Working with extension cords has become an inevitable daily routine in our lives. These cables are invaluable as they facilitate power supply to areas where wall sockets cannot be easily accessed.
For instance, if a farmer wanted to weld up an iron perimeter fence on his farm, he would definitely require an extension cord to set up a welding job site.
It’s for this reason that almost every household in the United States of America owns at least a single extension cord. Extension cords can either be used indoors or outdoors, depending on one’s needs.
Safety Concerns Associated With Extension Cords
Even though extension cords are useful, dealing with them can be tasking. Much care has to be taken when using and storing these cables as they can easily get damaged.
Statistics show that over the last decade, extension cords have been the leading cause of electrical fires. This is largely attributed to the fact that extension cords are often misused compared to fixed electrical wiring.
Most people abuse extension cords using them under extreme conditions in which they aren’t built to be used, while others overload them with the current.
A lot of people also store their extension cords improperly, therefore damaging them in the process. So, what techniques can you use to store your extension cords properly?
Just like any other electrical equipment, extension cords should be stored in a neat and well-organized manner as this would facilitate fast retrieval.
Your storage unit should offer cord protection from all kinds of hazards. Some of the most common hazards include animals like rodents which might chew on the cord, moisture, and other destructive elements.
Extension Cord Storage Techniques
There are several tools built to help with the storage of extension cables. Most of these tools are industrial grade as such environments are associated with extremely long and heavy cords.
There are also household products manufactured for use in homes. Even though these products are efficient and make storing extension cables easier, they cost quite a lot; therefore, not everyone can afford them.
Luckily, there are plenty of free options available as well. These options are the most preferred extension cord storage solution as they don’t cost money and can be just as effective as the other options if done properly.
Some of the most common techniques used to store extension are;
It involves coiling the extension cord into a loop and hanging it on a hook. This is the simplest cord storage technique.
Unwind the cord and place it on the ground. Hold one end of the cord in your palm, then use the other hand to pick the dangling rope and make uniform loops.
The length of the cord should determine the diameter of the loop. Increase the diameter to reduce the number of coils if the cord is long.
If you are storing more than one cord together, you should coil the loops in the same direction. This will prevent them from tangling together.
After looping the cord, securely hang it on a hook mounted on a wall. This will keep the cord intact and safe from rodents.
Using A spool
You can use an old electrical wire or any cylindrical object to store your extension cord. Coil the cord around the object to form closely knit coils.
Make sure that you coil the cord in one direction to prevent it from tangling during unwinding. You should also avoid wrapping it too tight or too loose.
Tightening the cord too many causes stress to the cord, and if done repeatedly, it may damage the cord. On the other hand, if you wrap it loosely, the cord will easily unwind itself.
After wrapping the entire cord on the spool, secure the cord plug to prevent it from unwinding, then place the spool in a bucket.
The bucket will hold the spool structure in place and offer the cord additional protection from extreme elements and destructive animals.
Coiling Like a sailor
The sailor’s coiling technique, as the name suggests, is a famous rope coiling technique commonly used by sailors. It is one of the most effective cord coiling techniques ideals for storing long extension cords.
The first step of coiling an extension cord using this technique involves unwinding the cord to its full length and placing it on the ground.
Grab one end of the cord in your palm while letting the remaining section of the cord hang loosely. Then rotate the cord across the palm in the opposite direction.
Repeat the pattern without wrapping the cord too tight until only a small section of the cord is left. To form a slightly larger loop, then wrap the final loop around the bundled cord, then pull it through the middle.
If properly done, the outcome will be a neatly wrapped bundle of cord that can be stored and unwound easily. It would be best if you mounted the bundle on a hook out of reach.
Why You Should Store Your Extension Cord Properly
There are several reasons why you should store your extension cords properly.
When dealing with electrical equipment, your safety should be priority number one. If improperly handled, electricity can be a health hazard to people. In extreme cases, it can destroy lives as well as properties.
Operating a garage or a Jobsite filled with disorganized cables can be dangerous as you can easily trip on the cords. This can lead to serious injuries or further accidents, especially when the cord is actively in use.
Prevent electrical fires
Most electrical fires are normally linked to faulty equipment, including electrical cables. Storing your extension cable well would reduce the chance of such accidents occurring.
Storing extension cords properly also increases their durability. Most standard cords are built to last for a long time. However, maintenance practices play a big role in determining the life span of such products as well.
It will help if you store your cables in a rodent-free environment. Rats are the most prevalent rodents in most households in the USA.
If these destructive creatures find their way to your garage, they are likely to chew on anything they find. Some pets also fancy chewing on stuff and would do the same to your cord if they come across it.
You should therefore hang your cables high enough to keep them safe from destructive animals. This will greatly add to its lifespan.
Properly storing your cord will also save you a lot of time. Unwinding a 50 feet tangled cord is no joke. The exercise might consume so much of your time, and it gets a lot more hectic as the cord’s length increases.
Proper storage also makes it easy to transport your extension cord. You can easily carry a well-coiled cord in a bucket. This allows you the portability you need to shift your Jobsite around your home.
What Are Some Common Extension Cord Damages?
Extension cords are more susceptible to damages as compare to fired wires. This is because extension cords tend to be misused. Improper use and storage of electrical cord may damage the equipment in the following ways.
All extension cords come with a thick insulation material made of either rubber or light plastic material. This insulation covers naked wires, which would otherwise pose a great safety risk to users.
If improperly stored, rodents can chew off this insulation, exposing the wires. Such a cord would then become dangerous and can easily electrocute someone or start an electrical fire.
Storing extension cords in dump place may degrade the insulator’s quality, making it peel off when exposed to higher temperatures. You should be extremely careful when dealing with an extension cord that has a damaged insulator.
If the damage is small, you can use electrical tape to mask it. However, if the damage is extensive, you should replace the cord.
Loose and broken plug heads
Loose plug heads are also a common defect on extension cords. This may be as a result of too much weight being exerted on them. Just like broken insulation, loose plugs may cause short-circuiting, which can lead to electrical fires.
You should firmly secure your cord on the hanger to eliminate the risk of it falling, as this may break the plugs.
Extension cords are the easiest way of supplying electricity to areas with no access to a wall socket. They can be used both at home and in industrial environments.
Even though most standard cords are hardy and durable, proper storage techniques improve these products’ performance and durability. Your extension cord is bound to last longer if protected from destructive elements.
Properly stored electrical cords are easy to access and unwind whenever the need arises, saving time. Proper extension storage techniques also reduce the chances of Jobsite accidents occurring.
Several techniques can be utilized to store extension cords properly. You can go for specialized cord storage equipment or use available objects to wrap and safely store your cord properly. Both of the two options work well as long as they are correctly implemented.