Why You Should Not Use Extension Cords on Electric Fireplaces

It may be tempting to take the easy way out and connect your electric fireplace with an extension cord. This is very dangerous and can lead to a house fire. Did you know, extension cords are one of the leading causes of electrical fires? Extension cords are not intended to be used permanently, nor should they be used for high usage appliances.

Can I Use An Extension Cord With an Electric Heater? This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get about fireplaces. While some people may have told you that they’ve done it before or it’s okay, here’s why you should not use extension cord on electric fireplaces.Extension Cord Electric Fireplace Safety

Understanding Your Homes Electrical Wiring

Typical homes will have an electrical outlet nearby the fireplace close by on the same wall. You usually won’t need to use an extension cord unless you have other devices already plugged into your closest outlet. If this is the case, try running other electrical devices to another plug, preferably one that is on a different circuit. Although your electric fireplace insert won’t use as many watts as say a dish washer or a fridge, it’s best to keep large appliances on their own circuit to prevent tripping your electrical panel.

Amperes vary by home and could be different based on the year your home was built. New homes often have a larger capacity to keep up with the technology rich generation that is always charging iPhones, tablets, and PC’s. Most homes use a 20 amp fuse for large appliance wall outlets. If you are unsure, you can open up your electrical panel and find the coordinating fuse to read it’s ampere measurement. Use caution any time you are around live wires and consult with a certified electrician if you have any doubts.

Electric Panel Wiring Diagram

Electric Panel Wiring Diagram. Image via Nachi.

Can I Use An Extension Cord With an Electric Heater?

When transferring large amounts of energy, extension cords can overheat and catch on fire. The energy being transferred through the cord will create heat and can cause the protective coating to melt. Once this happens, live wires inside your extension cord will be exposed. This is how fires start.

As stated above, extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis. Connecting an electric fireplace with an extension cord is ill-advised and just plain dangerous. In the case that you do end up using one for a short period of time, make sure that your extension cord meets these requirements:

  • 14 AWG
  • 1,875 watts or more
  • 3 wire cord with a grounding plug connection
3 prong vs 2 prong extension cord

3 prong vs 2 prong extension cord.

Extension Cords and Electric Fireplaces

Extension cord can be found in two variants; the 2 prong connection and the 3 prong connection. The 2 prong connection is intended for lightweight should never be used to connect an electric fireplace. The 3 prong extension cord features an additional grounding plug that protects against power surges, shocks, and shorts.

Remember never to operate any damaged electrical cords. This includes extension cords that are splitting, severed, or have exposed copper wires. This is very dangerous and can lead to a serious house fire. Immediately cease from using these faulty cords and contact the manufacturer to resolve the problem. One cold night isn’t worth the risk of creating a house fire that was started by an extension cord.

Gossamer Antique Ivory Electric Fireplace

The 55” Gossamer Antique Ivory Electric Fireplace. View more.

PortableFireplace.com is an online retailer of electric and ethanol fireplaces. Visit us today to see how we can help you!