What happens when your extension cord wears out or breaks? Do you automatically need to purchase a new cord?
Thankfully, extension cord repair is a viable possibility.
Electronic devices touch nearly every aspect of our lives. Cords are used to connect us to our computers and entertainment systems. They’re also used to power kitchen appliances and tools used in construction.
If you’re like most people, you probably have at least one extension cord on hand to ensure that all your devices and tools work throughout your home and property.
People use extension cords to power up their tools out of doors, and even use them to extend short cords on things like vacuum cleaners.
Extension Cord Repair – Why Repair Instead of Buying a New One
If you just need one extension cord, buying a new one might not be a big deal.
However, buying a power extension cord can be expensive – especially if you have to buy more than one.
That’s one reason why so many people choose to repair their extension cord instead of buying a new one.
Another reason why it might be best to repair a cord is that the damage isn’t that extensive. Buying a new cord, if this is the case, will just end up being a waste of money.
For instance, a three-prong plug might look irreversibly damaged, when in reality, the prongs are simply bent.
Still, another reason why people choose to repair a cord is that it’s often incredibly easy. In many cases, you can fix a cord in the amount of time it would take to get in the car, drive to the hardware store, find the cord you need, and pay for it.
So if you have a damaged cord and like the idea of saving money and don’t mind doing your own repairs, extension cord repair might be right up your alley.
How to Wire a Plug – What You Need to Know About Cord Repairs
Wiring a plug that’s been damaged may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, you can successfully wire a plug.
Some tools you’ll need include:
- Soldering iron
- Electrical tape
- Shrink tubing – multiple sizes
You’ll need to remove some of the protective exterior cord and then expose the wires. You can then solder the wires and wrap them in heat shrink tubing.
It’s best to start the repair process by watching (and often re-watching) helpful videos on YouTube. People who post their videos have experience and can show you how to wire a plug safely.
It’s important to note, though, that OSHA standards might not approve this type of repair. According to OSHA, repairs can be made to electrical cords, but to be used in the workplace, these cords have to be repaired according to OSHA standards.
To be an approved repair, the cord has to be repaired to the state in which it was initially approved for use.
If you’re not sure that you can do this, your best bet would be to have someone with experience repair the cord. Or, it might behoove you just to bite the bullet and purchase a new cord.
What, though, if it’s not the cord that has been damaged, but instead, it’s the plug itself?
Prongs can be easily bent by pulling too hard on the cord or accidentally stepping on the plug.
It is simple enough to straighten the prongs. However, you can only do this so many times before the prongs become weak and snap off.
When that happens, you’ll need to replace the plug, which is not a complicated process.
Simply cut the old plug off, and then splice the cord jacket. Strip the insulation off of each wire. Open the replacement plug and then attach the copper wires to the corresponding grounding screws – green to green, white to silver, and back to brass.
Finally, wrap the wire around the terminals and tighten the screws. Make sure to test the cord in a safe setting.
Step-by-Step Guide to Repairing a Cut Extension Cord
If you do end up accidentally cutting an extension cord, here is another simple way to repair it.
Tools and materials needed
- Electrical tape
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Utility knife
- Needle-nose pliers
- Wire stripper/cutter
- Heavy-duty replacement receptacle with strain relief clamp
- Heavy-duty replacement plug with strain relief clamp
Steps to fixing your cut extension cord
#1: Cord repair
You are not technically supposed to splice extension cords. It just won’t have the abrasion resistance of a new cord. It also isn’t allowed by the National Electrical Code.
#2: Make 2 cords out of 1
The solution instead of splicing would be to buy a high-quality cord and just make two cords out of one. Just add a new plug on the piece of cord with the receptacle and a new receptacle on the piece of the cord with the plug.
#3: New extension cord ends
Make sure that the new ends can carry the same load as the old one and that they both have built-in strain relief clamps.
If You Can’t Safely Repair the Cord – Don’t Attempt It
When it comes to repairing anything, your most important concern should be safety. Attempting to repair an appliance – or, in this case, a power extension cord – can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Granted, it’s always nice to save some money. But you’re going to end up paying more in the long run if you injure yourself or someone else, or end up damaging a home or your equipment.
There’s no shame in asking for help from someone who has repaired a three prong plug before, nor is there any shame in simply buying a new one. As long as you’re safe – that’s the main thing!