According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Male-to-male extension cords like the one shown here pose a risk of electrocution, burns, injury, and even death. Do Not Use.

Products Sold on Amazon Pose Risk of Electrocution, Fire, and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Washington, D.C. September 15, 2022 The CPSC is warning consumers about the dangers of male-to-male extension cords sold on Amazon.

The male end is a three-prong plug that inserts into a receptacle (female.) Male-to-male extension cords are used by consumers to back-feed electricity to their home from a portable generator during a power outage.

The practice is dangerous on multiple levels.

  • When one end is plugged into a generator receptacle or other live outlet, the opposite male end is hot. Touching the end could result in electrocution, burns, erratic heartbeat, or death.
  • Connecting the generator through an outlet circumvents the home’s electrical system safety features including the circuit breaker that would normally protect the wiring on the circuit. Electricity no longer flows through the breaker for other outlets on the same circuit. Without protection, the wires can overheat and start a fire.
  • Backfeeding the home can also backfeed the utility lines coming into the home and pose a hazard to linemen working on the lines. The end of a broken utility line could become energized again, even though the utility line breaker was opened by the fault. The transformer that steps down voltage for delivery to the home will step the voltage back up as high as 50,000 volts.
  • The short cord encourages homeowners to plug the generator into a convenient outlet outside a door or in the garage, posing an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide or CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can reach toxic levels in minutes. Even generators equipped with CO detection and shutoff put out Carbon Monoxide which can enter the home without tripping the CO detection sensor.

Norwall has repeatedly warned against the dangers of backfeeding a home and promoted safe generator use through press releases, blog content, expert articles, and social media posts.

Graphic Explaining Why a Transfer Switch is necessary for a safe portable generator to home connection.
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The safest connection between a home and a portable generator is a manual transfer switch. An electrician can install a Manual transfer switch to safety power selected circuits like a furnace, air conditioner, refrigerator, pumps, and other appliances without circumventing the circuit breakers.

Connection during an outage is simple.

  1. Place the generator a safe distance from the home, a minimum of 10 feet and preferably 20 feet.
  2. Plug the generator cord into the generator outlet and into the transfer switch inlet box.
  3. Start the generator and move the circuit breaker switch to ON.
  4. At the manual transfer switch, turn all transfer switch breakers to OFF.
  5. Set the transfer switch to Generator.
  6. Turn the breakers to ON one at a time, starting with the largest load.
  7. Wait thirty seconds for the voltage to stabilize after adding a heavy load before adding the next load.

Male-to-male extension cords sold on Amazon under multiple brands in different colors and lengths. Typical selling price ranged from $40.00 up to $72.00 dollars.

On Amazon, ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Number) are part of the product URL that comes after the product name and “dp”. ASINs are also shown in the section titled “Additional Information” on the product page. This is a partial list of known ASINs for the male-to-male cords. An unknown number of ASINs for similar products are not listed here.

Known ASINs