Repeatedly we come back to one solid point: use the right cord for the right job. By reading through this post you just might end up saving both your health and money. Whether you’re a carpenter, mechanic, fabricator, or tradesman, choosing the correct extension cord is as important as reviewing your financial accounts. Because many times you use cords for temporary uses such as lightning, power tools, or cleaning, it is sometimes easy to overlook standard safety precautions. Rather than going to the hardware store and purchasing that one large cord for every single purpose, consider why this may be a bad idea.

Using Power Cords Incorrectly

For example, let’s say we are using a 4 ½ angle grinder that is plugged into an old 16-gauge, 100ft extension cord that is usually used for a lamp. You might think just because it works and everything appears to operational that there is nothing to worry about. That is until the body of the grinder begins to increase in heat more than usual and burns out. Larger equipment that uses say, electric motors, must pull more power to cover longer distances. If the cord is to thin, the length may not transport the amperage needed to run the motor’s engine properly.

How about another instance where you need only 50 ft. and you cover the remaining 50 to keep it out of the way? Electrical current will still be running through the cord and the heat build up from the resistance of the wire would further drop its capacity. The wires start to warm up to the point where they become hot and now the coiled up stored section is susceptible to fire.

Safe Approaches to Using Power Cords

Always consider the length and size of your power cord. You should have multiple cords at your disposal which are various lengths and thickness. This will ensure you are always supplying power in a safe way. The 14-gauge power cords are great power cords when you need a little extra to reach the wall socket. A 10/3 is around 25 ft, it’s more heavy duty and can be useful for heavy power consumption.

Here are a Few Tips on When to Buy a New Power Cord:

• The cord and plug have a loose connection

• The wires are exposed

• The cord’s plug has same size blades instead of modern plugs that insert into an outlet one way

• The cord doesn’t contain a three-prong connector

• Lacking Certification of any kind/rating

Power cords are everyday items that you do not typically think much about, which means they are easy to misuse and in turn can cause a major safety hazard. Equipment choice is typically what determines the power cord used. Dangerous situations can arise when using cords that are the incorrect length and width. Be sure to always properly check your power cords for any sign of wear. Always considering choosing a high-quality product with proper certifications and safety ratings.