Extreme Cords & GFCIs
Whether you like to DIY projects or you’re a contractor, you’ll want to protect the investment you have in power tools with extreme cords & GFCIs (or, Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters). This blog article will provide you with tips that will not only protect your tools but most importantly provide you with key safety measures to protect yourself.
Two of the easiest (& very important) ways to protect your tools and yourself are simply using extreme cords & GFCIs.
Extreme Cords & Their Function
First, I’ll start with extreme cords. You might be wondering what the difference is between an extreme cord and a traditional outdoor cord. And, why spend the extra money… is it really worth it?
Short answer is, yes they are worth it and you won’t regret the purchase!
Outdoor cords are essential if you’re doing any outdoor work with power tools or hooking outdoor accessories up to power such as patio or holiday lights on your house and in your yard.
Traditional outdoor extension cord features compared to indoor extension cords:
- Larger gauge to allow more current to flow.
- Available in lengths up to 150ft or longer (MC Tool & Safety has up to 100ft cords stocked in our warehouse, we can order in longer if needed).
- Protective insulation covering (protects against, sunlight, oil, moisture & temperature changes).
- Third prong cord provides a grounding wire to reduce the risk of electrical shock or fire.
- Higher amperage.
- Lighted ends will illuminate when power & electrical current is detected.
- Will hold up in the harshest weather conditions with a wide temperature range of -94 to 221˚Fahrenheit (UV Resistant, will not deteriorate under the sun).
- Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) Compound; abrasion resistant (dragged & pressure of being rolled under a tire).
- Inner conductor is made of TPE as well for maximum flexibility.
- Outer jackets are molded into the plug with additional metal ring to hold it in place which prevents the inner wires from being exposed.
- 3-Prong blades are made of solid metal so they will not bend.
- Triple tap options.
- cULus Approval & rated SJEOOW = oil & weather resistant.
- Made in the USA.
- LIFETIME GUARANTEE!!
Watch the Voltec Extreme cord in action and see why it’s worth it:
Whether you’re doing some DIY house projects, a hobby builder or you need jobsite power the durability with the Extreme Cords provides you with extra safety measures to avoid fire or electric shock. Both are very important safety measures to take and not items you should cut corners with.
What are Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters and why are they so important?
That’s an excellent question! 😉
First, lets start with explaining what a ground fault is. Electricity flows through wires that are contained in rubber or plastic insulating material that is wrapped around the wires. Electricity runs through these wires safely when working properly. In it’s raw state, electricity has a mind of it’s own as you see often during thunderstorms when lightning strikes. What we see, is when that electricity is left to it’s own devices it beelines for the ground. Similar to this example, when a ground fault happens in our homes, on a jobsite or in the office the electricity takes an unexpected path outside of that wire insulated housing. It beelines to the ground through a unintended conductor such as human beings & water which are both excellent conductor of electricity sources. This can happen easily with damaged housing or faulty wiring resulting in a serious electrical shock or electrocution.
Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
GFCIs are fast-acting circuit breakers that will shut off electric power in as little as 1/40th of a second if the sensor that monitors the flow of electricity inside the unit senses a ground fault. GFCIs provide that safety net against the most common form of electrical shock hazard, the ground-fault. A GFCI unit works by comparing the amount of current going to and returning from equipment along the circuit conductors. When the amount going differs from the amount returning by approximately 5 milliamperes, the GFCI interrupts the current (OSHA,Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters). Its quick-to-react design will trip to prevent an electrical incident and if it’s properly installed and maintained a GFCI will trip as soon as a faulty tool is plugged in. Conversely, if the grounding conductor is not intact or of low-impedance, the GFCI may not trip until an unintended conductor (a person) provides a path. As a result, you will receive a shock, but the GFCI should trip so quickly that the painful shock will not be harmful.
GFCIs also protects against fires, overheating, and destruction of wire insulation. However, it’s important to note that although a GFCI provides electrical safety measures it will not protect you from line contact hazards such as a person holding two “hot” wires, a hot and a neutral wire in each hand, or contacting an overhead power line. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), electrocutions are down a whopping 83% since the 1970’s which is when GFCIs were introduced.
There are 3 main types of GFCIs available:
receptacle, portable & cord.
First, is the receptacle GFCI. This unit incorporates a GFCI device within one or more receptacle outlets. These units are popular because of their low cost. The NEC requires all new homes & buildings have a GFCI receptacle outlet if in close proximity of water such as exterior outlets, bathrooms and kitchens. Also, commonly found in the kitchen, laundry rooms and garages where power tools are often used.
Second, is the portable GFCI. Portable type of GFCIs come in several styles, all designed for easy transport. Some are designed to plug into existing non-GFCI outlets, or connect with a cord and plug arrangement. The portable unit also incorporates a no-voltage release device that will disconnect power to the outlets if any supply conductor is open. Also important to note, units that are approved for outdoor use will be in enclosures suitable for the environment and if exposed to rain, they must be listed as waterproof.
Third, is the cord GFCI. The Cord-Connected Type of GFCI is an attachment plug incorporating the GFCI module. It protects the cord and any equipment attached to the cord. The attachment plug has a non-standard appearance with test and reset buttons. Like the portable type, it incorporates a no-voltage release device that will disconnect power to the load if any supply conductor is open.
Extreme cords & GFCI’s should always pair together.
Always make sure you’re plugging your extreme cord into an outlet equipped with a GFCI.
I want to also share some additional tools you might find handy or even necessary when working with extreme cords & GFCIs.
Occasionally you should be testing your GFCI unit(s) to ensure its working properly. One way to do this is with a GFCI receptacle tester like this.
No matter the work you’re doing you should protect your hands.
Here are two glove options you might like.
- Nitrile-coated palm with New Foam Technology finish allows hands to breathe while providing great grip in wet, oily, or dry conditions
- 15-gauge nylon/spandex shell offers bare hand sensitivity
- touch screen capabilities
- reflective accents
- cut rating A6
- thermal insulation