Extension cords extend your workshop or home’s electrical circuits when the tool, appliance, or lamp cord is too short to reach the intended location. Many people use various extensive cords but often ignore that the cables must be the correct size for the current that will flow on them.
Some appliances or tools like welders often have high current consumption. Using an extension cord with a thin wire may risk fire, damage to your equipment, tripped circuit breakers, and damaged circuit breakers, wires, and power outlets.
Whether you purchase a new extension cord or make one yourself, you must utilize properly sized wires. This post will discuss the correct thickness for your extension cord to handle a load of 30 amps. Read on to learn more.
Extension Cord Ratings
Extension cords have different ratings depending on the amperage and wattage they can safely handle. The wire’s gauge determines both wattage and amperage. The amperage rating of a 30 amp extension cord should ideally be indicated on its tag, although some manufacturers may not include it.
When selecting an extension cord, it’s vital to establish the amount of amperage and wattage the equipment can draw when connected to the extension cord. Most household electrical cords can support simple house appliances like televisions, radios, lamps, and other electronics. But things can become complicated if you use a device that requires around 30amps or more. The electrical consumption of these devices tends to be considerably higher, meaning you shouldn’t use lightweight extension cords with them.
Furthermore, it’s best to consider the extension cord’s length. Remember, the longer the extension cord, the higher the current resistance – meaning the likelihood of overheating is high. For instance, a five-foot heavy-duty extension cord powering a 30amp machine seldom overheats. On the other hand, a 50-foot extension cord of a similar wire gauge may be unfit.
Premade Vs. Self-Made Extension Cords for 30 Amps
Premade extension cords
The most convenient way of getting an extension cord for your 30amps tool or appliance is to purchase a manufactured extensive cable. When choosing a premade extension cord, it is best to find a cord that can handle your load and ensure it has the correct plugs. Thoroughly scrutinize the stated ampacity and wire thickness, and look for an oil-resistant extension cord. For instance, a 50-foot extension cord with an 8-gauge wire thickness can comfortably handle 30 amps on a 240V or 120V power supply.
The current market comprises numerous manufacturers offering a broad range of product offerings. It is possible to find heavy-duty extension cords with various gauges that can transmit around 30 amps or more. Fundamentally, the more amps you run on the extension cord, the costlier the acquisition cost.
Alternatively, if you prefer to save a substantial chunk of your money or cannot find the right extension cord for your needs, you can consider making one yourself.
Making the electric cord yourself
Building your electric cord is relatively straightforward. Anyone with basic electrical or welding skills can assemble the necessary components. The wire’s thickness is very significant; planning the suitable materials will save you time and effort. In addition, you should consider using a thicker wire if you intend to expand your electrical load in the future. You can oversize your extension wire but avoid reducing the size of the gauge.
Here are a few tips to help you make the proper electrical cord for your needs:
- Try to make the extension cord as short and thick as possible. The longer the cable, the higher the voltage will reduce and generate excess heat
- Consider SOOW-rated wires. These wires are used in heavy-duty, power-consuming industrial applications that require durability and flexibility (the SOOW rating means the wire is approved to handle 30 amps or more, and the interior wire insulation and exterior jacket are oil, water, and weather resistant)
- Avoid using Romex wires. These are single-strand wires that are not tailored to be frequently rolled up. Constantly handling or bending the wires may break them, posing a risk of electrical shock or fire hazard. In addition, Romex wires are not durable enough to withstand shop spatter or abuse.
- Construct and fit a grounded receptacle and cable. Avoid cables or sockets that you have not grounded.
Effects of Using the Wrong Wire Thickness and Length
Using the wrong size can cause severe damage to your property. When overloads happen in the circuit, they may cause wire damage. Damaged wires may cause fire, damaging your property. Thicker wires can help prevent this condition, but one drawback of using the 8-gauge and 10-gauge electrical cords is that their prices have increased significantly over the last three years.
On the other hand, when you use a longer wire, the electricity demand from your equipment increases. Therefore, use the correct wire size and thickness to enjoy optimal electricity needs.
Wrapping It Up
Whether you intend to use a premade extension cord for your 30-amp tool or appliance or build one yourself, it is best to consider the wire’s quality and gauge carefully. Considering these factors will help keep you and your staff safe and avoid damaging your shop or equipment.
It is best to consider vital factors such as the extension cord’s length, voltage, and length to determine the proper gauge and thickness. You can use various ways if you don’t have all these pieces of information, including online forums.