How to Replace an Extension Cord Plug
by Thomas Baker, This Old House magazine; photo: Don Penny/Time Inc Studios
The prongs on extension-cord plugs are easily bent—and easily straightened with pliers. But after a few such re-straightenings, the metal can fatigue and snap off. When a plug’s life is over, it doesn’t mean you need to buy a new cord. For about five bucks, you can attach a replacement plug and save your old cord from the trash. Here’s how to proceed in 4 easy steps.
Cut off the old plug, split and splice the jacket, and strip insulation from the end of each wire.
- First, cut off the damaged plug. Then use a utility knife to split and slice off the jacket about 3/4 inch from the end of the cord. Take care not to cut the three wires inside. Using a wire cutter, as shown, strip 1/2 inch of insulation from the end of each wire.
- Open the replacement plug so you can reach the terminal screws inside. Attach each section of exposed copper to the appropriate terminal screw: green wire to the green grounding screw, white (neutral) to the silver screw, and black (“hot”) to the brass screw. Wrap the wire clockwise around the terminal and tighten each screw securely.
- Reassemble the replacement plug and tighten the screws holding it to the cord.
- To see if a cord is working properly, plug it into a three-prong receptacle. Then, fit a plug-in circuit tester onto the cord’s other end. The tester’s lights will indicate whether the wires are hooked up correctly and the cord is grounded.