We all use extension cords at home or in the office to power some appliances simultaneously when we have limited wall outlets. You can use these extenders to temporarily make your work easier without leaving your desk to plug your device on other power outlets. However, we all know that there are limits on how many appliances (and the types) you can connect to one extension.
While the extensions are useful in various setups, it is easy for them to get damaged, and you will want to fix them before using them again. In a case where there is overheating, the plug can get damaged and lose its original shape, making it impossible to plug into the outlet. But that happens to extenders that do not have fuses. There are also other ways that the plug can get damaged – for example, when you accidentally step on it or it drops.
Regardless of the cause of the problem, a damaged extension plug requires replacement for you to continue using your extender. This post helps you to fix the extension cord by following these steps.
1. Disconnect the Extension Cord from the Wall Socket
Before you begin working on any electrical appliance or accessory, safety should come first. You do not want to get electrocuted when fixing your extension cord at home. Nobody should remind you that you have to switch off the wall outlet and pull out the extension cord before you begin working on it.
This scenario assumes that you were still using the extension cord before you decided to change the plug. If, however, you drew it out of your drawer, you can proceed without worrying about electric shock. It is even safer to unplug extension cords every time you are through with them or you do not need to connect more devices.
2. Cut the Damaged or Old Plug
You can remove the old plug from the extension by cutting it off. If the plug came with a permanent connection and the wires sealed, you can cut it off with a pair of pliers. Some extenders, however, come with screws that secure the wires with connectors. You can safely unscrew them and remove the wires.
If you realize that it is the fuse that had blown in the plug due to overloading your extender, you can replace it and reuse your plug. But to change the whole plug, free the wires from the damaged plug and, using your utility knife, strip open the jacket about 3 or 4 inches from the end. Also, strip ½ inch of the insulation from the wires.
3. Examine Your New Plug
The extension plugs come with varying voltage and amperage, that is, the amount of electricity and current that they can sustain. Refer to your old plug about the ratings the extension is supposed to carry. Then verify if that is what the new plug has. If they differ even in a minimal number, you should consider finding a new plug.
This check should be consistent every time you want to change your extension cord plug. However, if the old plug did not indicate these figures, try checking at the base of the extender. If you still cannot find it, use the power rating on your wall outlet. Any plug rated below the outlet current can easily blow when you connect. You would need an adapter to step down the current before it flows into the extension cord with lower amperage.
4. Connect the New Plug
After verifying that the new plug is compatible with your current extension cord and power outlet, you can go ahead and connect it to the extender. You first unscrew it to access the terminals where you can attach the wires. I hope you did not buy the one that you need to solder because it can easily melt the solder in the case of overheating.
Each wire should go to its connector. Remember that the hot and neutral lines on your extension cord need to match that on your wall socket. That is why most plugs come with three prongs to avoid inverse connections. However, the third terminal also serves as the ground or earthing that protects your equipment when the current surges.
While connecting your new plug, ensure that the green wire connects with the green screw, which is the ground line. The white wire on the extension cord is the neutral, and it should attach to the silver screw. Connect the black wire to the brass screw. Ensure that you firmly secure the wires by screwing them all the way until they are tight. Replace the cover and secure it firmly.
5. Test Your Extension
At this point, your extension cord is ready for use. But you need to verify if it is working properly before connecting any appliance. You can take risks with anything but electricity. To ensure that the extension is correctly connected with the new plug, use a circuit tester, which can identify any issue with your connections.
If the tester lights, you have succeeded in connecting the plug properly, and your extender is ready for use. You can now safely connect your home appliances and continue using your extension cord to supply current to a few of the necessary items you are using. But remember not to overload your extension cord with appliances that use more current. Every time you are not using an extension cord, make sure it is switched off.
It is common for extension cords to develop issues while in use. In some cases, you would want to replace the plug. Regardless of whether the old socket is damaged or incompatible with the new wall outlet, it would be best if you were sure that you buy one that meets the current of your home circuit. There is no need for repeating the same mistake.