Extension Cords Should Have Fuses or Other OCPD.

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Old 12-06-14, 12:08 AM
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Extension Cords Should Have Fuses or Other OCPD.

I was thinking the past few days, with the amount of electrical fires caused by overloading extension cords, wouldn't it make sense for a new UL requirement to have a built-in fuse or circuit breaker in the plug like Christmas lights? It'll increase the costs of cords by a few dollars, but it'll prevent a few fires and near-fires. It seems to me like everybody thinks it's safe to plug their 1500W space heater into a light-duty 18-2 extension cord designed for a lamp. Anyone else agree?
 
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Old 12-06-14, 04:51 AM
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I understand your logic and concern, but at what point does one draw the line on incorporating safety on items vs stupidity by user. No I don't agree. I think extension cords are very well labeled as to what rating they can be used. I do think better education is needed on how extensions cords should be used but adding fuses only increases cost and I doubt will reduce mis-use.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 05:00 AM
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Justin, at first I might agree since we all want a safer world BUT where do you draw the line? There is already a lot of gov't mandated stuff that costs us money AND much of it is geared toward protecting the idiots that don't have enough sense to do things safely or maintain what they use. Then there are those that will figure since it has extra safety built in they can push the envelope even farther
 
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Old 12-06-14, 05:23 AM
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I am getting so tired of all regulations on everything. My favorite is if you stick your head in a bucket of water you will drown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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Old 12-06-14, 05:57 AM
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You can't legislate stupid. And we can't always protect ourselves from "us".
 
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Old 12-08-14, 01:17 AM
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I understand your logic and concern, but at what point does one draw the line on incorporating safety on items vs stupidity by user. No I don't agree. I think extension cords are very well labeled as to what rating they can be used. I do think better education is needed on how extensions cords should be used but adding fuses only increases cost and I doubt will reduce mis-use.

Justin, at first I might agree since we all want a safer world BUT where do you draw the line? There is already a lot of gov't mandated stuff that costs us money AND much of it is geared toward protecting the idiots that don't have enough sense to do things safely or maintain what they use. Then there are those that will figure since it has extra safety built in they can push the envelope even farther

I am getting so tired of all regulations on everything. My favorite is if you stick your head in a bucket of water you will drown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can't legislate stupid. And we can't always protect ourselves from "us".

You guys have a good point. If someone can't read all the labels and stickers on everything it's their own fault. Plus fuses won't help the person that left a cord coiled under their pillow...

Image from Friedensburg Fire Company No.1 Facebook page.

P.S. If you guys wonder why I haven't been posting much, I've been way too busy.
 
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Old 12-08-14, 04:48 AM
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Too busy is better than having nothing to do

Back when I was painting in fla a lot of houses had pools with screen enclosures. The installers where bad to run their extension cords thru the water [back before cordless tools were prevalent and no GFIs] I asked them once if they weren't worried about getting shocked and was told that was what the insulation on the cord was for When I asked what if the cord gets a nick in the insulation, he turned around and went back to work.
 
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Old 12-08-14, 10:58 AM
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Protection's a good thing

I for one was raised pretty ignorant about electricity and have done some stupid things in my time, fortunately with no ill effect. I'm quite conscientious about safety issues I'm aware of but don't know enough of the common ones, even. I believe there needs to be a required course in all high schools re functioning as an adult - what to expect from a repairman, how to read a W-2, what do the numbers on extension cords mean, when to go to ER and when not, that stuff.

I just learned yesterday from reading this site that letting an outdoor extension cord fade in sunlight degrades the insulation so it's unsafe. I used to leave mine lie in the yard for however many days it took me to finish my project, fitting it in after work, and it's well faded. I'm also now picking up from various threads what some of the numbers on wiring mean.

So I'm in favor of more consumer education (plus protection, for when education's not enough) since ignoramuses still exist, then let the devil take the hindmost.
 
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Old 12-08-14, 02:45 PM
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All of the Christmas lights I've bought in the last many years have fuses in the plug -- is that not typical? Might vary by state, but worker safety laws (OSHA, etc) often require GFCI protectors on drop cords used on jobsites.
 
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Old 12-08-14, 04:13 PM
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In addition, many "extension cord" fires are caused by worn plugs and receptacles where a loose connection occurs. Loose connections tend to get very hot even when the current flow is far below the rating for the plug, receptacle, and/or cord.
 
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Old 12-09-14, 06:15 AM
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Well it hasn't happened yet, but were only a few weeks into the Christmas season. I'm waiting for the customer to come in asking for a double male ended (each end) extension cord, because they strung their lights the wrong way. It happens every year.

 
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Old 12-09-14, 06:25 AM
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I didn't even know you could buy one like that although I have seen a few homemade ones.
 
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Old 12-09-14, 07:37 AM
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I think we talked about this here in this forum about a year ago. I believe there is a "valid" use for them. I know many people use them for back feeding on generators (very stupid). Maybe Ray can chime in on this and tell us if in fact there is any real use for a double male ended cord.
 
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Old 12-09-14, 09:43 AM
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I can't think of a valid use for a male-male cord with NEMA 5-15s. There are perhaps some uses in commercial and industrial areas, but connectors would need to be locking or otherwise restricted to qualified service techs.
 
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Old 12-09-14, 10:18 AM
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I can't think of a valid use for a male-male cord with NEMA 5-15s.
Is there such a cord manufactured? If so, I'd like to see the U.L. mark on it.
 
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Old 12-13-14, 02:56 PM
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I may go against the prevailing thought pattern here, but here is my take. It is awfully easy for a person, let's say it is your 12 y/o, to plug a smallish 1800 w space heater into a too small extension cord and put it under a throw rug before a good nights sleep. A 10 amp one time fuse buried inside a 18 AWG ext cord would save lives and not just the one that did the dastardly deed. Like the rest of the family or a firefighter. I'm against helmet laws for motorcyclists, but here we are talking the real issue of collateral damage to others.

Slightly off topic, but last week I was in Scotland and had some fun with the UK line plugs. What a ridiculous site seeing iPhones with tiny USB chargers ending up with the giant UK fused plug. But, there we are talking 30 amp premise loop wiring feeding these things.

I'll jump off my soap box now, and looking forward to working inside powered 250kV substations next week in warm FL (not kidding)
 
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Old 12-13-14, 05:36 PM
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Weren't fused plugs introduced into the UK because of ring circuits used after WWII to conserve copper? Ring circuit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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Old 12-14-14, 03:21 AM
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Other than a fire hazard, too small an extension cord can contribute to tool burn-out. I have a friend that used to regularly use an 18 gauge 100 foot cord on a shop-type vacuum. Eventually the motor on the vacuum burnt out and she blamed it on the premises wiring. I told her no, it is that darn extension cord and then I cut the cord up into little bits. Then I gave her some #12 type SOOW extension cords and suddenly no more problems.

I haven't even seen any #18 extension cords for years.
 
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Old 12-14-14, 05:01 AM
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I've seen a lot of guys over the years that would stretch out long 16 gauge cords to run their tools the most common answer if I say anything to them is "a 12 gauge cord weighs/costs too much" I've run my airless or air compressor a lot of times where it took 200' of extension cord to get to the job and never had any issues BUT I only use 10 and 12 gauge cords!
 
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Old 12-14-14, 12:48 PM
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I may go against the prevailing thought pattern here, but here is my take. It is awfully easy for a person, let's say it is your 12 y/o, to plug a smallish 1800 w space heater into a too small extension cord and put it under a throw rug before a good nights sleep. A 10 amp one time fuse buried inside a 18 AWG ext cord would save lives and not just the one that did the dastardly deed. Like the rest of the family or a firefighter. I'm against helmet laws for motorcyclists, but here we are talking the real issue of collateral damage to others.

That's the kind of things I'm thinking of, too. I have a whole collection of those 18/2 and 16/2 cords where the plugs melted into the ends floating around here somewhere. I see people plugging anything they can into those things, whether it be stuff they're intended for like lamps and decorative lighting, to heaters, to refrigerators, power strips, air conditioners, and everything else they can plug in without tripping the breaker.

Those 3-to-2 adapters need to be banned too. 99% of the time I see them they're being abused.

Other than a fire hazard, too small an extension cord can contribute to tool burn-out. I have a friend that used to regularly use an 18 gauge 100 foot cord on a shop-type vacuum. Eventually the motor on the vacuum burnt out and she blamed it on the premises wiring. I told her no, it is that darn extension cord and then I cut the cord up into little bits. Then I gave her some #12 type SOOW extension cords and suddenly no more problems.

I haven't even seen any #18 extension cords for years.

I'm afraid there's no way we can stop that. People think why should they spend $60-120 on an extension cord when they can spend $20 and still have power.

Furd, if you're looking for #18 cords, look in the holiday aisles this time of year at the big box stores.

I've seen a lot of guys over the years that would stretch out long 16 gauge cords to run their tools the most common answer if I say anything to them is "a 12 gauge cord weighs/costs too much" I've run my airless or air compressor a lot of times where it took 200' of extension cord to get to the job and never had any issues BUT I only use 10 and 12 gauge cords!

I see contractors do this all the time. They're also notoriuous for using a power strip (like what you'd use for your computer) to plug in all their tools.
 
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Old 12-14-14, 01:21 PM
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I'm all for removing the warning labels from everything and letting nature run it's course.
 
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