When wiring or rewiring your workshop, consider installing extra outlets in the ceiling, positioned over groupings of power tools. Ceiling outlets can be more accessible and can help eliminate tripping over extension cords. If you are setting up or remodeling your workshop, also plan to install at least one outlet every 3 ft. around the perimeter.
To choose the right lamp, you should consider the best bulb to get the job done. There are 3 commonly used bulb types: 1) Incandescent - The most common bulb used in lamps today because they are inexpensive and widely available. Common incandescent bulbs vary from 15 to 150 watts and produce a soft yellow-white light, emitted in all directions. They are generally available in clear, frosted, or colored. Incandescent bulbs are great for standard ambient lighting and higher wattages are good for task lighting. (Never exceed the maximum wattage recommended for your lamp!) 2) Halogen - Many of today's lamps use halogen bulbs, which produce a bright, white light. They most closely replicate the color spectrum of the sun. Halogen bulbs have a longer life and provide more light (lumens) per watt than regular incandescent bulbs. Their small size and intensity make halogens great for task lighting. Since halogen bulbs burn hotter than other types, they require more caution. All halogen lamps sold today in the USA have approved safety shields to reduce fire risk. When changing a halogen bulb, be sure to wait until the bulb cools to touch it. Always use a clean rag to handle a halogen bulb, as oils from your hand will cause the bulb to burn hotter and can greatly reduce the life of your bulb. 3) Fluorescent - A very energy efficient bulb, using 20-40% less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs, and can last up to 20 times longer. Many new compact styles make fluorescent bulbs practical for task lighting. Screw-in types can be used in place of incandescent bulbs in standard lamp sockets. Warmth and softness of the light is improving.
If your extension cord gets tangled up, don't pull on the ends. Instead, gently loosen all the tighter snarls in the middle until them become larger loops that can easily be untangled. A way to avoid tangles is to use a retractable cord reel. It will let you reel out only the amount of cord you need, then quickly reel it back when you're done.
Never use an extension cord while it is coiled or looped. Never cover any part of an extension cord with newspapers, clothing, rugs, or any objects while the cord is in use. Never place an extension cord where it is likely to be damaged by heavy furniture or foot traffic.
When you hook up a power tool to an heavy-duty extension cord, remember that all cords are not alike and all power tools do not necessarily require the same size cord. Check each tool's owners manual to find out its requirements. Here's a helpful guide for cords less than 50 ft. #12 gauge - 1920 watts - 16 amps - large bench saws #14 gauge - 1440 watts - 12 amps - portable power saws, routers #16 gauge - 840 watts - 7 amps - belt sanders, recip saws #18 gauge - 600 watts - 5 amps - drills, small sanders
Don't overload extension cords by plugging in appliances that draw a total of more watts than the rating of the cord. Use special, heavy duty extension cords for high wattage appliances such as air conditioners, portable electric heaters, and freezers. When using outdoor tools and appliances, use only extension cords labeled for outdoor use.
Before you buy that new powertool, check your homes electrical capacity. Make sure that you have the proper voltage and wiring requirements.
Check the plug and the body of the extension cord while the cord is in use. Noticeable warming of these plastic parts is expected when cords are being used at their maximum rating, however, if the cord feels hot or if there is a softening of the plastic, this is a warning that the plug wires or connections are failing and that the extension cord should be discarded and replaced.
When lighting a sloped wall or a tight space, consider fiber optics. Light from a projector travels through fiber optic strands to a glass brick or other fixture. One line voltage lamp can operate up to 20 glass bricks as bounce light or accents lights. In a mural, individual fiber optic strands create stars for dramatic effect.
Replace cracked or worn extension cords with new. #16 gauge cords that have the listing, of a nationally-recognized testing laboratory, safety closures, and other safety features. With cords lacking safety closures, cover any unused outlets with electrical tape or with plastic caps to prevent the chance of a child making contact with the live circuit.