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We are looking at purchasing a Residence that has a Home Office Area attached to it. It is Commercially zoned in a Canadian Province.

Upon doing a walk through, we noticed an extension cord layout like the attached photo which is used to power a computer. While I am not an Expert, I would venture to say that this is both an electrical and safety hazard and should be remedied.

Is the best solution to have a hard-wired electrical outlet installed so that the computer plugs directly into this source and not through a "daisy chaining" extension cord arrangement like this in order to comply with any District Electrical or Building Codes?

desk extension cord

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    Unless this is a commercial property, I don't think you're going to have an issue with code or inspections based on an extension cord running to furniture. Are you planning on renting this out or running it as a business? – JPhi1618 Feb 26 at 20:12
  • The Property is zoned for Commercial Use, so it is legal to operate a Business out of it. – Ted Feb 26 at 20:23
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    Thank you for the advice. I am just a new User. I will edit. – Ted Feb 26 at 20:27
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. If an answer is helpful, please click the large check mark next to it to accept. And, props for taking our tour before posting; few newbies do. – Daniel Griscom Feb 26 at 20:53
  • Which country? Every country (maybe every US state) has a different set of codes and laws. – Rich Feb 27 at 5:11
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This is really a subjective question, and there's a lot of slop in the definition of "temporary".

If you know you'll use this space for the long term as it is, I'd work on getting some hard outlets installed. If not, I'd get a 2" hole saw and cut some pass-through ports at strategic places out of sight between cabinet sections and through the floor, as needed.

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If it's zoned commercial, you may have some permitting issues, because inspectors are not idiots, and they know that you're going to put a Point of Sale system out on that counter/island. If that cabinetry is fixed, you may be better off running some EMT metal conduit along inside the cabinets, and popping that out to some receptacles in appropriate places. It's a bit of a chore to learn to work with EMT, but once you're over the learning curve, it's pretty sweet to work with. Then throw THHN wire in it. (not cable).

Use of conduit may be a code requirement; it usually is in commercial spaces but I don't know about combo residential-commercial.

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Extension cords should be for temporary use. I'm not a code expert but I suspect it is in one someone, if not a fire code. If you are planning to use the space for a computer I would purchase a surge protector with a longer cord. I personally have one with a cord that is 15' so I can have power just about anywhere. Note that I did buy this while renting and being unable to do any work on the house.

If you are looking for a cleaner look, then you would need to relocate the outlet or install a new outlet closer to the computer.

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  • Thank you. I think having the extension cord arrangement as shown, could be a safety hazard as one could easily trip over the cord. I also do not think "daisy chaining" an extension cord like this is a good electrical solution compared to a hard wired outlet. – Ted Feb 26 at 20:26
  • If you're worried about a trip hazard, you can tape it down to the carpet, or drill holes through the side of the shelving and run it through there instead of along the floor. You already know that an extension cord is not the safest solution, so it's not clear what you're looking for here - if you want someone to say it's "better" to have an electrician install an outlet(s) where you need it, yes, that's best. But I bet you'll see a similar setup in nearly every small office in the country. – Johnny Feb 26 at 20:38

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