Freezers require a reliable power source. If your freezer is too far for the power cord to reach the wall outlet, you might be tempted to bridge the gap with an extension cord. But will the freezer work? Better yet, is this practice safe?
Can You Plug A Freezer Into An Extension Cord?
I don’t recommend plugging the freezer into an extension cord because
- If you overload the cable, the resulting arcing can ignite the objects in the vicinity. That includes newspapers, curtains, carpets, basically anything that can catch fire. You could burn your entire house down.
- If things go wrong and the freezer’s motor burns out, the manufacturer may void your warranty once they realize that you connected their appliance to an extension cord.
GE also doesn’t want people to pair their freezers with extension cords. They hate the practice because of the safety hazards it introduces.
If you’re determined to experiment with extension cords, you should prioritize grounded 3-wire models.
But GE cannot stop you from plugging their freezers into extension cords. Once you buy a GE freezer, you can use it in anyway you prefer. Admittedly, the company can void your warranty if an accident destroys the freezer because it was plugged into an extension cord.
But if you’re willing to take this risk, no one can keep you from plugging a freezer into an extension cord. The biggest obstacle is the plug.
The configuration of the plug should match the arrangement of the extension cord’s outlets.
Freezers have 3-prong plugs. The third prong provides grounding. Some people make the mistake of cutting the third prong off because they want the plug to enter a 2-prong outlet. This is a mistake because it removes the grounding function.
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Is It Safe To plug the Freezer Into An Extension Cord?
It is not safe. You should plug freezers into wall outlets. Better yet, give the freezer a dedicated circuit. This is not a requirement. However, it prevents overloading.
The cables that support a wall outlet are thick enough to accommodate the electrical demands of a freezer. For instance, most homes have 15 or 20A circuits. Therefore, they are fitted with 14 – 12AWG cables, which are pretty thick.
At the very least, they are thick enough to transmit the electricity that most home devices use safely. This is why manufacturers encourage consumers to plug freezers directly into wall outlets.
Extension cords are problematic because you are more likely to overload them. People underestimate freezers, and for a good reason. There are various types of freezers.
Some of them are pretty small. The most common example is a chest freezer, which has an average rating of 1.5A. An upright freezer looks like an ordinary fridge. It provides shelves and drawers for people that want to organize their food.
You can find these models in smaller versions (5 cubic feet) that boast a rating of 5 amps. You can probably run a five cubic foot freezer on an extension cord. But what if you have a larger upright freezer?
You will see up to 20 cubic foot freezers with a starting rating as high as 15 amps. The last thing you want is to power a heavy-duty freezer with an extension cord.
What Happens When You Plug A Freezer With An Extension Cord?
The biggest concern is a fire. When electricity passes through a conductor, it encounters resistance. The current can still cross the wire. However, it will generate heat in the process. Smaller cables have higher resistance. If you force them to carry large volumes of current, the heat will rise to a point where it melts the jacket and starts a fire.
But what if the heat isn’t strong enough to melt the extension cord? What if you don’t have any objects in the vicinity for the sparks to ignite? You still have a problem.
First of all, you will lose the extension cord. This is problematic because you have to spend money to buy a new one. If the extension cords in your local store are too inexpensive to concern you, what about the freezer?
The appliance is not safe. The most significant challenge is the voltage drop that occurs when electricity traverses a small wire with high resistance. You will damage the motor because it is working harder than usual to counter the consequences of the voltage drop.
Additionally, freezers don’t appreciate the electrical fluctuations that can occur when you overload an extension cord. Despite the convenience, this practice is far too dangerous. If you don’t care about your property, you should show some concern for the people who may die if your house burns down.
Is There A Way To Safely Plug A Freezer On An Extension Cord?
No one can stop you if you’re determined to use an extension cord. However, you should take the following steps to make the practice less hazardous:
1). Use Smaller Model Chest Freezer
First of all, if you don’t have a freezer, you should consider buying a smaller model with a lower amp rating. A 1.5A chest freezer is less likely to overload an extension cord. If you prefer a heavy-duty model, get one with a long power cord that can reach the wall outlet.
2). Use A Thick Extension Cord
The size matters. Freezers are only dangerous because they can force a thin extension cord to carry more electricity than its capacity permits, starting a fire. However, this is not a problem if you have a thick extension cord.
Various manufacturers make heavy-duty cords that can accommodate the needs of heavy-duty appliances. If you have an extension cord of the right size, you can use it without damaging the freezer or starting any fires.
3). Use A 3 Prong Plug
Use an extension cord with a three-prong plug. The presence of a third prong proves that the extension cord is grounded. Some people remove the third prong because they want to use outlets with two slots. Avoid two-prong power strips. They are dangerous.
4). Use The Shortest Extension Cord
Get the shortest extension cord you can find. When you increase the length, you also raise the resistance. A long extension cord is more likely to start a fire. There’s a reason why freezers have short power cords. Try to emulate the length of the power cord.
What Gauge Extension Cord Is Best For Freezer?
You should aim for 14 to 12AWG extension cords for the best results. 12AWG conductors can handle 16 amps of electricity. If you have the money, do not hesitate to get 10AWG.
Buy the thickest option you can find.
How Long Can A Freezer Extension Cord Be?
Using a 14AWG extension cord, you can run it up to 30 feet.
Aim for 50 feet or less.
What Volt Extension Cord Do I Need For A Freezer?
The voltage rating doesn’t matter. Your selection will depend on the gauge and length. You don’t have to concern yourself with the voltage.
Best Extension Cord For Freezer
You cannot trust every extension cord you find, regardless of the gauge. The brand matters. Some extension cords are better than others. If you want to plug a freezer into an extension cord, use one of the following:
This is a heavy-duty 125V, 15A extension cord. At 9 feet, the device is perfect for freezers and refrigerators because the length is short. The strong vinyl insulation enhances the product’s durability. The right-angle plug is convenient.
This 125V 15A 1875W extension cord is available in various lengths ranging from 3 to 25 feet. Boasting an angle plug that can fit outlets in tight spaces, the 14AWG UL Listed item is thick enough to run a freezer without overloading. It can also work with other heavy-duty appliances, including washers and dryers.
This is a 15A 1875W three-conductor wire extension cord. You can trust the product to stand the test of time because of the heavy-duty vinyl insulation. The item has an angle plug that appeals to people with outlets in narrow spaces. You can run washers, dryers, and power tools with this product.
You can find this cable in lengths as low as 6 feet and as high as 100 feet. The 125V 13A product has a flexible, water-resistant vinyl covering, reinforced blades that are less likely to break, and a slip-resistant design.