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Proper Use and Storage of Extension Cords

Master carpenter Norm Abram's techniques for staying plugged in

Staying Connected

The last thing you want when you're up a ladder or on a roof is to have the extension cord come unplugged. There are many devices you can buy to hold plugs together, but this simple method works for me. I just line up the cords side by side, then tie them both in a loose overhand knot about a foot from the ends, as shown at right. Now when you plug them together they'll stay that way without kinking the wires.

How to Coil a Cord

When you're done using an extension cord, coil it up. It's the best way to protect it from damage during storage, and it's easier to uncoil later. I'm not talking about wrapping it tightly around your hand and elbow; that strains the cord's wires and virtually guarantees you'll have a snarl to untangle the next time you need it. Here's the method I use.

1. Knot. Using a bowline knot, tie a loop in one end of a 2-foot-long lightweight line. Knot the other end permanently to one end of the extension cord.

2. Coil. Gather the extension cord into large coils. Make each one from about 5 feet of cord.

3. Hang. Wrap the line around the extension cord, then hang it from the loop, out of harm's way.