Advice on replacing an extension cord?

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Singout

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Hi! I’m a tenant with two housemates in the 2nd and third floor of an old house. There is only one circuit for the 3rd floor which has both of their bedrooms. We’ve been using a heavy extension cord from the 2nd floor which has prevented the circuit from blowing for 6 years (various other housemates), but that’s happened a few times lately.


One housemate’s father also thought the end of the cord was too warm.


The current one is 16/3: should I replace it with 14/3? Or is a new 16 fine? Or is a sudden increase in the fuse blowing something in the building? I really don’t know much about electrical cords: this one looks very sturdy and has been working until now.


Please don’t tell me the landlord should rewire the house (we know it shouldn’t be wired this way but they are negligent and it isn’t going to change) or to use less hydro (needed on a v cold 3rd floor).


Thanks!
 

Eddie_T

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THe cord wouldn't cause the fuse to blow unless there is a short. If the cord end is getting warm the cord may be overloaded and the overload could blow a fuse regardless of conductor size. However I would replace the cord with at least 14 AWG. What are they plugging in to the cord?
 

Singout

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Thank you! I think all that was plugged in to the cord was a computer (last night when we discussed this: I don't know about when the father was here) and a space heater might have been running off the regular outlet in the other room. Yes, I'll try to get the shortest cord (I asked her to measure it) and I'll get a 14.
 

bud16415

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I think you should give Mike Holmes a call, he is up your way.

Seriously I know you have to do what you have to do but running an extension cord from one apartment to another is not a good idea. Landlords get away with way too much and sometimes you need to find a creative way to get their attention.
 

ajaynejr

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Most likely reason for the end of the cord being unusually warm is that the receptacle contacts or the plug prongs (or the cord wires deep inside that connect to those metal parts) are worn and not making a good connection. This can sometimes cause tremendous heat or a fire even though far fewer amps are being drawn than needed to trip the breaker.

Can you get and run a second extension cord from a receptacle in a different location (you really want off of a different circuit and) on the second floor, paralleling the first cord up to the third floor? (not connected end to end) Split up the things your are running on the third floor, half on each extension cord.

If the first extension cord end still gets hot then you may need to discard that cord and buy a third cord to replace it.

If you are drawing less than 12 amps then 16 gauge is fine.
 
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Jeff Handy

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A space heater can often pull 12.5 or even 13 amps, all by itself.
So 16 gauge will not cut it.
At any length.
It might work, but will get warm, and any other devices plugged in and running might get slowly or suddenly fried.
And if someone plugs in a hair dryer, toaster oven, or microwave, you could have a fire.
Yes, 14 gauge is much safer.
Running the cord for long periods at capacity will age the wire and insulation.
As stated already, two cords fed by different circuits (not just different outlets on same circuit) would be much safer for the tenants, and better for the appliances.
 
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