Please help me choose the right extension cord

cmw0829January 17, 2011

We have a treadmill. Its manual states that the treadmill must be powered by a dedicated 15 amp outlet which we had installed. It also states that we should not use an extension cord. (I've read that manufacturers give this caution to avoid consumers using an insufficiently-powered cord.) The label on the machine reads "120V, 50/60Hz, 15 Amp."

However, we've had to reorganize the room and the cord is now about 3 feet short of the outlet.

My questions are:

- Will I damage the machine if I use an appropriate extension cord?

- Should I use a 14 gauge rated for 15 amps or would I be better off to use a 12 gauge rated for 20 amps?

- Should I use the shortest possible cord for the purpose? (I'm sure the answer to this is yes.)

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Cathy

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ionized_gw

Is there a "Watts" rating on the treadmill? Unless we know this, we might bbe making a mountain out of a molehill. Shorter is better, but sometimes it can be hard to find larger gauge (12) in shorter lengths. You kill the advantage of a larger gauge conductor by having excessive length. Sometimes I buy larger gauge cords, but them and install my own "ends". (Just be sure to wire them properly!)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 9:51PM
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wayne440

Probably not.

The 12 gauge cord is preferable.

Yes. Your problem will be that short, heavy duty cords are hard to find.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 9:52PM
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Denis421

The best short heavy duty, 15amp 12ga extension cords I found are the one's sold for us on a window airconditioner. Usually 4-6 foot long.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 11:18PM
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brickeyee

You can always purchase a longer cord and cut it and install new ends to make two extension cords.

The price of cordage is often so high (plus the ends) I purchase extension cords and cut off the female end to make power cords for shop equipment.

You can then put a single male end on any leftover piece and still have an extension cord.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 9:53AM
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cmw0829

The watts are not shown on the machine. Thanks very much for your help and suggestions. Off to look for a cord...

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 6:40AM
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brickeyee

"The watts are not shown on the machine. "

Either a current requirement (amps) or a power requirement (watts) is on the nameplate of every UL listed piece of equipment.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 2:08PM
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ontariojer

The OP said 15amps.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 2:24PM
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ionized_gw

The OP wrote that 15 amp dedicated circuit is required. That is different from the nameplate power or current consumption.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 6:24PM
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countryboymo

I think what many places call "appliance cords" are about the heaviest cords you can get in a short length. I would check one of these out. Walmart has them so that will save you from going on an extended search. Not that I am a fan of walmart.. any home depot or lowes or hardware store will also.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 7:31PM
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gooberguy

If you read the OP correctly, it says
"Its manual states that the treadmill must be powered by a dedicated 15 amp outlet" and also "The label on the machine reads "120V, 50/60Hz, 15 Amp."

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 5:54PM
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ontariojer

RTFOP

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 8:59PM
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brickeyee

If the machine requires 15 amps it is not allowed on a 15 amp circuit.

No equipment should pull more than 80% of the rated current.

Something is VERY wrong.

As in it does not sound UL listed, a real warning sign.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 9:28AM
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ontariojer

"If the machine requires 15 amps it is not allowed on a 15 amp circuit.
No equipment should pull more than 80% of the rated current.
Something is VERY wrong.

As in it does not sound UL listed, a real warning sign."

Not true. NEC requirements and UL requirements are not the same. In fact, for loads that operate for less than 3 hours under UL a standard breaker can be loaded to 100%. If it shall be more than 3 hours continuous you need a 100% rated breaker.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:29PM
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brickeyee

There is no inherent time limit on the treadmill.

Time limits normally only apply to things like elevators that simply cannot operate continuously.

I never said UL and NEC were the same, just that the device appears to have a problem in its labeling and might NOT be UL listed.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 9:58AM
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hrajotte

1. No, you will not damage the machine by using an appropriate extension cord.
2. Use a cord rated at least 15A. You can always use larger gauge wire.
3. Yes, always use the shortest possible cord. A 6-foot appliance extension cord should suffice.
That said, the treadmill manual says not to use an extension cord because extension cords are intended for temporary use only. An example of temporary use would be to run power to a battery charger to get your car started. You use it for an hour or 2 and put it away.
The proper solution is to have another receptacle installed near the treadmill.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 12:37PM
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ontariojer

"There is no inherent time limit on the treadmill."

How do you know? You don't know anything about this treadmill. Saying things like:
"Something is VERY wrong.

As in it does not sound UL listed, a real warning sign."

Is just scaring people for no reason. Stop it with the FUD.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 7:37PM
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