My vacuum cleaner cable and plug (pins) used to get hot. As a workaround, I bought a heavy duty extension cord and I use it with the vacuum cleaner. Originally, I noticed that while the vacuum cleaner cable continued to be warm, the extension cord never got warm at all.

Recently, I started testing the extension cord prongs, and I noticed that while the neutral pin temperature doesn't change at all, the hot pin gets slightly warm. If I don't test right away after unplugging the cord, I would hardly notice the difference. I have to put the pins on my lips to confirm the temperature.

Now I read that it's normal for a cord to get a little warm for appliances such as vacuum cleaners or toasters. What I am not sure about is why only one of the two pins gets warm, while the other doesn't. Should I call for an electrician to inspect, or is this normal, and I am being a bit paranoid?

  • 1
    the neutral has a bigger heatsink on it.
    – dandavis
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


Yes, that's normal especially when running a relatively high-powered appliance like a vacuum.

As long as it's just "warm" there should be no issues although sometimes the outlets get worn and the pins inside no longer make good contact. It this is an older or heavily used outlet, you might consider replacing it. This could be why you are seeing only ONE pin getting warm, one may be weaker than the other at this point.

Also make sure the cord is in good condition with no kinks or worn areas. The vacuum itself can also be an issue if the motor is having trouble due to blockages or bad bearings.

But unless things are getting "hot" you should be ok.

  • 3
    Yes, a little warm is expected. The neutral prong might be cooler because many of them are a bit larger that the hot prong. The outlets are polarized and the neutral slot is larger to accommodate the larger neutral prong.+1
    – JACK
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 19:43

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