Can A Dehumidifier Be Plugged Into An Extension Cord?

  • By: Irene
  • Date: April 3, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

A dehumidifier is a great way to reduce the amount of moisture in the air and can be a lifesaver during the hot summer months.

But can you plug a dehumidifier into an extension cord?

In this post, we will explore the answer to that question and discuss some other things you need to know about using a dehumidifier.

Can A Dehumidifier Be Plugged Into An Extension Cord?

Can A Dehumidifier Be Plugged Into An Extension Cord?

You should not plug a dehumidifier into an extension cord. Dehumidifiers require a lot of power to run, and most extension cords are not designed to handle that kind of load. If you do try to plug a dehumidifier into an extension cord, it could overheat and start a fire. 

Also, most extension cords are not properly grounded, which means they could pose a shock hazard if you touch them while the dehumidifier is running.

For these reasons, it’s best to avoid using an extension cord with a dehumidifier altogether.

Most manufacturers strictly point out in user manuals that dehumidifiers be plugged directly into a properly grounded three-prong wall outlet.

So you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a dehumidifier.

Can I Plug A Dehumidifier Into A Surge Protector?

No, it is not recommended to plug a dehumidifier into a surge protector.

Surge protectors are not designed to handle the high power draw of a dehumidifier, and doing so could damage the surge protector or cause it to catch fire.

Again, most manufacturers clearly state in user manuals that dehumidifiers should be plugged directly into a wall outlet.

A power surge protector is often meant for low-wattage devices such as computers, televisions, and small appliances.

A dehumidifier is a high-wattage appliance and needs to be plugged directly into the wall to avoid overloading the circuit.

While it may be tempting to plug your dehumidifier into a power strip or surge protector, it is not worth the risk.

Dehumidifiers require too much power to run safely through one of these devices, and doing so could damage your home’s electrical system or start a fire.

How Should You Connect A Dehumidifier To A Power Source?

It is easy to connect a dehumidifier to a power source. All you need is a three-pronged grounded outlet within reach of the unit’s power cord.

Once you have found an appropriate outlet, simply plug the dehumidifier into the wall and turn it on.

While it is easy to connect a dehumidifier to a power source, you should always make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions before using the unit.

This will ensure that you are using the dehumidifier correctly and safely.

You want to make sure the power/voltage output of your wall socket matches the requirements of your dehumidifier.

You don’t want to overload the circuit by plugging in a dehumidifier that requires more power than your outlet can provide.

Also, make sure the wall outlet you are using is properly grounded. This will help to prevent shock hazards.

If you are unsure whether or not your outlet is grounded, you can purchase a grounding tester at any hardware store.

What Gauge Extension Cord Do I Need For A Dehumidifier?

Why Do Some Products Say Not To Use An Extension Cord?

There are various reasons manufacturers include warnings not to use extension cords with their products. They include:

To Prevent A Shock Hazard

Extension cords are not properly grounded and can pose a shock hazard if you touch them while the appliance is running. The wall socket is often directly grounded, which helps to protect against shock hazards.

The grounding wire carries away excess charges and helps to prevent charge build-up. A charge build-up can eventually cause a shock hazard when the device is touched.

To Prevent Overloading The Circuit

Dehumidifiers require a lot of power to run, and extension cords are not designed to handle that kind of load.

If you do try to plug a dehumidifier into an extension cord, it could overheat and start a fire.

Extension cords are also not a good option for long-term use.

The constant strain of the heavy load can cause the cord to fray or break, which could also lead to a fire.

To Prevent Damaging The Product

Extension cords are not always well-made, and using one with a dehumidifier could damage the appliance.

In some cases, the extension cord itself could be faulty and pose a fire hazard. It is always best to play it safe and use the cord that came with the dehumidifier.

To Prevent Fires

Extension cords are not designed to handle the high power draw of most appliances, and using one could overheat the cord and start a fire.

It is always best to plug appliances directly into a wall outlet.

What Should Not Be Plugged Into An Extension Cord?

Various appliances should not be plugged into an extension cord. They include:

  • Dehumidifiers
  • Hairdryers
  • Heat lamps
  • Coffee makers
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Refrigerators
  • Dishwashers
  • Washing machines
  • Stoves and ovens
  • Microwaves
  • Toasters

The list above is not exhaustive. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if an extension cord can be used with a particular appliance.

As a general rule, high power capacity devices should not be plugged into an extension cord.

This is because they can overheat the cord and pose a fire hazard.

Does A Dehumidifier Require A GFCI Outlet?

Before I answer this question, let’s first understand what a GFCI outlet is. A ground-fault circuit interrupter is a type of very fast-acting circuit breaker.

It cuts off the power within as little as 1/40 of a second in the event of a ground fault.

A GFCI outlet is often required in areas where there is a risk of shocks, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

Now back to the question: yes, a dehumidifier does require a GFCI outlet.

This is because dehumidifiers draw a lot of power and can pose an electrical shock hazard if they are not properly grounded.

Are Extension Cords Safe For Permanent Use?

No, extension cords are not safe for permanent use. This is because they are not designed to handle the heavy load of most appliances.

The constant strain of the heavy load can cause the cord to fray or break, which could lead to a fire.

Extension cords should only be used temporarily. If you need a permanent solution, you should have an electrician install a new outlet.

You should never substitute permanent wiring with an extension cord. Don’t run it through a wall, floor, ceiling, or doorway. When covered, heat cannot escape and the insulation could melt, causing a fire.

If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is heavy-duty and has a three-pronged plug. Do not overload the cord by plugging in too many devices.

Types Of Extension Cords

There are various ways to categorize extension cords. The three most common ways are by use, plug type, gauge, and amperage.

By Use:

  • Indoor extension cords
  • Outdoor extension cords
  • Retractable extension cords
  • Heavy-duty extension cords

By Gauge:

Extension cords are available in various gauges. The smallest, which is often used in most homes, is 16 gauge. The next size up is 14 gauge, and the largest is 12 gauge.

The lower the number, the thicker the cord and the higher the amperage rating. A 16-gauge extension cord can handle up to 13 amps, while a 12-gauge extension cord can handle up to 20 amps.

By Plug Type:

Extension cords are also available in various plug types. The most common are three-pronged and two-pronged plugs. Three-pronged plugs have a ground wire, while two-pronged plugs do not.

Three-pronged plugs are always the safer option because they provide a ground for the appliance. Two-pronged plugs should only be used with appliances that do not require grounding.

By Amperage:

Extension cords are also available in various amperage ratings. The most common are 13 amps, 15 amps, and 20 amps.

13 amp extension cords can handle up to 1625 watts, while 15 amp extension cords can handle up to 1800 watts. 20 amp extension cords are the largest and can handle up to 2400 watts.

As a general rule, you should always use the highest amperage cord that your appliance requires. For example, if you have an appliance that requires a 15 amp cord, you should not use a 13 amp cord.

Final Thoughts- What Gauge Extension Cord Do I Need For A Dehumidifier?

If you must use an extension cord with your dehumidifier, you should always use a heavy-duty 14 gauge cord.

This is because dehumidifiers require a lot of power and can pose an electrical shock hazard if they are not properly grounded.

The extension cord must have a minimum amperage rating of 15 amps and a three-pronged plug.

The voltage rating should be the same as the outlet you are plugging it into, but it cant be below 125volts. It is also important to note that the cord must be UL-listed.

When using an extension cord, always make sure it is not overloaded. Always read the user manual for your appliance and extension cord before use.

Looking For Dehumidifier Guides?

If you’re looking for more dehumidifier resources, consider checking out our other post on Dehumidifiers.

References: Extension cord, Choosing a Safe Electrical Extension Cord

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