Example of fine electrical wiring practices. Use of extension cords.

Home Inspector with NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Example of fine electrical wiring practices. Use of extension cords.

Wenatchee Home Inspection Services.

Extension cords should be used only on a temporary basis! Correct?

Often during a home inspection I will see them used for much more than this.

The NEC in section 400.8 states “Uses Not Permitted” for flexible cords and cables.  

·        As a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure.  

·        Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings, suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors.

·        There run through doorways, windows, or similar openings.

·        Where attached to building surfaces .The Start- Extension cord used as branch circuit

Here was particularly creative version of this practice of improper extension cord use.

Here is the cord as it exits the building.

extension cord through wall structure

Garden hose conduit in tree

Now we have that run that goes from one structure to the next using the old garden hose conduit system, a very fine variation of electrical conduit (look closely as it runs through the tree).

Next... of course running through a metal building adds to the beauty of this installation.

                                 Extension cord entering outbuilding

But when using such good practices we must be sure to terminate in a proper fashion as demonstrated here.

                                                 Proper termination of an extension cord

Sometimes you wonder how someone does not get hurt.

“A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind”

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi


NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Orville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…
Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Kate McQueen, REALTORĀ® 07/18/2012 02:33 AM
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improper use of extension cords

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Carmen DiSalvo
Northeast Ohio Home Inspections Akron, Oh - Akron, OH

We see this kind of thing more often than you think. These cords get hot after a while and it's nothing but a fire hazard. People must think it wont "happen to me"?

Jul 18, 2012 12:53 AM #12
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Yikes!  I helped a buyer with a home where the inspector discovered an extension cord was used to power the jets in the master bath tub.  And there was no GFI around. It had likely been like that since the home was built but it was an accident waiting to happen.

Jul 18, 2012 01:04 AM #13
Brian Schulte
Allison James Estates & Homes - Sierra Vista, AZ
SFR, Sierra Vista, AZ

"Common Sense" fixes are not always the best.

This only proves the value of an electrician.

Jul 18, 2012 01:16 AM #14
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Fernando, I agree. An electrician can save a lot expenses later.


Richie, Ya think ; ) This home was grand experiment on how not to wire a home.


Gary, This was one of those special places ; )

Jul 18, 2012 02:14 AM #15
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Charlie, darn tooting!

Anthony, very true.

Chris and Dick, That is why we have rule on receptacle placement to prevent the over use of extension cords.

Carmen, most extension cords have light gauge wiring that is not intended for this use, hence the heat.

Kathryn, That is a great use, and no GFCI to boot, Well done there : 0


Brian, very very true.


Jul 18, 2012 02:18 AM #16
Kate McQueen, REALTORĀ®
Realty ONE Group-Lone Star - Cypress, TX
Tailored service for your real estate needs!

Wow!  Electricity scares me and this DEFINITELY scares me!  Nice post and will reblog!

Jul 18, 2012 02:31 AM #17
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.
That's quite the creative use of an extension cord. Haven't seen that before.
Jul 18, 2012 02:55 AM #18
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Donald, thanks for all the photos of what not to do with an extenstion cord. 

Jul 18, 2012 03:40 AM #19
Brad Rachielles
CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453 - Upland, CA


This is a disaster waiting to happen. The sad thing is that this may not be the only illegal installation in the house. Sooner or later, that metal building will become live as wind moves that overhead back and forth. Do I notice unenclosed connections on the other side of that stud in photo #1?

Jul 18, 2012 04:17 AM #20
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA

Donald -- what creative work this fellow has done to get his power to the out building -- but I thought he would need a female connection, not a male connection at that end.  HMMM?!

Jul 18, 2012 06:36 AM #21
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

LOL, it's not really funny but the stupidity in so many areas makes me wonder how the guy is still with us.

Jul 18, 2012 06:56 AM #22
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Looking where that extension cord ends up is a maze of confusion, looks like a potential hazard.

Jul 18, 2012 07:39 AM #23
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

I'm not seeing the problem here. The installer used conduit ;)

Jul 18, 2012 10:21 AM #24
Wayne Jackson
Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109 - Hayden, ID
North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake

Donald, People like this ar causing us all to pay more for fire insurance. I think a home inspection should always be required before an in suranse policy is issued.

Jul 18, 2012 11:19 AM #25
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

How often do we see extension cords used like this!?  Happy homeowner job, Uncle Bob job - wow, it's all the same out there as it is here!

Jul 18, 2012 09:20 PM #26
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Kate, Thank you.

Kevin, That one was one of the better examples I have found.

Adrian, You are welcome, got to love the creative use of materials.

Brad, True time will not be good on this installation.

Jul 18, 2012 09:49 PM #27
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Steve, You got it, that was the special termination along with the splice ; )

Lyn, The best part I was informed he was a contractor...hmm

Eileen, It was an interesting configuration.

Jim, Silly me, you are right it was properly protected from physical damage ; )

Wayne, Though I think everyone should have a home inspection, that would be a tough one to get going. It should be part of everyone's due diligence.


Jul 18, 2012 09:56 PM #28
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, This practice seems to be alive and well. I have another one that is very creative also. 

Jul 18, 2012 10:00 PM #29
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

Donald, I see this type of thing quite often, espeially when some DIY electrician decides that it's time to wire up his shed. It really doesn't cost much extra to do it properly in terms of buying the correct wiring, but I guess people just naturally like to cut corners.

Jul 19, 2012 12:46 AM #30
Rob Ernst
Certified Structure Inspector - Reno, NV
Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor

Temporary wiring can mean different things to different people I guess. 

Jul 19, 2012 12:41 PM #31
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