How to Put an On/Off Switch on an Extension Cord


Installing an on/off switch on an extension cord requires using the correct type of switch. The type of switch needed accommodates a hot wire and a neutral wire. These switches are found at hardware and home improvement stores. A common use for the switch extension cord is when you may have something that needs to be plugged in that does not reach a receptacle. Commercial sites use a similar setup to plug in a microwave or light.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Wire strippers
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Secure the cord you are going to upgrade; make sure it is not plugged into the wall socket. Cut the cord in half or where you want tho install the switch. Take scissors and cut between the two sides of the extension cord; peel them apart so you have two separate wires. Repeat this process for the other half of the cord.

  • Strip back 1/2 inch of insulation from each separated wire. Open the new switch by unscrewing it with either the flat-head or Phillips screwdriver. The inside of the switch should have a brass side and a silver side.

  • Place one side of the wire onto any side of the switch, as long as each cord half wires are on the same side. Screw each wire to a different-color screw. Repeat the same process with the other half of the cord. Make sure that each wire is on one screw, and that each cord half is on a separate side.

  • Replace the cover for the switch, making sure that the wire is enclosed over the insulation. Plug the new cord into an appliance and into the wall socket. Turn on the switch.

Related Searches


  • "NEC National Electrical Code 1999"; Delmar; 1999
  • "Electrical Wiring Commercial, 11th Addition"; Ray C. Mullin and Robert Smith; 2002
  • David Brown; licensed electrician; Georgia
  • Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
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