Usually, people carefully place washing machines where they can easily connect to wall outlets to power the device. However, sometimes, homeowners have limited wall outlets and it becomes tough to find a suitable spot close to the wall outlet.
In such cases, homeowners find no other option but to use an extension cord temporarily. Though this sounds extremely easy, it’s risky at the same time. Using an extension cord to power a washing machine comes with a lot of potential dangers.
Homeowners are usually worried about whether or not it’s safe to use an extension cord. Sometimes, they question if it’s worth taking the risks just for convenience. If you are going through a similar dilemma, this guide is for you.
Not only have we answered whether or not an extension cord is safe but we have also enlisted important tips that one must keep in mind to ensure everyone’s safety. Therefore, without wasting time any further, dive into the details.
Can You Plug A Washing Machine Into An Extension Cord?
No, any responsible homeowner shouldn’t plug a washing machine into an extension cord. It is not safe at all. We have discussed the dangers associated in this case. Keeping the dangers in mind, it’s better not to take the risk of powering a washing machine through an extension cord.
Manufacturers strictly advise homeowners against doing so. While it’s safe to use a heavy duty extension cord to power a washing machine temporarily, one must avoid using an extension cord if it’s a fully automatic washing machine.
Before you check various stores to pick the ideal extension cord, please remember that some models of washing machines have a higher amperage than other models and therefore they must only be connected to a wall outlet directly.
For safety, extension cords are a no go zone for washing machines and other larger appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators, etc. Try to make the necessary arrangements to plug your washing machine directly into a receptacle and avoid using an extension cord for your washing machine.
We have discussed the various ways in which using an extension cord can be dangerous.
What Happens If You Plug a Washing Machine Into An Extension Cord?
Using an ordinary extension cord to power a washing machine can be extremely dangerous. The following accidents can occur if anyone plugs a washing machine to an ordinary extension cord.
As a responsible homeowner you must be aware of the risks and follow the safety measures to reduce chances of accidents. Read below the risks discussed in detail.
People are always advised to connect electronic appliances to wall outlets because they have sufficient wiring, unlike extension cords. Since extension cords have lesser wiring, they are more likely to fail and get overheated and overloaded. That’s why they are more susceptible to fires.
This means that plugging a washing machine into an extension cord is extremely risky. Always try to plug the machine into a grounded electrical outlet. This ensures not only the safety and longevity of the machine but also the safety of the house.
Performance and overheating issues
The thinner the wiring, more is the resistance. This means that thin extension cords are likely to offer more resistance. This is obviously not what you want in this case.
The more the resistance, the harder will the machine work to derive its required amount of current. This puts excessive pressure on the machine, which reduces its performance and longevity.
Another problem of using thin extension cords is that the more the resistance, the more frequent the voltage drop. Now, a washing machine wouldn’t like to experience frequent voltage drops while functioning. If it continues in the long run, the machine’s motor is likely to get damaged.
Chances of electrocution
The area around the washing machine is likely to be wet all the time. When using an extension cord, be careful, as water might get into the sockets. If that happens, anyone who touches the cord would receive severe shocks. Sometimes, it can even cause death.
The above mentioned risks of using an extension cord with a washing machine make us question if it’s safe to plug a washing machine into an extension cord. The next sections of this guide answer this question in detail. Continue reading below and find out more.
Is It Safe To Plug A Washing Machine Into An Extension Cord?
No, it is not safe to plug a washing machine into an extension cord, even if the extension cord used is a heavy duty one. Though these cords are specifically designed to handle the heavy flow of current that large appliances require, plugging a washing machine into an extension cord would still be dangerous. Hence, it’s better to avoid doing so.
While it’s less dangerous to use a heavy duty extension cord, there are some safety tips that one must remember while using a heavy duty extension cord. We have discussed some of them below.
Safety Tips: Things To Know Before Plugging A washing machine Into An Extension Cord
If you go through the user manual that comes with your washing machine, you would notice that it doesn’t advise users to use a washing machine with an extension cord.
Keeping the safety in mind, yes, one must avoid using an extension cord for a washing machine. However, if you have no other option but to use an extension cord, you must keep in mind the following safety tips.
The extension cord must be equally heavy like your washing machine’s cord. Thin utility cords are suitable for large appliances like a washing machine. The gauge determines the thickness of the cord and the thicker the cord, the better it is. Ideally one must choose an extension cord of 10 or 12 gauges.
Always go for shorter extension cords. The longer the cord, the more will be the resistance. As a result, the washing machine would have to work harder to draw the required amount of current for its functioning. Now, if the machine continues to work harder for a long time, its longevity automatically decreases.
When you decide which extension cord to pick, don’t forget to match the rated wattage of that extension cord to that of your washing machine. You can find the wattage reading of your washing machine either in the front or in the manufacturer’s website.
The wattage of the washing machine shouldn’t be more than that of the cord you have chosen . If that’s so, it’s extremely dangerous to use that cord to power the machine.
Always buy a three prong cord to fit it into the three prong plug that comes with the washing machine. The third pin is the grounding pin and in fact the most important pin. The grounding pin takes care of everyone’s safety.
In case the appliance malfunctions, the grounding pin would transfer the extra electricity to the ground, thereby preventing a major accident.
Now, if the grounding pin is absent and you use a two prong cord to power your washing machine, the extra electricity will be transferred to the metal body of the washing machine. The washing machine will be fully charged and if anyone touches it by mistake, the individual would receive severe shocks.
Do not connect any other appliance while using the washing machine
How one uses the extension cord also determines safety. One mustn’t forget that large home appliances like a washing machine require large amounts of current and therefore, it wouldn’t be apt to power two devices simultaneously using the extension cord.
Even if the extension cord you have chosen is a heavy duty one, it might still get overheated and cause a fire hazard. Powering two devices from the same power source is dangerous. It increases the electrical traffic which in turn increases the pressure on the extension cord. In such circumstances, the cord is likely to fail handling such increased pressure, leading to accidents.
Therefore, always make it a point to plug only one device into an extension cord at one time.
The Bottom Line
Plugging small electronic appliances into extension cords is fine, but that shouldn’t be done with larger appliances that demand more electricity. If you have no other option but to use an extension cord to power your washing machine, that should be a temporary solution.
Make the necessary arrangements so that next time you use a washing machine, you can plug it directly into the wall outlet. Also, while looking for the ideal extension cord, research extensively. We have already listed some tips that would help you pick the right extension cord and maintain everyone’s safety.