Wire size, jacket materials and voltage drop are important, often-ignored features of these ubiquitous job-site umbilicals.
Synopsis: This is a thorough guide to extension cords, covering recommended wire gauges, jacket types, plugs, and in-line ground-fault devices. And how to make and repair extension cords.
Walked on, left out in all kinds of weather, slammed in doors, twisted, yanked, pulled, tied in knots, extension cords are always expected to work. They are as indispensable as hammers or circular saws on a job site.
But if you’re like me, you probably don’t give much thought to extension cords, except to curse them occasionally when they get underfoot or resist being neatly coiled. I didn’t think much about them until the day I eventually killed my best orbital sander by using an extension cord that was too long. After that, I vowed never to make a similar mistake and gave myself a crash course on extension cords and electricity. I talked to electricians, manufacturers and safety officials to find…