How To Keep Your Extension Cords In Good Working Condition

No matter where you live or who you are, none of us can get by without an extension cord. From firing up an electric grill on the porch to Christmas lights out in the yard, extension cords keep us going. But, how do you keep your extension cord in good working condition year after year? Here are some tips and ideas to help you maintain your extension cords so they don’t cause any problems:

The first thing that you need to remember is that there are two different kinds of extension cords: exterior and interior. The interior cords are made for smaller electrical items, such as lamps and radios. The exterior cords are heavier and made to stand up to the elements for larger electrical items, such as lighting and power tools. Make sure that you use the proper extension cord for the right job, don’t try to use an indoor cord for an outdoor project and visa versa. If you don’t have the right kind of cord, you are better to go and buy the right one than use one that won’t hold up to the job and cause damage to your home or appliances. Most major discount stores and hardware stores carry extension cords, so you should have no trouble finding the right one for the job.

The exterior cords will have a tougher jacket that covers the main cord inside to keep the elements out. Before you use your outdoor cords, go over them thoroughly to be sure that there is no damage to the jacket itself. Any kind of damage, such as cuts, nicks, kinks, or other problems, should not be taped up with any kind of tape since the tape will not have the strength to stand up to the currents that run through the cord. If the damage is close to one end, you can always clip off the damaged part and replace the end of the cord. If the damage is severe, you are better off throwing the cord away and purchasing a new one.

The ends of the cords are also something that needs to be examined carefully before each use. Look at the male end of the cord (the end with the two or three prongs), and inspect it for any kind of damage, such as bent or broken prongs. Then look at the female end (the end with the inserts) for any kind of damage there, such as dirt or other debris clogging the inserts. If either end is damaged, don’t toss it out just yet. You can always replace the end of the cord and have one as good as new again. You can check with your local hardware store for the right ends to replace the damaged ones, as well as directions for the replacement.

No matter what you are using your extension cords for, be sure that you inspect them before use to save you time and money in the long run. A damaged cord can cause problems with your home and appliances, and can even cause fires if not used properly. When you are finished with your job and are ready to put your extension cord away, make sure that you carefully wind them up in a large loop so you don’t damage the cord or the plugs. Store them in a place where they won’t sustain any damage until you are ready to use them once more. By following these simple tips and ideas, you can rest assured that your cords will make it for years to come.

WARNING: When working with electricity, it is always best to completely turn off any electrical circuits that you will be working with before you begin your work. Always follow all safety precautions and directions on the packaging of electrical products that you are working with to prevent injury.