Electrical Cord Safety

By June 21, 2019 Electrical, Safe Practices

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 36 seconds

British Smoke

I am a stickler for good extension cords. OSHA is too, urban legend says they will cut up a cord if they find one on your job sit that is frayed or dangerous in their opinion. I am constantly pointing out problems on job site with our sub-contractors but is it worthwhile? What is the worst that could happen? I suppose electrocution, or a fire.

We joke that smoke is what makes electricity work, so our primary objective is to keep the smoke in the wires. Truth is that if you pick up an extension cord and it is warm or hot then you have a situation. The vintage British car owners have made jokes about this for years.

Alternative Uses For Extension Cords I Have Seen.

  •  A tie-down instead of a rope.
  • A pillow at siesta time.
  • To protect heavy things from being marred by the tailgate of a truck.

Burnt Ends

Rule of Thumb

Gauge: The lower the number the larger the wire. (It’s a French thing) The larger the wire the more electrical carrying capacity it has. The longer the cord the larger the gauge it needs to be. Then comes the needs of the tool you are powering. In general it is better to oversize the cord to ensure that the tool is not starved for electricity

Three-way splitters and power strips are fine up to a point. Even homemade ones are OK if they have large enough wires to provide the electricity amperage that is needed for the tools to work. You could actually add up the needed amperage for each tool or appliance and determine if you have the wire to handle it.

Spider Boxes

These are splitters that take a huge cord and distribute power to a job site. We have several and use them when we get into a situation where the power is far away and coming from a temporary power pole.

Care And Feeding of Extension Cords

Keep your cords and cord ends in good shape. If they are getting warm or have discolored melted ends you are abusing them. Take care to replace ends as needed and cut cords into smaller ones when they get abraded in the middle, Wrap them up nicely in circles or daisy chain. (This is an art that is passed down from father to son) Be good to your cords. Throw out cheap skinny cords and quit using them for things that they were not designed to do!


Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about fixing stuff, click here to email me directly, or call 208-639-1808

I do these things during non-Levco time to be sure it doesn’t interfere with the Remodeling business. Repairing things and understanding homes is just another passion of mine. or visit our contact page. Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

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