Smart plugs are the future. They can automate your home, granting you remote access and control over your appliances. But can you plug a smart plug into an extension cord?
You can plug a smart plug into an extension cord but it isn’t the most attractive idea. This is because smart plugs are large devices. If you plug one into an extension cord, it will cover some of the outlets, limiting the number of appliances you can add to the extension cord.
Of course, if plugging a smart outlet into an extension cord is all you care about, this limitation won’t matter to you. The only issue of note that should concern you is the wattage. But before we tell you why the wattage matters, you need to understand a few important matters.
- Read Can power strips get wet?
What is a Smart Plug?
According to Alarm.com, a smart plug is a device that allows you to activate or deactivate any appliance that can plug into a conventional wall socket. The average smart plug works in tandem with an app that lets you manipulate the electronic components in your home using a smartphone. You can utilize the smart plug by plugging it into an electrical outlet and then plugging an appliance into the smart plug.
The people at SafeWise love them because they are versatile. You can use one to warm a flat iron ahead of time, to turn the lights in your home on or off from the comfort of your office, to turn your coffee machine on before you leave your bed, to turn television sets off when you’re not home, to program your porch lights to switch off at dusk whenever you go on vacation, etc.
You use a smart plug by plugging it into an electrical outlet. But you can achieve similar results by plugging the device into an extension cord.
Are Extension Cords and Power Strips the Same?
Before you can think about plugging a smart plug into an extension cord, you must first determine whether you have an extension cord or a power strip on your hands. These two terms are used interchangeably, but as far as SpecsTalk is concerned, they are not necessarily the same thing. The same is true for a surge protector. People confuse a surge protector for an extension cord and a power strip all the time.
In truth, most people that talk of extension cords are almost always referring to power strips. A power strip is a device with multiple electrical sockets and a plug that connects to a conventional wall outlet.
How do extension cords differ? An extension cord is designed to extend the reach of an electrical outlet. In other words, if you want to plug an appliance into a wall outlet but the outlet is too far, an extension cord will bring the outlet to the appliance.
The average extension cord has an electrical cable on one end and at least one socket on the other end. This is the biggest difference. A power strip must have multiple sockets. An extension cord, on the other hand, can have one socket or multiple sockets.
A surge protector can look like a power strip or an extension cord. However, it stands out because it provides a defence against electrical surges.
Why the Wattage Matters?
It is worth noting that a smart plug can work with power strips, surge protectors, and extension cords. A surge protector is the safest of these options because of the protection it provides against electrical surges. But you can successfully pair a smart plug with all three options.
However, in all three cases, the wattage still matters. The appliance you want to add cannot exceed the wattage supported by the plug and the extension cord. If you exceed the threshold of these two devices, you will probably blow a fuse.
Don’t be surprised if you trip the breaker. Sometimes, the plastic components in the vicinity will melt. In the worst-case scenarios, you will start a fire, generate a mild explosion, or suffer an electrical shock.
If you exceed the wattage and nothing happens, don’t take it as a sign that you did the right thing. If you keep using the smart plug and the extension with the wrong appliances, you will eventually suffer the consequences down the line.
How to safely use a smart plug with an extension cord?
Everything comes down to the wattage. If you can get the wattage right, you can combine these two items without suffering any adverse side effects. Consider the following:
1). If you don’t have one, Gizbuyer Guide expects you to buy a smart plug whose wattage is suitable for the appliances you wish to connect. For instance, an 1800-watt smart plug can safely contend with the needs of a 1500-watt space heater. Keep this same consideration in mind when you buy an extension cord.
2). If you already have smart plugs and extension cords, determine the wattage they can withstand. You can do this by either contacting the manufacturer, visiting their website or simply looking at the packaging. If your smart plugs and extension cords came with manuals, read them.
3). You should limit the number of appliances attached to the extension cord. People make this mistake all the time. They think they are safe because the individual appliances have a wattage that falls below the threshold of the extension cord and the smart plug.
They do not realize that, by plugging all those appliances into the extension cord at the same time, they are exceeding that threshold. And in case it just crossed your mind, Portablepowerguides discourages you from solving this problem by plugging one extension cord into another extension cord. You run the risk of overloading your system and starting a fire.
Can You Plug an Extension Cord into a Smart Plug?
According to Smart Nutter, this is possible. You can do it with surge protectors and power strips as well. Doing so will enable you to control all the appliances attached to the extension cord. But again, the wattage matters. The wattage of the appliances attached to the extension cord shouldn’t exceed the wattage the smart plug can withstand.
Smart plugs are attractive because of their convenience. And there is no better way to enhance their functionality than to pair them with an extension cord. However, the only way to do this safely is to ensure that you remain within the limits of the wattage the smart plug and the cord can withstand. A failure to do so leaves you vulnerable to accidents, some of which could prove fatal.