Home>More | More in Electrical

How to Replace an Extension Cord Plug

You don't have to throw away that old extension cord, even if one of its prongs is broken. You can replace the plug instead—in a 4 easy steps

1 ×

 

The prongs on extension-cord plugs are easily bent—and easily straightened with pliers. But after a few such restraightenings, the metal can fatigue and snap off. When a plug's life is over, it doesn't mean you need to buy a new cord. For about five bucks, you can attach a replacement plug and save your old cord from the trash. In four easy steps, here's how to replace an extension cord plug:

1. First, cut off the damaged plug. Then use a utility knife to split and slice off the jacket about 3/4 inch from the end of the cord. Take care not to cut the three wires inside. Using a wire cutter, as shown, strip 1/2 inch of insulation from the end of each wire.

2. Open the replacement plug so you can reach the terminal screws inside. Attach each section of exposed copper to the appropriate terminal screw: green wire to the green grounding screw, white (neutral) to the silver screw, and black ("hot") to the brass screw. Wrap the wire clockwise around the terminal and tighten each screw securely.

3. Reassemble the replacement plug and tighten the screws holding it to the cord.

4. To see if a cord is working properly, plug it into a three-prong receptacle. Then, fit a plug-in circuit tester onto the cord's other end. The tester's lights will indicate whether the wires are hooked up correctly and the cord is grounded.

1. Cut off the old plug, split and splice the jacket, and strip insulation from the end of each wire.
Photo by Don Penny/Time Inc Studios
Cut off the old plug, split and splice the jacket, and strip insulation from the end of each wire.
Attach wires to terminal screws: green wire to green screw, white wire to silver screw, and black wire to brass screw.
Photo by Don Penn/Time Inc Studios
Attach wires to terminal screws: green wire to green screw, white wire to silver screw, and black wire to brass screw.
Reassemble the replacement plug
Photo by Don Penny/Time Inc Studios
Reassemble the replacement plug

The prongs on extension-cord plugs are easily bent—and easily straightened with pliers. But after a few such restraightenings, the metal can fatigue and snap off. When a plug's life is over, it doesn't mean you need to buy a new cord. For about five bucks, you can attach a replacement plug and save your old cord from the trash. In four easy steps, here's how to replace an extension cord plug:

1. First, cut off the damaged plug. Then use a utility knife to split and slice off the jacket about 3/4 inch from the end of the cord. Take care not to cut the three wires inside. Using a wire cutter, as shown, strip 1/2 inch of insulation from the end of each wire.

2. Open the replacement plug so you can reach the terminal screws inside. Attach each section of exposed copper to the appropriate terminal screw: green wire to the green grounding screw, white (neutral) to the silver screw, and black ("hot") to the brass screw. Wrap the wire clockwise around the terminal and tighten each screw securely.

3. Reassemble the replacement plug and tighten the screws holding it to the cord.

4. To see if a cord is working properly, plug it into a three-prong receptacle. Then, fit a plug-in circuit tester onto the cord's other end. The tester's lights will indicate whether the wires are hooked up correctly and the cord is grounded.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.