Old House Handyman: Old electrical cords a intensity danger
January 8, 2017 - table lamp
This time of year, we find myself meditative about glow — and not a friendly one in a hearth.
I’m articulate about a glow that can come with overloaded or tattered electrical cords.
I’m reminded of this for dual reasons: we usually put divided all of a Christmas lights, including a
mile or dual of prolongation cords; and we spent partial of a holiday compliance a disaster of electrical
cords behind an party core that had been set adult when cassette and VHS tapes were queen
and aristocrat of a audio/video realm. In other words, some of that wiring was flattering old.
It’s value observant that many of those strands of lovable small wink lights on your tree cost all
of $2. And a prolongation cord we plugged them into competence have cost as much. And that says
something about their quality.
So after a few years — or 20 — it’s a good thought to check them over to make certain they aren’t
cracked or frayed. And that happens, even with aloft peculiarity lights and appliances. For
- I have a floodlight that we use once a year to prominence a Christmas decoration. The wiring is
pulling divided from a cosmetic housing for a light bulb. Given that this light sits out in the
weather for a month or some-more any year, it’s time to reinstate a light.
- The cord on a beautiful, aged list flare we hereditary from a prior owners of Old House No. 1
seemed a small unbending when we changed it. we folded it over on itself, and it cracked. That’s a fire
hazard. So we immediately unplugged a light, bought a new cord and commissioned it. Do this usually if
you know your approach around elementary wiring. If we don’t, find someone to do it for you.
- My father hereditary a aged work light that my furnace-repairman grandpa used any day for 40
years. It’s one of those lights with a mirror on one side and a enclosure on a other to strengthen the
bulb, though a cord was woefully out of figure and full of cracks. So we transposed it and cruise of my
grandpa any time we use his light.
While checking over aged prolongation cords, that we should do any few years, cruise doing
what we did rather by collision recently.
When we updated some electronics, we found a rat’s nest of cords behind a entertainment
system. It was a multiple of a old-fashioned and a unnecessary, and some had been there for 30
years. They were crisp to contend a least. Some were meant to bond to wiring that had been
replaced years ago and now connected to nothing.
So, with assistance from one of my twenty-something daughters, we untangled a mess, transposed a few
old cords, and reorganized a complement for power, sound and video. The outcome is a some-more efficient,
more effective and distant safer system.
In further to elementary cord checks, be certain to mislay or pierce any prolongation cords using under
carpeting or chuck rugs. The reason? They could turn cut or frayed, and we won’t know it until
the glow starts.
Check prolongation cords to make certain they are rated for a use we have in mind. (The smaller the
number, a incomparable a wire. For example, a 12-guage hoop is bigger and means to hoop a bigger
load than a 14-gauge wire. And while 14-guage would be excellent for a list lamp, you’d never wish to
use a 14-guage prolongation cord for an apparatus such as a fridge or heater.)
And never use prolongation cords as permanent wiring in your house. My poetic mother of 33 years will
confirm that, some-more than once, we non-stop a wall or building to find such an wickedness and exclaimed: “
I can’t trust this residence hasn’t burnt down!”
So, streamer into a cold of winter, we wish we comfortable thoughts of a protected electrical system.
Alan D. Miller is Dispatch editor, and he also writes about old-house correct and historic