tips not only to keep the appliance safe but also to keep others in the house safe.
While you buy an extension cord, remember to pick the right one as the wrong extension cord can be dangerous. You must choose an extension cord wisely. Any ordinary extension cord would fail to handle the high flow of electricity that a freezer requires, ultimately leading to an accident.
Last but not least, our advice to homeowners would be to conduct a thorough research on the various kinds of extension cords available in today’s market and choose one that’s specifically built for that purpose.