How to Cut & Shorten an Outdoor Extension Cord

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Outdoor extension cords typically have the same characteristics. For example, most are labeled "heavy duty" or "rated for safety," they are 12 to 16 gauge, rated up to 1 amps or more, and have a coating that helps make them impervious to weather. Another feature that makes these cords very valuable and a must for any jobsite is that they can be shortened and cut to any length you need and still be quite usable—even if shortening the extension cord happened quite by accident.

Things You'll Need

  • Plug (must be same amp as cord)
  • Screwdriver
  • Knife
  • Wire strippers

Use a screwdriver to loosen the screws securing the male plug to the outdoor extension cord. When the screws are loose, you will see that the plug is actually in two parts. Loosen the clamp and gently take off the back section of the plug. Slide the front of the plug from the end of the cord.

Cut the extension cord at the point you wish. Use a knife to make a slit in the insulation and remove at least 1 inch of the insulation and the paper, exposing the three wires within. Be careful not to cut the wires themselves.

Separate the three wires to make sure they are in good shape and that they're the proper length. If not, carefully remove a bit more of the insulation from the cord.

Twist the ends of each wire around themselves. This helps to make them stronger as well as less prone to fraying.

Slide the female end of the plug down over the end of the wire. Wrap each wire around each connection point on the plug. If the wires are secured by screws, tighten each screw carefully so you secure the wire but do not crush it. Ensure the proper order of wire to connection point on the plug: The green wire is the ground and it goes to the green terminal, the silver wire takes the white wire and the gold terminal accepts the black wire.

Slide the male portion of the lug over the wire and line it up properly with the back end. Tighten each of the screws that hold the two pieces of the plug together. Tighten the clamp on the back of the plug.

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