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Safety First For The Handyman

Jan 3, 2008
A mistreated connecting cord is often the cause of an appliance's breakdown. See that wires are well-insulated and don't abuse them

When a plug is removed from its outlet, a knot often forms in the cord because of the curl in the wire. Open it before reinserting the plug. If knotted cord is yanked, it can sever the wire within the cord.

Some floor lamps provide no protection for the wire at point of emergence. Moving the lamp just a few times when cleaning the room will cause a short circuit. A layer of tape is an effective preventive measure.

Don't let a cord get pinched in a section of a dropleaf table,- if the wire is crushed, remove wall plug before touching it because strands sticking through insulation might well be "hot." Reinforce damaged section with layer of tape of nearest matching color. For white cord, white adhesive tape from the family medicine chest is ideal. Colored "Scotch" tape is also OK.

Many attachment plugs are made very cheaply of fragile compositions known in the trade as "molded mud." !t is little wonder that they break up when stepped on or burn up when subjected to heavy current overloads. When buying replacement plugs, look for smooth, well-formed bodies, securely fastened prongs, terminal screws with broad heads, and fiber protection washers to fit over prongs and terminals, for your protection.

Never attempt to salvage a damaged plug by fastening the pieces together with tape or string. If the connecting cord is still in good condition, cut it off close to the plug, and discard the pieces of the latter. Use diagonal cutters, or heavier "electrician's pliers." Examine wire carefully and trim off any sections near the end that show signs of crushing or bruising; these can be dangerous when you use the plug in the future.

In preparing old cord for new attachment plug, first separate the ends a distance of about an inch and a half. Some cords require a sharp knife for this job; others in common use can be "zipped" apart without tools. Be especially careful not to damage insulation covering on each one of the individual wires.
Using the sharp edge of knife, pare off insulation on each end of wire a distance of about a half inch.

The next step in attaching a new plug is to twist together the loose strands at end of wires.

With back edge of knife, scrape end of wires clean and bright. Don't touch with fingers after this.

Apply thin coat of solder to each wire. This stiffens wires and makes them easier to fasten under the plug.

Immediately after soldering the loose end strands of the wire, poke the cord through the attachment plug. Try to use one with a long neck or handle, which is very convenient for removing purposes.

Starting from the pared ends of the wires, apply a layer of strong electrical tape back along the cord a distance equal to the length of the plug plus about a half inch. This tape will reinforce the insulation.

The wires are much easier to connect under the terminal screws of the attachment plug if they are first formed into U-shaped loops. Use long-nosed pliers to close the loops under screws and tighten.

When securing the wires under the terminal screws, make certain that no loose strands stick out. These are often the cause of overheating at the plug or of blown-out fuses. If appliance is of portable type and plug is inserted and removed frequently, make periodic examination of terminals and tighten again if necessary.

An old unused lamp may be restored to service by following simple directions in replacing the cord. Often., that's all there is wrong with lamp.

Take some extra care with electrical cords and your appliances will give longer service.
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