Whether you plan on having a barbeque with your friends, lounging on the lawn for some sun, or need to work with some power tools outside of the house, YOU NEED an extension cord.
BUT we ALL KNOW that nature can get tricky.
As much as we like to think we have a good grasp of the weather, you can NEVER TELL when mother nature decides to pour down on us.
So, if you’re ever worried about your extension cord connection getting wet while plugged outside, here’s a couple of easy DIY methods you can use to protect your outdoor extension cords!
How to Protect Outdoor Extension Cord From Rain – DIY methods
This is a list of just a few DIY outdoor extension cord protection techniques you can try.
We suggest performing these methods EVEN IF it isn’t raining, safety is always a good idea!
“The MacGyver” – Plastic Container
With this method, you’re going to build a little case to keep while your extension cord is plugged!
You will need:
- A plastic container or plastic containers
- A utility knife
- A drill
Let’s take it step by step now:
- Find a plastic container big enough to cover the MOST IMPORTANT PARTS of the cord from the rain. This means the parts with the plugs, not the actual wire. We are going for the outlet portion.
- Drill holes on BOTH sides of the container for the extension cord wires to run through.
- Use your utility knife to detail the holes. If the holes aren’t big enough you can use your knife to finesse the holes into the proper size.
- Place your extension cord inside the plastic container. Place the extension cord inside and pull the wire through the holes.
- Seal off all the holes with electrical tape or duct tape making sure no water can get through to the inside.
This method is extremely straightforward and for anyone with basic knowledge of power tools.
In fact, it’s ONE OF THE SIMPLEST ways to keep your outdoor extension cords dry.
“The Minimal Effort” – Plastic Wrap Method
This method is SO INCREDIBLY EASY you’ll wonder why you only started doing it recently.
You will need:
- Industrial strength pallet wrap
DO NOT use kitchen-grade cling wrap, you’ll find holes in the plastic in a few hours and you’d be nowhere near protecting your cables from the rain.
Luckily, industrial-strength pallet wrap is SUPER EASY to find. It’s available in almost any home improvement store.
Here’s what you have to do:
- Plug in the tool or appliance you’re going to use.
- Wrap the connected area including some of the cable to make sure the outlet stays dry and weatherproofed.
- Repeat wrapping around the area to make sure everything is well sealed.
This method will take you literally minutes to finish.
It may not be the most lasting approach but if you don’t mind changing the wrap every few months, this should work just fine for you.
“The Recycler” – Plastic Bottle
If you have a bunch of plastic bottles lying around the house, pick one up and use it to protect your extension cords.
Here’s what you need:
- A plastic bottle
- A utility knife
- A pair of scissors
And it goes like this:
- Take the cap off of your bottle to give it some ventilation against humid weather or moisture from humidity.
- Lay your bottle on its side and cut about a 2 to 3-inch slit vertically down the middle.
- Use your scissors to cut the out holes at the ends of the slit. Make sure they are big enough for your cable to fit.
- Put your extension cord outlet in through the slit and place your bottle SLIT SIDE DOWN.
This is another QUICK AND EASY way to make sure your extension cords are kept safe from the rain.
This also makes a rather reliable option for keeping Christmas lights wires weatherproofed during the winter.
“The Handyman” – PVC Pipes and End Caps
This method might take a little bit more time than the others but it is MUCH STURDIER than using plain plastic.
Pick up some:
- 1.5 or 2″ PVC pipe
- End Caps
- Zip ties
Compared to our three previous methods this one is a doozy so sit back and READ CAREFULLY!
- Measure out your PVC pipe. Connect your wires to see if they fit the PVC tube while the plug and outlet are connected.
- Cut your pipes to the correct length and sand down the edges. Sharp edges on your PVC pipe will cut the cables of your extension cords.
- Prepare the end caps. Ensure the end caps are the right size so they fit over the pipes snugly but do not move around. You will need two end caps for both sides of the pipe.
- Drill a hole into the middle of the end caps. The hole size needs to be SLIGHTLY BIGGER than the width of the cable so you can easily fit the extension cords without worry.
- Measure a small notch connecting the sides of the hole TO the edges of the end cap. Cut out the measured out notch.
- Sand down the cut out. Again, to prevent the wire from cutting and rendering your extension cords useless.
- Cover both ends of the pipe with the end caps. Check if it fits well with the outdoor extension cords inside it.
- Secure the end caps to the pipe. Drill holes into the sides of the end caps while they are on the pipe. Use the zip ties to keep the end caps in place.
This procedure is technical and unless you know your way around power tools we don’t suggest this method.
But if you have the skills to try it out, check out this video for a hands-on example.
We think this DIY would work great for indoor use too.
It looks rather sleek and makes sure your extension cords or power strips stay protected from being stepped on while inside.
“The So Simple It’s Genius!” – Bucket Method
This method honestly surprised us. It is SO SIMPLE, you’ll think “I don’t know if the person who came up with this is a genius or not”
That said, IT WORKS.
So here’s what you need:
- 2 buckets of the same size – THAT’S IT.
For this method, you need to make sure that your connected extension cord will fit ON TOP of the bucket.
We’ll break it down for you in three easy steps:
- Now, flip over one bucket so the bottom side faces up.
- Place your extension cord on top.
- Cover it with the other bucket.
You now have the easiest, most basic outdoor extension cord cover on the planet. It will take you SECONDS to accomplish and definitely keep your outdoor extension cords dry.
Told you this was a good one.
“The Emergency Situation” – Plastic Bags
This isn’t our preferred system and if you have the tools available for ANY of the other methods, go ahead and skip this.
But, if you’re REALLY in a bind, this method works.
- Sturdy plastic bags (please don’t use regular grocery bags, you’re going to need something with heft)
- Electrical tape or Duct tape (and QUITE a bit of it)
Essentially, this is like the plastic container and wrap technique put into one RATHER chaotic system. Here it is:
- Take a few of your STURDY plastic bags. Ensure they’re big enough to cover your extension cords.
- From here you have 2 OPTIONS:
- Cut the plastic bags into strips, wrap and tape them around the cable to keep the extension cords dry
- Tape the bags together, cut holes on either end for the cable to run through. Fix with lots of tape to keep it water-resistant.
If you think about it, the method isn’t so bad but considering that a self-sticking wrap is already an available option, why use a plastic bag?
On the other hand, if you ONLY have a plastic bag and some tape with you right now, then this is a great option! Plastic bag to the rescue!
“The No Brainer” – Inner Tube
This form of cord protection is also insanely straightforward.
What you need:
- A non-inflatable rubber inner tube
- REALLY sharp scissors
- Electrical tape
Any non-inflatable inner tube will work. One from a bicycle will work perfectly fine.
Here’s how you do it:
- Cut one end of the tube and feed the extension cord through it.
- Keep going until most of the cord is covered and double-check if it’s well protected.
- Cut the other end of the tube so the other side of the cord has somewhere to go.
- Secure with tape if you prefer.
Don’t you love another simple hack? Compared to the other techniques, this one is basically a cakewalk!
The right method for you will depend on the TOOLS, MATERIAL, and SKILLS you have.
But at least now you have a wide variety of cord protectors to choose from!
Safety With Extension Cords
Follow these tips to protect your cords and yourself!
- DO NOT EVER USE any kind of metal, whether that’s nails, staples, or metal tape, for fastening a power cord to any surface. You’re going to electrocute yourself.
- Always make sure your power cords have a bit of slack to them. DON’T try to extend them past their limit when plugged. This is a tripping hazard and if you’re handling tools it could lead to an even worse injury could.
- Unplug your power cord connections when not in use. Remember it is a TEMPORARY source of power so when you don’t need it, store it away safely in a dry area,
- Power cords have to be respected like any other tool. Once you’re done using them DON’T just fling them about everywhere. Pack them up neatly so that you can CONTINUE to use them in the future.
- If you find a lot of your friends tripping over the power cord, you NEED to secure it. A little bit of tape goes a long way in keeping the cables down and you and your friends safe!
- Keep your cords neat and tidy to AVOID any tangles and undue pulling and tugging that could damage the cords and expose potentially dangerous wiring.
Keeping Your Cords In Good Condition
Dry Cords are Working Cords
Keeping your cords away from water is pretty obvious. You don’t need professional advice to know that electricity plus water IS NOT the best combo.
Keep the connection away from any puddles, and dry from wet weather or precipitation.
DO NOT plug a wet cord into any outlets. Dry it off or leave it until it is dry before using it. This is an electric shock hazard and a fire hazard.
So it isn’t bad enough that you might be electrocuted, but you may also burn your house down!
To make sure the cord stays dry, you can follow ANY of the techniques we showed you in this article. Those should keep you and your extension cord out of harm’s way.
Keep your Cords Intact
If your cord has some exposed wiring, CHUCK IT. Exposed wiring raises the risk of injury and the chances of electric shock.
You can seal the exposed portion with some electrical or duct tape until you get your new extension cord but replace it as soon as possible.
We hope this short article has given you a few ideas on how to protect your outdoor extension cable connections dry even when it rains.
So go ahead and try out any of these DIY examples and see which works best for you!