Toasters are extremely useful appliances that are commonly found in everyone’s kitchen nowadays. With their easy-to-use features, they make your mornings and evenings better. Are you planning to call your friends in the evening or are you starving at night? With a toaster at home, you can make delicious snacks late at night in just a few minutes.
The common problem that almost everybody faces is where to place the toaster in the kitchen. It’s very difficult to keep it inside a cupboard and bring it outside every time it’s needed. Therefore, one must ideally keep it in the open, at a safe place, close to a wall outlet so that it can be powered easily.
Hardly a few people find a wall outlet at a suitable position to use the toaster. The only option left is to use an extension cord, anywhere, anytime. If you too are tired of finding a suitable spot to keep your toaster and use it whenever you want, you must have thought of using an extension cord. In this guide, we have discussed whether one can plug a toaster into an extension cord and how safe it is.
Can I Plug A Toaster Into An Extension Cord?
Yes, one can plug a toaster into a heavy duty extension cord with the right gauge and length, whose amperage rating is higher than that of the toaster.
It’s however better not to connect any high-wattage appliance to an extension cord for safety reasons. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, one shouldn’t use extension cords of any kind for electrical appliances that require a heavy flow of electricity like air conditioners, space heaters, toasters, refrigerators, etc.
However, if you urgently need your toaster and there’s no wall outlet available, you can use a heavy-duty extension cord with caution only for temporary purposes, until a permanent solution is found.
What Happens If You Plug a Toaster Into An Extension Cord?
Toasters can require around 1500 watts of current to operate. Some models require up to 1850 Watts. That’s a lot for an ordinary extension cord to handle. Any ordinary extension cord would easily overload, get overheated and consequently meltdown. It can even cause a fire break out.
Also, normal extension cords are thin and lengthier. The extra length increases the resistance while current flows through the cord. Because of this, the toaster has to work harder to draw the necessary amount of current. This produces more heat in the process. That’s another reason for a major accident. If you are using an extension cord, make sure it’s heavy duty and of a shorter length for minimum resistance.
Do not make it a practice to plug toasters into extension cords whenever wall outlets aren’t available.
Even if you have heavy-duty high-quality extension cords at home, it’s better to plug appliances like toasters directly into the wall outlet. Make it a point to install as many wall outlets as possible at your home so that you can use your appliances safely.
This simple step can prevent major accidents and keep everyone safe. Remember even while using a heavy duty extension cords, chances of overloading and electrical fires remain. Therefore, being a responsible homeowner, it’s your duty to keep your home safe.
Is It Safe To Plug A Toaster Into An Extension Cord?
Yes, as long as you are using the right heavy-duty extension cord, plugging a toaster into it is safe. The key here is to select a heavy-duty extension cord whose amperage and wattage rating is higher than that of the toaster. The gauge and length also has to be appropriate. In short, the extension cord you choose must be well designed so as to handle the heavy flow of electricity that a toaster requires.
Choosing an ordinary extension cord for a toaster can be disastrous. It can even put an entire house on fire. Therefore, before you plug a toaster into an extension cord, you must ensure it’s the right kind of extension cord. Make sure it’s not damaged. There shouldn’t be any cuts, frays or scratches on the cord.
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Safety Tips: Things To Know Before Plugging A Toaster Into An Extension Cord
Besides picking the right kind of extension cord, there are other factors to keep in mind. While using electrical appliances with an extension cord, going an extra mile for safety is always advised. Let’s go through some of the important safety tips one must keep in mind while using an extension cord.
Pick an extension cord with a higher amperage rating and wattage rating
The most important factor here is the capacity of the extension cord. It must be equipped to handle the amount of current that a toaster requires to power it sufficiently. This is possible only when the amperage rating and the wattage rating of the extension cord is equivalent to or higher than that of the toaster.
Usually, a toaster would require around 1100 Watt to 1850 Watts of electricity. It varies according to the model and size. Obviously, the higher the wattage, the more current it will draw.
A 1500 Watt toaster would draw 12.5 amps of current if it’s connected to a 120 V outlet. If the same toaster is connected to a 220 V outlet, it would require only 6.8 amps. Considering the first case, you must pick an extension cord of 20 amps to keep space for breathing. For the latter case, you are advised to use a heavy duty extension cord with a lesser amperage rating.
Choose the right gauge
The gauge determines the thickness or diameter of the cord. It’s important because the less the gauge, the more is its capacity to carry current. If you have to power a toaster, you must pick a 12 gauge heavy-duty extension cord. It would handle around 20 amps of current. If the toaster requires 1100 watts, a 14 gauge extension cord would be sufficient.
Picking an extension cord of the right length
Just like the amperage rating and the watt rating, the length of the extension cord also matters. Always go for an extension cord of a shorter length. That is because with increase in length, the resistance also increases.
When the resistance increases, both the toaster and the cord experience more pressure. Eventually, the toaster’s longevity is affected while the extension cord is overloaded. By now you know the dangers of overloading.
Making Certain It Is Certified
Usually homeowners do not do enough research before picking the ideal extension cord. That’s another reason why manufacturers advise people to not think of using an extension cord with electrical appliances because they know that average customers do not make any effort in finding the right, certified extension cord and instead would buy an ordinary one.
A lot of people do not even know that they must check the certification of the extension cord before buying it. If an extension cord doesn’t have proper labels, it’s sure to be fake and defective. Using such an extension cord puts the entire house at risk.
Always buy a good-quality extension cord that has the UL or CE certification label imprinted on it. If you fail to understand whether the extension cord shown to you is authentic or not, consult an expert before buying it.
Pick a grounded extension cord
It’s important to plug an extension cord into a grounded outlet while running any kind of electrical appliance through it. The grounding wire ensures everyone’s safety and makes a safe path for the electrical current to flow, in case there’s overloading or anything wrong with the toaster.
If the toaster starts to malfunction and shoots sparks, the current would flow through the extension cord. Now, if the extension cord is connected to a three-prong grounded outlet, that current would pass into the ground, thus preventing any further accidents.
Do not plug multiple devices
Never run multiple devices on an extension cord at the same time, especially when you are already running a heavy-duty electrical appliance like a toaster.
Ideally, you should connect the toaster to a separate wall outlet. In that case, too you mustn’t plug any other device into the same outlet. It’s dangerous. It overloads the extension cord which can lead to a meltdown, electrical fire hazard or electrocution.
Always stay conscious while using an extension cord and never make such mistakes.
Do not run the extension cord on the floor
A lot of homeowners tend to run the extension cord on the floor, without knowing it’s completely unsafe and risky. If you use extension cords with a lot of your appliances regularly, you must be aware of this mistake you are making.
When you run your cord on the floor and hide it beneath the carpet or rug, you expose it to more wear and tear. With constant foot traffic, the cord is bound to get damaged.
A damaged extension cord is extremely dangerous. Anyone stepping on it can receive severe shocks. Therefore keep the extension cord somewhere safe, away from everyone’s reach.
The Bottom Line
By now you know how to use a toaster oven safely with an extension cord. All experts and appliance manufacturers advise against this practice, you can opt for an extension cord as an alternative only when there’s no other option.
However, be aware of the risks that come with this practice. Make sure to pick a top-quality extension cord whose amperage rating, length, and gauge are appropriate. Also, ensure that you plug the extension cord into the toaster and wall outlet firmly.
With these safety tips, the chances of accidents are highly reduced. So do not forget to follow them and keep everyone healthy and safe.