Nowadays, you can find more reasons for using extension cords outside. From electric power tools, garden equipment, or you are full-time RV living.
Extension cords make life easier when we need electricity in areas where there are no sockets.
RVs can be a prime example where you don’t have a rigged-up vehicle to connect, and you need to run certain appliances.
No matter the scenario, extension cords are fine until the weather changes, and it starts raining. Electricity and water don’t mix, and you could find yourself with a problem. Here you can learn how to waterproof an RV extension cord or your home extension from the rain.
Can Outdoor Extension Cords be Used in Rain?
Outdoor extension cords are ideal for lights or delivering power to many appliances or devices when camping or parking up in your RV.
However, with repeated use, they can be damaged, or when exposed to the sun, they may lose their ability to fend off harsh weather conditions.
It is advisable to change any cord you plug into an exterior outlet. Still, until then, you can use any of our tips to protect your power cords from weather and the chances of further damage or you getting an electric shock.
An extension cord cover will protect outdoor extension cords from becoming a safety hazard when you use them in rough elements. (Read Our Clean RV Awning Guide)
Some indoor extension cords may appear suitable for outdoor use, yet you’ll need to determine this for safe use by the markings:
- S – General use
- W – Suitable for outdoor use
- J – 300-volt insulation (if there is no J showed, the cord will offer 600-volt insulation)
- P – Parallel wiring for indoor use
- O – Cord coverings are oil-resistant
- T – Cord jacket is manufactured from vinyl thermoplastic
- E – The cord jacket is made from thermoplastic elastomer rubber
You won’t need all these, yet it is good to know the suitable details for outdoor use.
How Do I Protect My Outdoor Extension Cord from Rain?
Around this time of year, showers can spring up when you least expect them. Because of this, you’ll need to make sure the electrical cord you use for an extension is thoroughly protected if you need to leave it outside to run lights or anything else that requires power.
Besides a single connection, you can always find you need to connect two extension cords to reach the extra distance.
Here you can find a few DIY tricks and tips to keep your extension cord connections dry and safe from the rain.
Make a DIY Extension Power Cord Protector Cover
You can use this in any area there’s a threat of water. So, if you’re in your RV or you’re running sprinklers, this tip can help protect outdoor extension cords.
- Purchase suitably sized plastic containers that you will use to sit on the ground and used as a dry box to keep your cords dry.
- Drill a hole in either end, but make sure it is as small as possible to let your cable through yet keep the rain out of the container.
- Take a sharp utility knife and cut from the holes to the top of the container.
- Part the plastic apart to insert the plug into the container.
- You can use waterproof duct tape to seal the slit you cut for extra protection (electrical tape won’t stick when wet)
- Put the lid back on the container, and you are good to go
- Keep extension cord plugs inside, and this weatherproof container will protect them from wet weather.
You will discover the container doesn’t need to be airtight, and if it isn’t, it will help as it avoids any condensation forming.
The protection level is suitable for most conditions, though you can lift it off the ground away from the grass as an added precaution.
Alternative Methods to Keep a Power Cord Dry
Here are a couple of other methods to keep power cables dry against the environment when you are in a hurry.
- Take a tire inner tube and cut a piece around six inches in length
- Position this on one end of your extension cord
- Plugin your lights or appliance and slide the inner tube over this for cover
It is a simple and effective method, yet it can let water seep in from the inner tube’s ends.
- Get heavy-duty plastic bags that are large enough to fit your electrical cords
- Wrap the connected extension power cord ends with the plastic bags
You can use wire or duct tape to fasten these together and keep your cords dry.
How Do You Keep Electrical Cords Dry Outside?
Suppose you need to quickly secure your external power cords against the outdoors environment and have no chance to get to the store for materials to make covers. You can use these couple of tips and ideas for short-term protection. (Learn What to Do When RV Toilet Clogged)
As in the same way you used a plastic bag earlier, you can use pallet wrap, heavy-duty saran wrap. It is handy to have around for many uses, yet you can use some sandwich wrap in a pinch.
Wrap around the sections of your extension you need to protect from the rain. Make sure not to tighten the wrap too much, or it could cause overheating or other issues.
To secure it in place, use a bit of tape. You can also use this to wrap around an outdoor extension cord cover for added protection.
Duct Tape or Electrical Tape
Duct tape has hundreds of uses, and anyone into DIY or RV living should have a roll.
As the most basic cord protector and to stop rain from falling on your connections, you can use this to help protect the power outlet.
You will discover duct tape is only water-resistant and not waterproof. Electrical tape will stop water for a short period, yet this offers no sticking ability and could peel off.
How Do You Waterproof Outdoor Electrical Connections?
Here are three methods to waterproof electrical connections that comprise bare wires and you have to connect cords together.
Liquid Electrical Tape
- Mix the product as instructed.
- Brush across the exposed wire joint. (it needs a minimum of two coats and wait 10 minutes between applying coats.)
- You can apply this to soldered joints, male and female spade connectors, or butt connectors.
Self-Fusing Silicone Tape
- Holding one end of your wire stationary. Cut off a tape length and wrap around with a 2/3 overlap as you wrap around the exposed area. The tape can stretch around 3 times its length, and the better the stretch, the better the protection. The silicone tape takes around 24 hrs to fuse.
- You can use this on many connections like soldered, butt connectors, male and female spade connectors, and lots more.
Heat Shrink Tube
It would help if you had the right-sized diameter to match the exposed conductor. Cut a length and make sure it overlaps any remaining insulation.
Use a heat gun and warm to shrink the tube around your connectors. This method is only used on two ends of wire or butt connectors.
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