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Can You Use an Extension Cord for a Washing Machine?

The washing machine is one of those appliances we can’t pass a day without. From removing stubborn stains from clothes to delivering crisp dry clothes, this daily home appliance does it all. Thus this wizard saves us a lot of time and energy.

Since the washing machine is a saver, people don’t want to miss a single chance of utilizing it. That’s why many people even if they don’t have an electrical port or washroom near the machine tend to use it via an extension cord. 

However, this raises the question of whether it’s safe to use a washing machine on an extension electrical line. Let’s see if you can an extension cord to run your washing machine.

Using an extension cord for a washing machine

It’s technically possible to use an extension cord for a washing machine. But it is not encouraged as it might overload the extension and cause issues like overheating, short circuits, etc. But if you do use you must choose a suitable extension that’s long enough and can take the washer’s amperage.

Extension cords are electrical equipment to extend the power. It’s used to connect one or multiple devices or electronics as comes with a long wire and more than one socket. Extensions are mainly used where the main power socket isn’t sufficient or reachable.

For example, if you want to charge your cell phone while keeping it close to you but the only built-in socket is at a distance, you can then use an extension cord.

You can plug in the extension’s one end to the main electrical port and use the other end’s socket placing it as far as the wires allow. You can even plug in more than one electronic device in a multi-socket extension.

There are different types of extension cords with different gauges and amp capacities. Before using one has to make sure if the amp, gauge, and wire length are suitable for that device. 

Washing machine is a heavy-duty machine. It’s designed with a plug of a limited length. So it’s wise to place the washing machine near a built-in wall electric port.

Along with this, you need to make sure the water source and draining system are available around the machine so that this cleaning and drying becomes hassle-free. But often people don’t have these facilities so they use extensions to run the machine. 

Using an extension cord for a washing machine is a bit risky. Because washing machine draws a good amount of current thus it needs a power connection that can match its amp capacity and take the load. 

Most of the extensions aren’t of that capacity so if you connect the washer with an extension that isn’t capable to take the washer’s load, you may face trouble. 

The extension cord might get overheated or may not even supply the power your washing machine needs. If the load is heavier it might even damage the extension port. Also, if the washing machine doesn’t get the required current it may not work at all.

Moreover, there is always a risk of an extension getting water damage. That’s why it’s not encouraged to use an extension cord to run a washing machine. 

But if there is no way left and you must connect it to an extension, you have to choose it wisely.

Make sure the wire is long enough and the gauge matches the washer’s demand. Also must check the amp requirement before plugging in.

Are extension cords safe for washing machines?

Extension cords aren’t advised for heavy machines such as washing machines. It can result in unwanted incidents even machine damage. But if you choose the extension cord according to the washer wisely, it’s safe. 

Whether an extension cord is safe for a washing machine depends on the machines’ amp usage, the capacity of the extension as well as the gauge, and the length of the wire. 

If you can ensure the extension can take the load of your washer and has a suitable plug, it’s safe to use an extension to run the machine. The wire gauge should be powerful and heavy enough to safely run a washer in an extension cord. 

Besides, you need to make sure the wire is long enough to keep the extension at a safe distance from the water source.  

If these conditions aren’t fulfilled using an extension cord for a washing machine can be harmful. 

What happens if you use an extension cord for a washing machine?

Though it’s not recommended if you had to use an extension cord for a washing machine and it’s not right then you might have to face several incidents.

Let’s see what happens when you connect your washing matching to an extension cord:

The extension will start overheating: 

Most washing machines with modern facilities draw a huge amount of power. So they needed to be connected with the house socket for sufficient electricity supply. 

But extensions aren’t as powerful as built-in sockets. They are thinner than main power cords and thus can’t handle the need for a giant washing machine. Thus the extension starts to overheat.  

There can be fire incident: 

Washing machine requires higher wattage to run thus they are recommended to connect with a regular power socket.

Most extensions aren’t capable to supply that amount of wattage as they have thin wiring. It can face overload and thus overheating. Even you may experience fire.

Besides, since the laundry area is near to the water source and more or less prone to water spills, it can water damage the extension’s socket and cause short-circuit or fire. 

The washing machine may get damaged: 

When a machine that runs on continuous electricity doesn’t get its required wattage, it tends to put more stress to draw power. Thus the machine gradually loses its efficiency. 

Extensions offer more electrical resistance. They can’t supply the required electric flow a heavy-duty washing machine needs.

At some point, these issues cause a low voltage situation. Low voltage or short of power can even stop the machine at once. So using an extension can damage your machine. 

What kind of extension cord for washing machines?

For a washing machine, you need an extension cord that’s can support the load of the machine and has a long wire. Besides, the extension plug is needed to match the washing machine’s cord. 

There are some factors such as amp usage of the washer, the thickness of the cord, gauge of the extension cord, length of the wire, etc. that needs to be discussed and observed before you use an extension.

The extension needs to be selected according to the washer’s demand. For a modern washing machine that has a dryer and other facilities, buy an extension that includes a long cord. Buy a heavy cord that’s at least 10 or 12 gauge.

The extension cord and wires shouldn’t be thinner as the washing machine is a heavy device. The power socket must take the load of the machine’s amp usage so you’ve to count that beforehand.

What gauge extension cord do I need for a washing machine? How to measure?

If you have no power supply near your laundry area, then you have to take the help of an extension cord to supply power to your washing machine.

But to choose an extension for the washing machine is not a simple job. There are steps that you have to follow to find a suitable extension. 

Here we’ve explained how you can decide on the gauge of an extension cord and how to measure that:

Find out the amperage draw: 

First, you have to learn the amperage rating of the washing machine to look for a suitable extension. For that look in the back of the machine, the rating is supposed to be written there.

If there is no direct mention of the amperage draw, divide the watts’ usage of the machine by 120 to learn the amperage draw of your washing machine.   

Measure the distance: 

Since the extension is used to provide power supply from another source it needs to be long enough. So measure the distance from the main power source to your machine for a better result. 

Decide the gauge: 

Get an idea of the thumb rule of the gauge. Usually, machines and devices that run on a 10 amperage rating or less than this, need a 16-gauge extension cord. But it’s good to select a 14-gauge extension cord to avoid unwanted incidents. 

So you can choose an extension of 12 to 14 gauge to use in your washing machine. 

Final Thoughts

An extension cord can hardly take a load of a washing machine so it’s not advised to use one. If you connect the washing machine with an extension that’s short and of less amperage, it might overheat and stop working. An extension can even damage your washing machine due to overload.