Why do extension cords stop working?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Extension cords can stop working for a variety of reasons. One common issue is broken wires. Over time, the constant bending and twisting of the cord can cause the wires inside to break. This can happen at any point along the length of the cord, so it’s important to inspect the entire cord for any signs of damage.

When examining the cord, look for any breaks in the insulation. Insulation is the protective covering around the wires, and if it becomes damaged, it can expose the wires to potential hazards. This could result in a short circuit or electrical shock. Look for any cracks, cuts, or fraying in the insulation, and if you find any, it’s best to replace the cord.

Another thing to check is the plug prongs. If they appear melted or burned, it could indicate a problem with the cord. Melted or burned prongs can result from overheating due to a high electrical load or a poor connection. If you notice any damage to the prongs, it’s crucial to replace the cord to avoid any potential electrical hazards.

In some cases, extension cords may also stop working due to internal issues that are not visible from the outside. These can include loose connections within the plug or wiring, which can cause the cord to fail. Unfortunately, these types of problems are not easily repairable and often require the cord to be replaced.

It’s worth mentioning that the overall lifespan of an extension cord can also play a role in its functionality. Over time, the wear and tear from regular use can degrade the cord’s performance. This is especially true for cords that are exposed to harsh conditions, such as extreme temperatures or moisture. It’s important to regularly inspect and replace extension cords that show signs of wear or damage to ensure safety.

In my personal experience, I’ve encountered extension cords that have stopped working due to broken wires. These cords were used frequently in a workshop setting, where they were subjected to constant movement and bending. Upon inspection, I found multiple breaks in the wires, which explained the loss of power. Replacing the damaged cords resolved the issue and restored functionality.

To summarize, extension cords can stop working due to broken wires, damaged insulation, melted or burned prongs, loose connections, or overall wear and tear. Regular inspection and replacement of damaged cords is crucial to ensure safety and proper functionality.