How to fix an electrical cord or extension cord – stop throwing out small appliances because the dog chewed the electrical cord! These simple steps, with guidance, take only a few minutes to save money and time.
Today’s post is sort of random, but you wouldn’t believe how many times this has come up for us. A neighbor accidentally burned our sander cord, the dog chewed the electrical cord, a friend’s crock pot melted it’s cord, repairing an extension cord, and the list goes on.
And they were all shocked when we fixed those cords in a matter of minutes!
Supplies for Fixing Cords
- Wire cutters or scissors
- Razor Blade
- Wire Strippers– this set also has a small cord cutter built in.
- Replacement Plug – for exterior plugs like power tools, extension cords, etc, I recommend a commercial grade plug like this. Sometimes wires can pull over time out of cheap plugs. Replace a 2 prong plug with a 2 prong and a 3 prong (grounded) plug with a 3 prong.
Read the Instructions and Check Out The Video
INSTRUCTIONS FOR REPLACING A THREE PRONG PLUG
Step 1.) Make sure the item is unplugged (yes, I had to say it!). Using scissors or wire snips, cut the wire just behind the damaged area.
Step 2.) Take the razor blade and carefully remove one inch of the outer covering without cutting into the wires themselves. You will want to have roughly an inch of the wires exposed at least.
Step 3.) Identify the wires. In three pronged plugs, the white wire is always the neutral wire. The ground wire is either green or a copper wire with no casing. The hot wire is the last one and is black.
Step 4.) Using wire strippers (or a razor blade), cut ½ inch of the colored casing around the wire off, exposing the bare metal. Not to fret if you cut through the wire or cut into the wire, just cut back the outer case back a bit further and try again.
Step 5.) Open the replacement plug according to the instructions. Push the white (neutral) wire into the silver pinchpoint. Tighten the screws and lock the wire in place. The black wire (hot) goes into gold pinchpoint. The green or copper wire (ground) goes into green pinchpoint. All wires should be securely screwed as well.
Step 6.) Close up the replacement plug, ensuring that none of your wires or casings are exposed outside the plug housing. You should give it a tug to make sure none of the wires move or separate from the plug housing.
Instructions for Replacing A Two Prong Plug
This process is nearly the same as that of the three pronged plug. However, the identification of the hot and neutral wires can be a little different.
Step 1.) Make sure the item is unplugged (yes, I had to say it! again). Using scissors or wire snips, cut the wire just behind the damaged area.
Step 2. ) Identify the wires. The neutral wire (white wire) will always be marked in some way: writing on the length of the wire, ribbing, a white stripe, or a thin white covering around the wire itself. If you cannot figure it out by looking at the cord, the neutral wire is more easily identified by the prongs. Modern appliance cords usually have two prongs of different sizes, so that you can only insert the plug into an outlet one way. With cords of this type, the larger prong always connects to the neutral wire. EXAMPLES SHOWN ABOVE.
Tip: Now that you have identified the wires, you can use some tape around the wires to label them and keep from mixing the wires up.
Step 3.) Most two prong appliance cords don’t have a protective outer casing, but if yours does, remove 1 inch back from the end. Separate the wires and strip the neutral and hot wires as follows. Using wire strippers (or a razor blade), cut ½ inch of the casing around the wire off, exposing the bare metal. Not to fret if you cut through the wire or cut into the wire, just cut back the outer case back a bit further and try again.
Step 4.) Open the replacement plug according to the instructions. Push the white (neutral) wire into the silver pinchpoint. Screw and lock the wire in place. The black wire (hot) goes into gold pinchpoint and securely screwed.
Step 5.) Close up the replacement plug, ensuring that none of your wires or casings are exposed outside the plug housing. You should give it a tug to make sure none of the wires move or separate from the plug housing.
Frequently asked questions:
I am by no means a certified electrician, so I always advise people to never take on projects they have no business trying. However, if you were to take apart the plug on your appliances, you would find that they are exactly the same as a replacement plug. Exposed wires and melted cords are NOT safe, replacing a plug is completely safe as long as you follow the instructions well and identify wires correctly. Then it is 100% safe.
First thing to check is where the cord damage is and whether you will be left with enough cord after cutting. While you can replace the cord itself, and splice together, I find this method easier and more steady long term. While you could always use an extension cord if needed, 9 times out of 10 replacing only the damaged area is significantly easier and more cost effective than purchasing a new tool.
To be honest, if you look at the cord and you feel that you won’t be left with enough cord to utilize the item properly, there isn’t much you can do. At least not easily that I could explain in a short tutorial. One option is to simply use an extension cord. Otherwise, you would need an entirely new cord and plug and wire it back into the housing of the item, which can be considerably more difficult and varied from one item to the next.
This tricks works on everything from lamps to power tools. And multiple scenarios including burned plugs, broken plug prongs, separated wires and plugs, and even dog chewed electrical cords. I do not recommend utilizing on large appliances such as dryers or electric stoves.
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