Extension cord failure?

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  #1  
Old 12-04-14, 03:56 PM
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Extension cord failure?

I spent significant money on a 100' 12/3 extension cord to use building my house.

Husky 100 ft. 12/3 SJTW Extension Cord with Standard Plug-747-123100H31 at The Home Depot

I picked up this cord one day in the rain and got a decent 60 cycle "vibration." - not enough to get my heart racing but enough to cuss aloud. I picked it up in the middle and both ends were elsewhere and dry. I didn't do that again. I figured it was because the thing was pretty much buried in mud for a good 20 feet.

But after the house was built I noticed that my electrical bill was higher than it should have been. After a lot of scratching my head and several months of paying for high tier electricity, I finally isolated that it was this extension cord, lying on the ground, taking power to my garage.

Now I find that when it is lying on wet ground it will trip the GFCI circuit into which it's plugged on its way to powering my xmas lights. I have not yet isolated whether it will do that if not powering the lights, but I strongly suspect it's this cord.

Shouldn't these things NOT be happening with a 12/3 outdoor extension cord? I took good care of it and it has no cracks or breaks or cuts/splices etc... It is pretty faded from UV exposure. Seems to me like this is outside of what UL would require..... comments?
 
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Old 12-04-14, 04:07 PM
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I finally isolated that it was this extension cord, lying on the ground, taking power to my garage.
Extension cords are for temporary use only. They are not by code to be used in place of code approved permanent wiring methods. Normally they should be rolled up and stored in a dry place protected from sun when not in actual use. The only safe thing to do with it now is cut it in short lengths and send it to recycling or the trash.
 
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Old 12-04-14, 04:11 PM
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I took good care of it
Welcome to the forums! Not so much. Leaving it in mud, UV exposure, I'd say it has been compromised beyond what the standards call for. Our extension cords are "surprise" inspected by OSHA on commercial sites and ANY crack on the casing will cause them to reject its use, so we have to baby them, as they are our only source of power to the jobsite.
 
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Old 12-04-14, 08:51 PM
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It is pretty faded from UV exposure.
Once that happens the cord become porous and take on water.

A rubber cord.... SJ... wouldn't do that but much mode expensive.
Still...... any cord subject to constant sun and rain will age.
 
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Old 12-05-14, 08:04 AM
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For sure the cord has lived its life, but it wasn't plugged into a GFCI during construction when it zapped you? Who installed a temporary service panel without GFCI protection on the 120V receptacles? That would not pass inspection and would be a major OSHA fine if the jobsite was inspected.
 
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Old 12-05-14, 10:06 AM
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I'm cheap so I'd inspect the cord carefully to rule out one bad spot that could be cut out. I'd rather have a 75' cord or two 40' cords than have to throw it all away if it can be saved! My 100' and 50' cords are old and still in good shape but I roll them up and put up and the end of each day! I would never allow an extension cord to get buried in the mud
 
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Old 12-05-14, 10:22 AM
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I disagree. Once the cord is as compromised as this one is there is no safe way to fix it.
 
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Old 12-05-14, 10:31 AM
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To clarify, I meant for the cord to be carefully inspected AND if that revealed a damaged portion, then that portion could be cut out. IF no damage can be located other than the fading of the rubber coating - the cord can't be saved and should be disposed of.
 
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Old 12-05-14, 12:52 PM
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Sorry Mark....you just can't safely cut out and repair a section of extension cord. I have to agree with the others. Maybe, JUST maybe, you can replace a plug...but it's no longer acceptable for any common use.
 
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Old 12-05-14, 02:18 PM
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I've had cords get mangled and cut out the bad section with the end result being a shorter cord. Obviously you install a new plug [s] Never had any issues with the cords I've repaired .... it's not like you are splicing in new or anything, just cutting out the bad and making a shorter cord.
 
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Old 12-05-14, 02:42 PM
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But that is mechanical damage that is easy to identify. His is a general degrading of the cord insulation due to improper care of the cable. It just can't be trusted even if you Meggered it.
 
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Old 12-05-14, 04:58 PM
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Yeah, I inherited a 100' length of 10-3 stranded that had a nick at exactly the 50' mark and was culled by a large company year ago. Bingo! two 50' extension cords with great capability of handling jobsite runs from temporary poles.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 12:01 AM
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I've had cords get mangled and cut out the bad section with the end result being a shorter cord. Obviously you install a new plug [s] Never had any issues with the cords I've repaired .... it's not like you are splicing in new or anything, just cutting out the bad and making a shorter cord.
You guys are all talking about physical damage. What he has is chemical damage. The entire cord is scrap.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 05:04 AM
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Like I mentioned in your other post, you can't stop abuse of a product no matter what kind of safety items one installs. OSHA has thousands of documented cases of how safety devices are over ridden by users. I'm very safety conscience but I'll override a safety feature when I think its worth the risk and nobody will be harmed. Case in point...The lawnmower dead man handle. I coil a piece of wire around the handle so I can let go of mower without it stalling out. Am I very careful about it? You betcha. I have it so that it must be deliberate engaged and will still stall out if accidentally let go.
 
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