An extension cord has a plug at one end and a socket at the other end. They are used when one wants to connect appliances to a power source beyond the reach of the appliances on the cord.
Outdoor extension cords have been made to last. Due to the nature of their use, the materials used in making them are more durable compared to those indoors.
They include a thick gauge wire insulated with plastic, vinyl, or rubber. These materials are meant to protect against temperature changes and moisture.
The outdoor extension cords are also characterized by a three-pronged plug, unlike indoors with two-pronged plugs. The third prong acts as a ground wire that helps protect one from electrical shocks or fires.
Protecting Your Outdoor Extension Cord From Rain
When installing an outdoor extension cord, it is advisable to take cautionary measures to ensure your home’s safety. As useful as they are, the cords are also vulnerable to several things.
Rain is one of the factors that greatly interfere with the safety of the cords. However, you can protect the cords from rain and moisture in many ways.
Use of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
It is an automatic safety measure device that acts as a circuit breaker. It senses when the electric power is flowing through water, a person, or anything that is not supposed to be flowing through.
It then automatically shuts down power to the outdoor extension cord to prevent further damages.
How to install the GFCI adapter
First, you should ensure that the existing circuit’s amperage rating is the same as that of the GFCI and the new circuit cable.
Cut about 6 inches of the cover from the circuit cable. Then remove ¾ inch of insulation from the white and black coated wires.
Connect the copper ground wire to the green ground screw terminal on the GFCI outlet.
The white (neutral) is connected to the silver (neutral) terminal marked line on the outlet.
Lastly, the black (hot) wire is connected to the brass (hot) terminal marked line on the outlet.
Safely put the wires into the box and securely attach them somewhere using the provided screws. It would help if you did it according to the company’s guidelines and regulations.
Use of Extension cord plug protective cover set
It is made of heavy-duty plastic with rubber seals at all the edges. The rubber seals prevent the entry of water. These make it durable and watertight, therefore protecting against electrical shorts and blowouts.
Most of them are capsule-shaped, and this allows water to slide down, adding extra water-repelling action.
You can acquire them from various electrical stores. However, it should not be continuously exposed to water since this may weaken the edges.
Use of homemade DIY extension power cord protection cover
When dealing with electricity, many tend to be cautious. They always opt for certified electrical equipment appliances from known companies to ensure their safety. They also feel safe when all their electrical fittings have been done by a professional.
Regardless, some homemade electrical equipment and appliances can still guarantee your safety. Making a protective power cord protection cover is simple and costly.
First, you should purchase a plastic container. If you already have a container at home, you can use it. The container should be stiff and, at the same time, easy to set up on the ground.
Holes are drilled at each end of the container and should be the same size as the cord’s wire to prevent water and other elements from entering.
The holes can be carefully cut using a utility knife. After cutting, gently spread the plastic apart and carefully insert the plugin into the container.
After you have inserted the plug, put the top back on and choose the safest place to put your shield. If stored right, it will serve you well and save you a lot of trouble.
Install waterproof cover
They will keep the cords free from moisture and will allow you to work under any conditions, i.e., snowy or rainy.
By properly installing the outlets
Outdoor power outlets should be properly installed and covered. To be certain, you should call an expert to check if there are any loose wires, cracks, or cut corners. Fixing such issues will ensure there is no entry point for water.
Types Of Outdoor Extension Cord
Outdoor extension cords are classified into three general groups. One can choose a cord depending on the severity of the job at hand. They range from high-duty to light-duty and come with specific adjustments to fit their tasks.
Occasional use outdoor extension cords
They are made for use for a short period of time. You can use it on a drill while repairing your fence or in any other simple projects around your home.
Frequent use outdoor extension cords
They are used on heavier tools and equipment that require more electricity, such as 110-volt equipment. They are used on longer and heavier projects compared to the occasionally used ones. For example, you can use it to power a table saw in your workshop.
Rugged outdoor extension cords
Used mainly for commercial purposes like construction job sites. They tend to be superior in terms of resistance. They also have a larger ampere rating. It is used to run things like a campsite generator effectively.
Outdoor Extension Cord Designation
The outdoor extension cords’ packages come with initials that denote the cords’ certain characteristics and use.
When purchasing the cords, one should be keen on the initials to avoid buying the wrong purpose cord.
S– Stand for a multipurpose or general use cord that is more flexible.
W– This means that the cord is for use for outdoor purposes.
J– It informs that the cable has 300 voltage wires in the coating. Simultaneously, the package that does not have the J initials means that the cord has 600 voltage wires in the coating, and it is for commercial use.
P– It is found in household extension cords and air conditioner power cord. These cords are to be wired in parallel to avoid faults.
T– This is an extension cord that has been coated with a vinyl thermoplastic material.
E – Extension cords jacket is made of thermoplastic elastomer rubber, also denoted as TPE.
O– These have oil-resistant cables.
Safety Tips For Using An Outdoor Extension Cord
Choosing the right extension cord and using a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFSI) are considered the safest measures available.
However, several other precautionary measures should be followed. This will ensure your safety and that of your family members and friends.
After using the extension cord, you should ensure it is properly stored. It should be carefully and neatly folded as it was when opening the package.
It is then kept in a safe place free from rodents because it can destroy the insulators. The place should also be free from rain and snow.
Carrying out checks
When taking it out of storage for use, you should do an intensive check. This will help you notice any cracks on the insulation or exposed wires. In case of any problem, do not use the cord. If a cord overheats, turn it off.
Check the manufactures instruction manual.
For outdoor purposes, only use cords that have been marked for outdoor use. This is because they are well insulated to cope up with harsh weather conditions. The use of wrong cords may pose a danger.
Do not overextend the cord to power extra appliances. Most outdoor cords come in 25 to 150-foot length. Only by the length, you need for use.
The excessive length will cause a power shortage, and this will be detrimental to your power tools. Each cord has its own capabilities and has been built to accommodate them.
Overburdening of the cord might lead to an explosion of the wire or the appliances. Use brightly colored cords for visibility. Bright colors will help you locate the cables and prevent you from tripping when moving around the compound.
It is also good for anyone working around your home and was not there while installing the cord. They will see and avoid it hence saving their lives.
The extension cord capacity should be more than or almost equal to that of the appliance attached to it. This will prevent the wires from overheating and burning the insulators.
Never leave an outdoor extension cord that has been plugged into power open. When not in use, it should be unplugged from the power source. This will reduce the chances of one getting shocked.
Never use the extension cords in places where there is proper electric wiring. This might lead to interferences. Instead, hide it in ceilings, holes, floors, and walls.
If possible, avoid tacking or holding cords on the walls by use of nails or pins. This will save you from electrical shocks.
It should be noted that extension cord is used as temporary electrical solutions such as to trim bushes. However, all electrical appliances should be handled with absolute care to avoid unnecessary complications.
When using the outdoor extension cord and you are unsure about its safety. You should contact your local electricity experts. They will check your system and help put in place the right safety measures.
But those having electrical skills can also make the adjustments on their own while following the safety measures.