about EXTENSION CORDS (safety)

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I posted awhile back about getting a dehumidifier for the apartment I live in and discussed some of the pros and cons of that and the possibility of getting an air conditioner.
Well, there is a small window in the bathroom that will accept a small 5000 BTU (1000w) air conditioning unit. I know this is very small but my friend has a 5000 BTU unit which does a DECENT job of cooling his studio apartment. It's not great, but better than nothing.
Problem is, on this 5000BTU Whirlpool unit I am thinking of putting in the window. (it barely fits, but does fit.) ... there are all kinds of
warnings about NOT using an extension cord with this unit. They mention about plugging it in within 4 feet of the unit etc....
Now, I know extension cords can have their issues, but do they make extension cords that can handle the 1000 watt 13 amps that this unit requires? Are they just erring on the side of safety by making the blanket statement of NO EXTENSION CORDS! Kinda like a disclaimer sort of thing.
Would I be able to SAFELY get and use an extension cord with this unit?
Something I could pick up at LOWES or HOME DEPOT.
Thanks
DAVID
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David_nj snipped-for-privacy@mailbolt.com wrote:

They are just covering their rather large ass, so if you cut the grounding pin off and plug it into a 20 foot 16 gauge zipcord extension with frayed ends and your house burns down it's not their fault.
They are also concerned about the compressor not starting if there's too much voltage drop in the cord.
Go to Lowes or HD and buy a 6' or 9' *appliance* extension cord. If that's not long enough, buy the shortest 12 gauge extension cord that will get the git r done.
And if you burn your house down, it's not my fault ;-)
Bob
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David_nj snipped-for-privacy@mailbolt.com wrote:

Well such a think is made. However the warning stands. If you insist on using an extension cord, and remember if something does go wrong, your insurance company is going to blame you, that you make sure it is designed to handle at least twice the rated load on the A/C. Those things tend to have a start up surge much higher than their working amperage.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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wrote:

Because current requirements alone do not determine the guage needed, equally important is the length of the run. Adding another 10ft of 14 guage to a circuit that should probably be 12 guage, only exacerbates the problem. If the extension is 10awg, that will be minimized, likely having an insignificant effect.
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So you are planning on running an extension cord in the bathroom? I would have to advise against that. The bathroom is unsafe enough as it is without you running a cord over things.
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David_nj snipped-for-privacy@mailbolt.com wrote:

There is nothing inherently unsafe about extension cords, after all they are just wire and connectors little different from the fixed wiring in your home.
The problem comes in with the abundance of poorly made light gauge extension cords on the market. These do ok for occasional use with light loads, but the cheap molded ends quickly loose contact pressure resulting in higher contact resistance and heating, and the strain reliefs fail in a few uses resulting in individual exposed conductors and greater risk of damage. Of course there is also the fact that many of these cords are light gauge wire and will cause excessive voltage drop during the A/C startup which could cause the compressor to fail to start and burnout.
An extension cord of the proper gauge wire and quality ends will be safe, but it also won't be $4.99 either. The heavy 12ga extension cords you can find at Depot or Lowe's in the shortest length that will reach properly will do the job if they are installed and left in place. Most of them still suffer from the low quality ends that will fail with repeated use.
I make my own extension cords with quality 12/3 SJO cord (US made in 250' spools) and quality ends from Leviton or even better Hubble. Ends up costing more than the pre made stuff but is much higher quality and more reliable.
Pete C.
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David_nj snipped-for-privacy@mailbolt.com wrote:

Are you sure that it is going to be pulling 1,000 watts? This seems VERY high for a 5,000 BTU unit. In fact I just looked at a 6,100 BTU unit that I have plugged into a watt meter and it was only pulling about 600 watts when set in "hi cool". Given, it would no doubt pull more when starting up.
Don
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Just for the record, the difference btween lo cool and hi cool is only the speed of the fan. Barely any difference compared to the compressor and even to the draw of the fan in low speed.

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On 2 Aug 2006 11:11:43 -0700, David_nj snipped-for-privacy@mailbolt.com wrote:

How long of an extension cord? That makes a HUGE difference.
CWM
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Sure does. On a related note, I noticed this year how little time it takes to fill the toilet right above my water heater (and thus, very close to the street in terms of plumbing). 10 seconds or something, compared to 20 or 30 for the other toilets, even when their valves are wide open.
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Hi... Thanks for all of the informative replies. After some careful thought with some excellent input from you guys, I have decided against the bathroom idea. I was more concerned about an electrical issue until I realized that the a cord in the bathroom with the added burden of moisture issues wasn't a bright idea. I would have possibly gotten the right cord and everything would have went fine with no cord or fire issues.... then, with my luck, someone would have gotten electrocuted. (@%$@&)
I have just purchased a couple of high tech fans and will wait out the rest of the summer. The portable air conditioners I have seen are way to pricey ($300-500) and I'm not sure about how that would go with the fussy landlord.
Thanks for all your help guys.
DAVID
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David_nj snipped-for-privacy@mailbolt.com wrote:

Yes. ...and for good reason.
You are, sadly, probably the EXCEPTION to the rule that most consumers are STUPID. You are already ahead of the curve having ASKED the question.
I entered a customer's mobile home during an extremely hot day to install a telephone outlet. I moved the couch only to find that the window air conditioner was plugged-into a "zip" cord (lamp cord ?18ga?) extension cord. The couch was completely ON TOP of the cord. The vinyl cube outlet end was almost completely melted with some brass contacts showing.
I very politely explained that this was an EXTREMELY dangerous condition and should be unplugged. The woman was unfazed: "I have to have the air conditioner!" I further explained that, left as is, it would burn down the house around her. She was still unfazed and protested, "But I NEED my air conditioner!!"
Fortunately, by the time I had finished my work, her son delivered a 25-ft orange (heavier-duty) cord having borrowed it from a neighbor. I did NOT hear later that there was a fire.

Yes. As I witnessed firsthand, safety MEANS NOTHING to a vast number of incredibly ignorant people.

Yes. Make it as SHORT as possible and at LEAST 14-gauge. 12-gauge would be better.

Yes, but even at those stores, the "proper" extension cord will NOT be cheap. Buy the right one ANYWAY.
--
:)
JR

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On Wed, 02 Aug 2006 20:17:16 -0500, Jim Redelfs

Some older extension cords used 18ga. wire, but the newer ones use 16. The 16 CLAIMS to be able to carry 13A, but probably should have no more than 10.
[snip]
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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The wire'll do the job, but it's usually the connection ( outlet or plug ) that gets overheated.
<rj>
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wrote:

If there's any markings on the ends, THEY often say 15A.

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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On 2 Aug 2006 11:11:43 -0700, David_nj snipped-for-privacy@mailbolt.com wrote:

Go to your local electrical supply store and buy a spool of #00 triplex. Connect this to your electrical service panel, and use a 20A breaker. Use the bare wire for the ground, the two blacks for the hot and neutral, and place an electrical box and an outlet on the other end. Run this cable from your basement to the AC. You can either leave the outlet lay on the floor or mount it to the wall. Having this triplex cable strung thru the house is ugly, but you wont run short on power.
Gaze
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I had a customer in a mall plug their Seal dry mount press 1500 watts in a ungrounded 18 gauge light cord extension cord.
I warned them it was unsafe documented it on my paperwork when fixing their unit.
Abiut 6 months later I was back and noted not only had they not replaced the extension but they stapled it to a carpeted wall:(
I fixed the machine and while waiting for it to heat went to a hardware store and bought a air conditioner extension cord 12 gauge grounded.
the customer got mad when I cut their undersized cord into pieces and used the brand new cord I just bought.
HEY you cant charge us for that! they were mad.
Its a gift 12 bucks wat less than a insurance claim, less than the p[aper for all the forms that will need filled in.
they were pissed customer never called again. heck they could of burnt down s hills village
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" snipped-for-privacy@aol.com" wrote:

Good move, for small stuff like that it's easier to spend a few $ and count it as your good deed for the day. Besides burning down the mall after hours, it could quite possibly have gone up during the day and resulted in an evacuation and possible injuries.
Pete C.
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let alone the ungrounded machine, they carry high current and occasionally have wires burn off and hit the metal frame, real hock hazard there.
yesterday I found a 16 gauge extension cord taped to a walk way powering a 20 amp unit. i suggested they move the unit a few feet and plug it directly in wall.
it amazes me there arent more fires caused by dumb stuff...............
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wrote:

Maybe a better path would have been to fix the unit, testing it by plugging it into a wall outlet, or your appropriately rated cord. After you were done, unplug the unit, explain that they need to put it where there's an outlet, and document in your report that there was nowhere to plug the unit in. "Can't we plug it back into the extension cord" they might ask... "Sorry, these units need to be plugged directly into the wall" They'll plug it back in when you leave, but they can't blame you for the fire, or someone tripping over the extension cord "that the dry mount press tech" installed. Hey, it's up to them.
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