Extension cords work well with small generators because they only generate enough power for one or two appliances.
The most common way to use a portable electric generator is to place it outdoors, then run extension cords through an open window or door to the chosen appliances.
Extension cords have several drawbacks:
1. You can only restore power to appliances with cords. Hardwired items, like furnace fans, well pumps and ceiling fans, don't have cords. Therefore, you can't power them with an extension cord.
2. If the cords are too long, the resulting power drop may damage the generator and appliances. And, if they are placed under rugs or carpets, heat can build up and spark a fire.
3. It's time consuming stringing a bunch of extension cords together. The power could be restored by the time you get everything set up.
Gen-CordsIf you want to use extension cords, consider getting a Gen-Cord.
You simply plug the all-weather cord into your 20- or 30-amp generator outlet then run it inside through an open door or window.
The plug on the inside splits into either three or four 120-volt outlets, where you can plug in several household appliances or additional extension cords.
Sizing your gen-cord is extremely simple.
If the MOST POWERFUL OUTLET on your generator is 30-amps (4-prong), you'll need a 30-amp (4-prong) cord.
If it's a 30-amp (3-prong) outlet, you'll need a 30-amp (3-prong) cord.