Your garage is not just a place to park your car. It has become a mini-workspace where you can fix your vehicle, tinker with a broken toaster, do some arts and crafts, or install an overhead shelf. All of these types of jobs often involve the use of power tools. If you have to repair hard-to-reach parts of your car or work away from the power source, you need extension cords to solve the problem.
Sometimes, people don’t organize their garages because they think it’s a dreary, thankless task. Who wants to visit a garage full of clutter? People often just throw extension cords on the floor and leave them there. Or worse, some people would leave the cables plugged into the power source. They would put off organizing them, thinking that they could do that tomorrow or next week. A garage full of clutter is indeed an unpleasant sight and very dangerous, too, if you trip on a tangled extension cord. You can prevent accidents by organizing everything that has become a mess in your garage, including tangled extension cords.
Using these smart and fun ways to organize extension cords, you can prevent power cord-related accidents, such as tripping hazards, sparks, and fires. This will help you maintain your garage as a safe place to park your car or do other tasks. Plus, organizing extension cords will also allow you to have easy access to them when the need arises. First things first, you must untangle those knotted cords carefully.
Why Do We Need Extension Cords for the Garage?
Many of us use our garages for other things besides parking cars. Some people set up craft rooms, which need electricity for glue guns, electric sanding machines, and vacuum cleaners. Others have woodworking shops in their garages, which might require power tools, focused lighting, and space heaters. The needs might overlap, but an extension cord is a budget-friendly way to get the power you need when working on a project. Not everyone has the budget to install outlets where needed, so these cords come in handy when working on a project.
How to Choose the Right Extension Cord?
Before making your extension cord purchase, there are several factors to consider. Buying only the cheapest cords in bulk might seem like a good idea at first, but this results in a compromise on quality. Inferior quality extension cords are more likely to overheat and become a fire hazard. They might also fray, break, or short out shortly after purchase at the most inconvenient moment.
When you’re getting extension cords for your garage, keep these considerations in mind to stay safe and ensure that you can get your work done without much hassle:
1. Their Intended Purpose
You will probably want to know whether the cords you are about to buy are meant for indoor or outdoor use. Indoor extension cords are not meant for outdoor use, while outdoor versions are also fine when used inside.
When choosing an extension cord, keep in mind that it must be placed outdoors or indoors near a power outlet. The location of the nearest power outlet might make the extension cord trail along the ground outside. You may also want the cord for outdoor use at times. In such cases, opt for an outdoor extension cord when you’re narrowing down the choices.
The next step is to ask yourself what you’ll use your extension cord for. Will it only be used to power small appliances, or are there power tools and space heaters to consider? How often will you be using to cord, and what are the conditions in your garage? All these answers will help you decide what extension cord will be best for your situation.
2. Gauge Rating
A wire gauge measures the diameter or thickness of an extension cord’s internal wire. The thicker the wire, the smaller its gauge number (ranging from 0 to 40). If you want a sturdy outdoor extension cord, ensure it has a rating of 10 to 18 AWG.
You can usually tell the gauge rating of a wire just by looking at the number of wires it holds. A 16/2 cord denotes a wire with 16 gauges and two wires inside.
3. Safety Rating
When choosing an extension cord to use with your power tools, ensure it has a safety rating from independent testing agencies such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or ETL (Intertek). These agencies will ensure that the cord meets all international and federal safety standards.
4. Power Capacity or Rating
The ampere (amp) measures the current in an extension cord. The voltage is a measure of the resistance to electric flow. Checking these values is essential; you need to plug in appliances accordingly. Suppose a cord doesn’t have enough power rating to properly power a certain tool or appliance. In that case, it risks overheating and catching fire.
5. Voltage Drop
You might be able to find extension cords that measure over a hundred feet, but most household tasks won’t require anything so long. The length of the extension cord affects voltage drop. As the electric flow moves away from the generator, it loses strength due to resistance from the wire.
To prevent voltage loss, you should use the shortest extension cord possible for your task.
6. Types of Sockets and Plugs
Extension cords come in two-prong and three-prong versions. Suppose the extension cord you’re using has three prongs. In that case, it’s a grounded cord, indicating increased safety and providing another path for the electric current to flow through. Look for one with three prongs if you’re using large appliances or heavy-duty power tools with your extension cord.
The socket is where you plug in power for whatever you want to use it for. It can be a long, thin strip or a short, thick one with several or many outlets. If your appliance has a three-pronged plug, ensure your extension cord has one too.
7. Strength of Jacket
Wires covered for protection should be effective for safe function and insulate the inside, which can be done with nylon, plastics, vinyl, rubber, and similar materials. A quality jacket will also prevent overheating.
Extension cords are typically marked with one or more letters to identify their material, purpose, and strength. Here are some of the letters you may find:
- S: Flexible cord for general use
- W: Suitable for outdoor use
- J: 300 voltage insulation (without J, there would be 600-volt insulation)
- P: parallel wire construction
- T: The material is vinyl thermoplastic.
- E: Material is TPE (thermoplastic elastomer rubber)
- O: Oil resistant
The table below summarizes the various main features of extension cords and what they provide:
Range of Length
25 to 100 feet
Christmas lights and fans
25 to 100 feet
Lights, fans, and tools like hedge trimmers
25 to 150 feet
Corded lawn mowers, power drills
25 to 150 feet
Chain saws, industrial vacuums
25 to 150 feet
Power tools, generators
Types of Extension Cords for Your Garage
Garage wiring can be a confusing topic. There are so many extension cords, and it can be hard to know which one you need for your garage. Here are some of the most common types of extension cords for garages:
Light-Duty Extension Cords
Light-duty cords are ideal for smaller appliances such as drills or vacuums. They aren’t very strong or durable, so don’t use them for heavy-duty tools like circular saws or drills. Light-duty cords usually have prongs that are spaced closer together than those on other types of cords. This makes them great if you have a small space between outlets and don’t want cords hanging everywhere!
Medium-Duty Extension Cords
Medium-duty extension cords power larger appliances like lawnmowers and snowblowers in the garage. These 16 gauge cords have more insulation than light-duty cords, so they can handle more voltage (usually between 120V and 300V). Unfortunately, they’re not quite as flexible as light-duty cords because they need all that extra insulation to stay safe in your home’s wiring system.
Heavy-duty Extension Cords
These cords are used for heavier-duty tasks such as powering lawnmowers or other outdoor machinery. They’re typically made from a thick wire that can handle more wattage than other extension cords. Heavy-duty extension cords have thicker insulation on their prongs, making them less likely to melt or catch fire if something goes wrong. But remember that these are not meant for indoor use—if you want to use them indoors, ensure they have a flexible rubber covering around each prong, so they don’t damage your walls or flooring!
Tips on Organizing Extension Cords
1. Use Toilet Paper Rolls
Use toilet paper rolls to prevent extension cords from getting tangled up and lost. Simply cut each tube in half with a utility knife, then slit each half vertically down its center. Remove the cardboard from the middle of each tube and close the open end with duct tape to prevent fraying. Now you’ve got a dispenser for your extension cord. And don’t throw those used paper rolls out! Paint them any color you like and attach labels so you can easily see which one holds which cord.
2. Heavy-Duty Hooks
You can turn any unused garage wall into an extra nook for storing extension cords by using hooks! Just buy some hooks, which you can place on any unused walls of your garage, workshop, or shelves and racks for extra storage space.
Heavy-duty garage hooks are the best choice when durability and longer-lasting use are important. Some extension cords are long and thick; they can be cumbersome when neatly bundled up. Large and heavy-duty hooks can hold the cords much better than inferior hooks. You can also hang some other tools for easy storage and access. Because, let’s face it – “out of sight, out of mind.”
You can also print out labels on top of each hook, which will help you track which appliance or device it’s assigned to.
3. Use a Cord or Cable Management Sleeves
You can use cord or cable management sleeves to neatly gather one or more cords when they’re in use—all at the same time. A cable storage system typically consists of zippers to seal itself around cords, made of flexible and form-fitting neoprene material with a zipper. This feature allows you to fit as many extension cords as you can inside it. They conceal unsightly cords while providing easy access to them.
This cord or cable management sleeve keeps unsightly cables out of view and makes it easy to keep them organized.
4. Use Ziploc Bags
Plastic storage containers are a good idea, but they can take up a lot of space on your shelves and cabinets. Instead, use Ziploc bags to store your extension cords. They can save you space on your shelves and drawers, reduce clutter in your garage, and make it easier to find what you need. Another great thing about using these bags is that you can put them with labels, allowing you to mark notes such as the length and thickness of the cord, the number of sockets, and the voltage it can safely accommodate.
5. Use Extension Cord Organizers
With the help of these extension cord organizers, you can ensure that your cords are neat and organized. These small straps are heavy-duty – they’re made of high-density, super-sturdy, and weather-resistant nylon material, which can hold up to about 50 lbs (or 22 kgs) of the load. They have robust hanger buckles with big holes for easy carrying and hanging onto garage wall hooks for storage.
Depending on the size or weight of the cords, these extension cord organizers can be adjusted to accommodate their length or thickness.
6. Wall-Mounted Extension Cord Organizer
One option is to mount an extension cord organizer on the wall. These organizers are made from durable plastic that’s easy to clean and come in different sizes, so they’ll fit any size cord or multiple cords. These organizers also come with hooks or slots so you can hang tools or other items next to the extension cords without getting them tangled up.
7. Use Colored Masking Tapes
Color-coded masking tape makes a good label for different types of extension cords. These tapes help you identify which type of cord you are using, preventing misplacement and helping to ensure that the right tool is used for the right job.
Benefits of Organizing Your Extension Cords in Garage
Organizing your garage is a great way to make it easier to find the tools you need when you need them. You can even get creative and make the best use of your space by using simple organizing hacks. One of the easiest ways to do that is by storing extension cords in a way that makes them easy to access.
Here are some benefits of storing extension cords in your garage:
- It’s easier than ever to find what you’re looking for when you have an organized space.
- You’ll be able to keep your garage clean and tidy, which means less time cleaning later!
- You’ll be able to use all the space in your garage instead of having things lying around everywhere—which is excellent for productivity and organization!
One important subject for those who work in a garage or use it to store stuff and hang out: is where to organize extension cords. This article looks at common scenarios and how to solve them and offers great tips on staying organized year-round. While some of these are relatively simple fixes, they don’t usually come up until you really need them. Good information for most homeowners.