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Leah Frances 02-05-2008 08:10 PM

Extension Cord Safety - My Husband's theory
My Dear Husband has run an extension cord along a baseboard behind one of our steam radiators. It is the appropriately sized cord for the only thing that gets plugged into it (Laptop AC cord). Sometimes the cord ends up in contact with the supply pipe for the radiator. He is under the impression that the heat from the radiator will not hurt the cord. This seems hinky to me. All I could find on the UL website said you shouldn't drape it over hot surfaces, such as a radiator. Well, DUH! But what about under it?

Thoughts? Other than finding another husband? :wink:

goose134 02-05-2008 08:14 PM

A steam radiator is unlikely to generate the heat needed to really do a number on the cord. That said, if it can be avoided, why not? The ones of great concern are the electric baseboard heaters. There are stickers on them that tell you not to hang drapes, cloth, and so on over them. These have surfaces that conceivably could ignite these types of things.

AllanJ 02-05-2008 08:50 PM

If the steam enters at the top of the radiator, the underside won't be quite as hot as the upper part. Still, some heat "radiates" downward. (As radiant energy in addition to the heat picked up by air (convection) moving upward (heat rises) through the radiator.)

The radiant energy is enough to accelerate the biodegrading of the extension cord insulation, namely the insulation might start to turn brittle and crack three years from now as opposed to eighteen.

Leah Frances 02-05-2008 08:54 PM

I've got a good IR thermometer. Is there somewhere I can find optimal operating temperatures for extension cords?

I can't rebut my DH with anything but cold hard facts.

goose134 02-05-2008 08:57 PM

The conductors inside should have their rating printed on the cord itself. As for the jacket, I'd have to say that either the NEMA website or the manufacturer would have something.

Wait. You don't know who made your cord, do you?
Let me check a few things. I'll report back.

goose134 02-05-2008 09:15 PM

Leah, I checked around and the jacket on the cords have a wide variety of limits. One was as high as 250 deg.F. Most were in the 120-140deg range. Shoot your temp scanner at the radiator at full heat and see what you find. I agree that even though it may not exceed limits, it will probably shorten the life of the cord.

Your husband being who he is, may need docs. on this and if pressed, I could link them. Who is, by the way, much like myself. I almost feel like I should live in Missouri. :whistling2:

joed 02-06-2008 04:26 PM

I don't think the heat from the radiator will damage the cord. However you should install a proper receptacle so the cord does not need to be used. Cords are for temporay use. This is not a temporary use.

Stubbie 02-06-2008 04:47 PM

Reconsider your thoughts on a new husband in some womens worlds they are much like extension cords as Joe said ........ for temporary use.

nacko 02-06-2008 05:03 PM

hinky ?

yummy mummy 02-06-2008 05:06 PM

I say go for a new husband :laughing:

BigJimmy 02-06-2008 10:06 PM


Originally Posted by yummy mummy (Post 95551)
I say go for a new husband :laughing:

Yummy, you have waaaay too much to take care of with your vapour barrier (and you best friend Atlantic) to be quipping here!

Carry on!

yummy mummy 02-07-2008 09:13 AM


Originally Posted by BigJimmy (Post 95634)
Yummy, you have waaaay too much to take care of with your vapour barrier (and you best friend Atlantic) to be quipping here!

Carry on!

this forum is my relaxation.........and yes Atlantic is my favourite........:yes:

J. V. 02-07-2008 10:27 AM

Extension devices and cords are one of the most dangerous methods out there. Never use an extension cord for permanent use. Even for TV's ect... Protected power extension strips are the exception.
The NEC prohibits the use of cords as you have described. Its a violation and dangerous (fire hazzard). Get rid of that cord today and get an outlet installed.
Having a real problem is about a million to one, but people do win lotteries.

Kingsmurf 02-07-2008 04:46 PM

how about springing for a couple of extra batteries for the Lap Top in exchange for the cord you can dump into the round file..give him some excra batts and an charger and maybe you'll wean him off the cord no-no ?

Leah Frances 02-08-2008 07:32 AM

The NEC has yet to prove to be a persuasive during a spousal debate in my nearly ten years of marriage. I understand that this is a bad idea. My DH does not. That's why I was hoping to find some 'hard evidence' that putting the extension cord there was a problem.

FYI: he got another new battery for Xmas. It came with another AC cord for the laptop - hence his idea to put the extension cord behind the radiator, so he could have yet another place to plug his computer in.

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