Author: David Harsche

There seems to be a love-hate relationship between extension cord plugs and Ground Pins. The extension cord plug must be getting separation anxiety by now, because the Ground Pin always breaks things off. So, what is really going on with the Ground Pin on your extension cord plug?​

The Ground Pin breaks because of its inherent design flaws:

1. The Ground Pin is hollow

​2.​ The Ground Pin is made from rolled sheet metal that’s separated down the middle

3.​ The Ground Pin has about 40% of it’s area removed which weakens it substantially

4.​ The Ground Pin equipment crimp termination that connects the equipment grounding conductor (EGC)

5. The Ground Pin is secured by being embedded 1/4″ into the plug

Why is the Ground Pin Important?​

The Ground Pin is attached to the equipment grounding conductor (EGC), which is part of the effective ground-fault path that creates a low impedance path to quickly remove dangerous voltage on metal parts from a ground fault by opening the circuit breaker. ​

Will a GFCI receptacle still function properly without a Ground Pin or equipment grounding conductor (EGC)?​

Yes, if the GFCI is working properly. Most of the GFCI devices that are currently installed can continue to work as a receptacle without providing GFCI protection. There has been research that has shown that as much as 19% of GFCI receptacles did not provide GFCI protection. As much as 15% of GFCI circuit breakers did not provide GFCI protection. In lighting prone areas, like Florida, it was shown that as much as 58.2% of GFCI devices did not provide GFCI protection. It is essential to always test any GFCI device prior to using any receptacle. ​

How does the Solid Ground Cords’ Ground Pin compare?

A ​Ground Pin is solid Bronze. A B​ Ground Pin is anchored over 3⁄4 inch into a patented anchoring device.

How can you ensure extension cord safety?

1.​ Test all GFCI devices before use. The manufacturers recommend to test all GFCI devices monthly.

2.​ Have an Electrician install a Self-Test GFCI receptacle in place of all GFCI receptacles.

3.​ It’s critical to ensure that your Extension Cord does not have a loose or broken Ground Pin. Check your cord for any damaged cable jackets or cable jacket separations from the plug. Replace your cord if you find that your cord has any damage.

4. Consider purchasing extension cords from They have the longest lasting extension cords with a Ground Pin that is virtually unbreakable. You will save money and increase your safety.

David Harsche is a NEC Consultant and Instructor, and a soon to be published author! To learn more about David and the upcoming release of his book, connect with him on LinkedIn.