Summer is almost here. That means speakers in the garden, beers in the cooler, maybe you'll even watch a game or two outside.
The linchpin that holds your summer plans together is the humble outdoor extension cable.
In this article, we're going to teach you how to protect your outdoor extension cable from rain and humidity. The good news is you can do this with some items you have lying around the house.
Before we get started on the DIY options, let's talk through some Do's and Don'ts of extension cords.
A lot of people are too afraid to use their extension cables outdoors. Whilst being cautious is better than being reckless, if you're careful then you're in no danger.
Just by heeding the following advice, you can keep your family and yourself safe:
- Remember that extension cords are temporary solutions, not permanent ones. Do not leave your extension cords out overnight, or outside all summer.
- Don't just turn them off at the wall, take the plug out of the outlet.
- Always inspect your cords before using them, particularly before taking them outside
- As important as it is to keep your extension cords dry outside, it's just as important to store them in a dry location
- Make sure the cord is completely attached to the wall before plugging anything else into it
Now that we have gone through some of the most important safety methods for dealing with extension cords. Let's look at some things that you definitely shouldn't do with extension cords:
- Do not attach extension cords to walls or floors using staples, nails, or anything else that could pierce the cable. Never do this whilst the cable is on.
- You should not use extension cords in place of traditional wiring. They should always be plugged into outlets; not inside walls, or under floorboards.
- Avoid passing extension cords through doorways, windows, and other places where they can become a fire or tripping hazard.
- Never plug them in never a water source
- Avoid trying to stretch cables. If they are too short for what you need, find a longer cord or move the items closer to the outlet.
Now that we have covered the health and safety basics of using extension cables, we can move onto how to protect your extension cords from the rain.
DIY methods for protecting your outdoor extension cords from the rain
Below we have collected three methods to keep your outdoor extension cable safe from rain and humidity. Some of these methods are better than others, but they will all work in a pinch.
Here are two tips before we get started:
- Never perform any DIY on a live wire
- Always use electrical tape when working with wires. Never use metal tape!
Now, let's get into the methods
Top Choice - Plastic Container
All you will need for this DIY is a plastic container, knife, and drill.
If you always keep your extension cable in the same spot outside then you could dig a hole to slot this into. This will make it more secure, and less of a tripping hazard.
Step 1 - Find a plastic container that is the right size to cover most, if not all of your extension cable. Long and thin boxes work best for this method.
Step 2 - Use the drill to mark out a hole on either side of the container. The cable will need to fit snugly into these holes so don't make them too wide.
Step 3 - Use the knife to cut out the holes. If they are too small at this point you can use the knife to widen them.
Step 4 - Place the cord inside the box. Thread it through the holes, and seal off the holes with electrical tape.
Your extension cord is now ready to be moved around and placed in the garden.
If you see any condensation building inside of the box, then it is not airtight. Turn off the power before opening the box and letting it breathe.
The I Can't Believe That Worked Choice - Pool Noodle
We've seen this trick done with an inner tube before. But our method is easier and cheaper to put together.
Step 1 - Acquire the right amount of pool noodles to cover your extension cord. Cut the pool noodles down to size.
Step 2 - Slice into the pool noodle so they open like a hotdog bun.
Step 3 - Insert the cable into the pool noodle and re-seal the noodle with electrical tape.
Step 4 - Seal the noodles' ends with electrical tape as well.
As you can see this is a pretty simple trick that works really well. It also makes it less painful if you trip over the cord (trust us).
The For Emergencies Choice - Plastic Bags
This is not our top choice. However, if you are in a real bind then this can totally do the trick. Just be prepared to spend quite a bit of time taping.
Remember: never work on a live extension cord!
Step 1: Find yourself a few sturdy plastic bags. These need to be thick and not grocery store carrier bags. You will need enough to cover the length of your extension cable.
Step 2 - Tape the bags together, leaving a small hole for the cable at either end. You want to make sure the seals at each connection point are airtight and watertight.
Alternative Step 2 - Cut the bags into strips and tape to the cable. Again make sure that the seals are airtight and that there aren't any gaps.
Step 3 - Thread the cable through the bags and use electrical tape to seal off the exposed ends.
Again, this isn't the easiest or the best method. However, we do understand that sometimes options can be limited. And this method is better than no method at all.
If you keep in mind everything that you have read in this article, you'll be ready to have a great summer in your back garden. And do it safely.