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The Proper Way to Take Care of Electrical Cords


Every homeowner uses electrical cords – also known as “power cords” or “extension cords” – to meet their home’s electrical needs. While too many power cords can put unnecessary stress on your electrical system, it’s almost impossible not to use any with the technological demands of modern society. And of course, the longer you live in your home, and the more stuff you amass, the greater the chance there is that you’ll find yourself with extra extension cords, just lying around.

While it’s a good idea to purchase extra electrical cords for things like putting up lights over the holidays or using more fans during the summer, knowing what to do with all these many cords can be a challenge. Some cords do draw standby, or “vampire” power simply from being plugged in. And even if your extension cords don’t do this, leaving electrical cords underfoot can create an unnecessary tripping hazard. Keep reading for the best ways to store power cords when they are not in use, and for safe, efficient, and long-lasting electrical services, trust the professional electricians at Mel Carr Electric.

Top 5 Methods of Power Cord Storage

1. Make a Loop & Hang It on a Hook: Perhaps the most well-known and one of the most effective ways to deal with electrical cords is to wrap them in a large loop. If you’re wrapping a particularly long cord, or wrapping more than one cord at the same time, it is important to check that all your mini-loops go in the same direction, as to avoid tangling. With every loop you make, simply use your other hand to grab the cord, until the cord is spun together like one big oval. After it is wrapped up, either clip the cord to itself or use a small tie/ties to wrap it up. Once this is done, your cord will be good to hang on a hook, ideally the kind you would find in your garage or at a tool station in the basement.

2. Use a Spool: If you have any old wire spools lying around, they can be the perfect tools to wrap up your electrical cords. A cardboard tube, such as a paper towel roll, will also do in a pinch. Just wrap your cord around the cylinder in the same direction, making sure it has enough room to breathe, and then tuck it away somewhere, like a basket or drawer, for easy access.

3. Create a Sailor’s Coil: Tying a sailor’s coil can be tricky, but it’s an extremely effective way to not only contain your cords, but ensure they don’t spring loose on their own. First, untangle your cord so it reaches its complete length. Next, take one end of the cord in your palm, so the other hangs loose. With your other hand, bring the cord across your palm. After that – and this is the important part – bring the other end across the opposite side of your cord, until it’s wrapped up nicely, leaving your hand some room to breathe. Leave the loop a little longer at the end, wrap the cord around the entire bundle, and pull it through the middle to complete. You can now easily hang the cord, or store it somewhere else. While it may take you a few times to get the hang of this method, we promise, it’s not as difficult as it sounds.

4. Tie an Electrician’s Knot: The fittingly titled electrician’s knot (also known as a “daisy chain” or “underwriter’s knot”) is a great option for wrapping long cords in an easily accessible bundle. Start by finding both ends of the cord and putting them side by side. Next, move your hand down the length of the cord, forming a tight grip about a foot from the end. Match the doubled end about one and a half feet down from the neck to create a hoop. Bring your cord up and through the coil until it forms a C-shape. Take the dangling end of the cord, pull it up and through until you have created another “C,” so you ultimately have two coils, one hoop and one big “C.” Repeat this process until you reach the end, then pull both ends through the last coil to prevent them from coming unraveled. While this process, like tying the sailor’s knot, is a bit complicated, it should make even the longest cords easy to hang and access in the end.

5. Hang It Like a Belt: Once you have wrapped your cord in the style you like, another great place to put it is on a clothes rack, like what you would find in your personal or coat closet. This way you can string cords up and take them down easily. We suggest picking a closet in an entryway or hallway for this, where you may have already stored some tools. One more closet hack for your cords: hang them on an unused or old tie rack, so they stay nicely separated and are easy to pull down.

For more electrical tips and tricks, keep reading our blog, and call (518) 500-3042 or contact us online anytime to request an appointment.

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