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Cords and Plugs

Are the cords on your appliances looking a little ragged? Pulling and twisting can often cause the wires inside to sever and break down the insulation causing a short circuit. Replace, don't repair, any electrical cord with broken wires or brittle, worn insulation. If your cords are not detachable, you'll need to have a professional replace a faulty cord. It the cord is detachable, follow these steps to replace:

Replacing a Lamp Socket and Cord

  • To remove the socket, loosen the socket shell by pushing in where the word "PRESS" is embossed.
  • Lift off the shell and insulating sleeve.
  • Unfasten the wires from the socket terminal screws.
  • Inspect the cord insulation, if it's okay, test the socket and replace if necessary. If it's faulty, continue with these steps.
  • Replace a faulty cord by untying the knot.
  • Splice the new cord to the old by twisting the bare ends of the wires together and taping them. Pull both cords through.
  • Detach the old cord.
  • Split the new cord to 2-1/2 inches from the end.
  • Tie an Underwriter's knot by making two loops and passing the loose wire ends through the loops. Pull the knot snug.
  • Strip 1/2 to 3/4 inch of insulation from the ends of the wires.
  • Wrap one wire clockwise around each socket terminal screw and tighten the screws.
  • To reattach the socket, push the insulating sleeve over the socket and push in the shell until you hear it click into place.
  • Attach a plug to the cord.

Replacing 240-volt Appliance Cords

  • Unplug the damaged cord and unscrew the other end form the terminal screws on the appliance.
  • Be sure you get an exact replacement for the damaged cord and plug.
  • Connect the new pigtail cord to the terminal screws on the appliance.
  • If the wires in the cord and the screws on the appliance are color-coded, attach the wires to the terminal screws of the same color (black to black, white to white, red to red.)
  • If either the pigtail cord of the appliance terminal screws are not color-coded, first attach the center wire of the pigtail to the center terminal screw on the appliance.
  • Connect the remaining wires to the remaining terminal screws.
  • Plug in the new cord.

General Tips for Replacing Plugs

  • Many old-style plugs with terminal screws have a removable insulating disc covering the terminals and wires. The National Electrical Code now requires "dead-front" lugs that have a rigid insulating barrier.
  • To replace a plug, cut off the old one plus at least an inch of cord. For plugs with terminal screws, split the cord insulation to separate the wires and strip the insulation from the ends.

Replacing a Plug with Terminal Screws

  • In terminal screws the wires are attached to screws inside the plug body. To replace:
  • Unscrew and remove the new plug's insulating barrier.
  • Using a utility knife, split the end of the cord to separate the wires.
  • Push the cord through the plug body.
  • Make two loops with the wires.
  • Pass the loose ends of the wires through the loops and pull tightly to form an Underwriter's knot (this prevents strain on the terminal screws.)
  • Strip 1/2 to 3/4 inch of insulation off the wire ends being careful not to nick the wires.
  • Unscrew the terminal screws on the barrier to allow space for the wires.
  • Form loops on each wire and wrap the wires clockwise 3/4 way around the screws.
  • Tighten the screws and trim the excess wire.
  • Reattach the barrier.

Replacing Three-Pronged, Grounded Plugs

  • Unscrew the insulating barrier.
  • Push stripped wires through the plug body into the correct terminal slots.
  • Attach the wires to the terminal screws as follows: white neutral wire to silver screw, black hot wire to brass screw and green grounding wire to green terminal screw.
  • Tighten the terminal screws and reassemble the plug.

Replacing Self-Connecting Plugs

  • Push the cord (don't strip it) through the shell and into the terminal block.
  • Squeeze the prongs together to grip the cord.
  • Slide into the shell.

Replacing Female Appliance Plugs

  • Unscrew the plug shell.
  • Feed the cord through the spring guard.
  • Strip the wire ends and wrap them clockwise around the terminal screws.
  • Tighten and reassemble the plug.


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