Extension Cord Grounding Explained

There Is Lots Of Confusion About That “Round” Pin On An Extension Cord Plug

The third (round) pin on quality extension cords and most appliances is the “ground” pin, and it is critical to understanding how to safely use the cord.

The ground pin, when used with properly wired electrical outlets.

When an appliance with a connector that includes a ground pin is plugged into a properly grounded outlet, electricity flowing to the appliance has a complete path back to earth ground, giving a large additional safety margin for the user.

If the cable in the appliance is damaged, then the live “hot” conductor can deliver power directly to the body or handle of the appliance. If there is no ground path back through the cable, extension cord and outlet, then the most direct path to ground becomes whomever is using the tool, a potentially dangerous or even fatal problem.

Any tool or appliance that has a three pin connector which includes a ground pin should only be used with a grounded-three conductor-extension cord and should only be plugged into a properly grounded outlet.

The ground pin from an appliance should never be removed so that it can be plugged into a two conductor (non-grounded) extension cord.

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