Here Are The Standards for Extension Cords As Defined By The Consumer Product Safety Commission
The National Electrical Code says that many cord-connected appliances should be equipped with polarized grounding type plugs.
Polarized plugs have one blade slightly wider than the other and can only be inserted one way into the outlet. Polarization and grounding ensure that certain parts of appliances that could have a higher risk of electric shock when they become live are instead connected to the neutral, or grounded, side of the circuit. Such electrical products should only be used with polarized or grounding type extension cords.
Voluntary industry safety standards, including those of Underwriters Laboratories Inc.(UL), now require that general use extension cords have safety closures, warning labels, rating information about the electrical current, and other added features for the protection of children and other consumers.
In addition, UL-listed extension cords now must be constructed with #16 gauge or larger wire, or be equipped with integral fuses. The #16 gauge wire is rated to carry 13 amperes (up to 1560 watts), as compared to the formerly-used # 18 gauge cords that were rated for 10 amperes (up to 1200 watts).
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