Short length of extension cord under rug?

dwpcFebruary 25, 2011

I know long extension cords under carpets are a no-no, but is routing 4 ft of an 8 ft cord under an area rug really problem when the max load will never exceed 100w (a 15W CFL lamp and laptop power supply). It's on a ceramic tile floor with no traffic where the cord would be run.

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Not sure why you think the length has anything to do with how unsafe it is?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 9:15AM
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It is not safe period, in any length, on any type of floor.

The cord will be stepped on repeatedly, the insulation can them become damaged, and it is concealed with a ready source of fuel (the rug) in contact.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:40AM
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NO, NO, and NO...Against all electric codes.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 12:06PM
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Electrical codes don't govern what homeowners do with extension cords. In general (not 100% true but generally) the code's influence ends at the receptacle. What you plug into it is pretty much up to you.

But running a cord under a rug or carpet IS against good safety practice, for the reasons that Brick names. This is something I learned in grade school, but apparently such things are no longer taught to kids.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:31AM
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Not where we live does it end at the receptacle. There is also a fire code to cover ..

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 1:16PM
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There is also a fire code to cover.

AFAIK a fire code would apply to public spaces, but at least around here, not to private homes. Or at least they're not inspected as the public buildings are.

Besides, the fire code isn't the same as the electrical code (NEC).

But I get your point. You probably wouldn't want to invite your insurance agent over for dinner if you were putting extension cords under rugs.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 3:50PM
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Actually, several companies make flat power cables to do what you describe. They include code references. Google it.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 7:22PM
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Wiremold Corp. makes a low-profile, beveled-edge cord protector strip (made of a rubbery material) that is self-adhesive and can be cut to length... it's called 'Corduct'.

IIRC it is UL-listed for just this type of application, and protects the cord from foot traffic.

It comes in several neutral colors, e.g. gray, beige, etc... might save the day.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 7:17PM
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There is nothing in codes against this, I would be interested in anyone saying this is illegal in a private home in a jurisdiction providing some backup citation, but it is very bad practice.

It is not just insulation but stepping on the cord over time will also break some of the stranded wires inside, as a number are broken the remaining strands will get hotter. this is a known cause of house fires and hence fire hazard.

the recommended practice if a cord must go across the floor, extension or just the lamp or appliance cord itself, is to leave it in plain view. you can get rubber covers that help it lay flat, but keep the rug off of it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 8:33PM
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Ron Natalie

Actually, the code does indeed address this. Article 400 makes a general statement that places where the cord is subject to physical damage (and this is one of them) is not a permitted use.

The australian spam isn't very interesting either.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 10:44AM
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@Ron, you are wrong. Do you understand how that code applies? The claim it is "against code" in a private home is simply wrong.

There is no jurisdiction for such a usage in a private home. If an inspector issuing a certificate of occupancy in a pubic place such as a restaurant, they could deny the cert, but there is no mechanism, no jurisdiction, for which an inspector could assert a violation in a private home.

The only case in a private home would be if a installer under license did so as a necessary permanent application as part of some electrical work. For the private homeowner no such prohibition exists. The jurisdiction is ABSENT on several levels because an inspector could not assert the homeowner is doing so as a permanent usage.

That is differnt than the question of whether it is simply a bad practice, it is bad practice.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 7:02AM
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Ron Natalie

Yes I understand how the code applies, and you are wrong if you think that codes don't apply to private homes, they certainly do here. While there isn't any enforcement if you have a cord running under a rug when the inspector comes by here, you'll not get passed unless you remove it (of course you're free to put it back after he's gone).

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 7:56AM
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Most of the codes you are referring to do not apply to private homes and apply to public venues.

And you are forgetting an inspector can fail you for ANY extension cord anywhere. Extension cords are not supposed to be permanent at all.

I hope you realize I strongly recommended against it, and for the real reason anyone who has worked with wiring knows, not breakdown of insulation, but breakdown of strands of wires, increasing spot resistance.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 7:02PM
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