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Can I use an indoor extension cord outside for Christmas lights?

4 min read

Asked by: Shannon Simmons

A home’s exterior has become as festive as the decorations inside. But it’s a definite no-no if you’re considering using an indoor extension cord and running power outside your home for your Christmas lights. Indoor extension cords are not designed to withstand the searing sun, moisture and temperature changes.

Can an indoor extension cord be used outside?

Never use indoor extension cords outside, they are not built for such rugged use. Do NOT leave even your outdoor extension cord outside more than a day or two. Left outside over extended periods, cord materials can breakdown, potentially resulting in sparking, fire, and shock.

Do you need a special extension cord for outdoor Christmas lights?

For running Christmas lights, you want to make sure that any cord you use is rated for outdoor use. Pick a 16-gauge extension cord for light runs of 25 feet or less and go with a heavier duty 14-gauge cord for runs over 25 feet. Devices that generate heat, such as space heaters, should not be used with extension cords.

Is it safe to use extension cords for Christmas lights?

Plug lights or decorations directly into an outlet whenever possible. Typically, it’s safe to use a power strip or extension cord but not both together.

Why you should not use an indoor extension cord in your backyard?

There are many differences between indoor and outdoor extension cords, most notably the insulation. Indoor cords lack the protective insulation that outdoor extension cords are made with. Outdoor cords are designed to withstand moisture, sun damage, and temperature flux.

What is difference between indoor and outdoor extension cords?

Insulation is the significant difference between indoor and outdoor extensions cords. Indoor extension cords lack the materials that act as protective insulation to protect against moisture and varying temperatures. Outdoor extension cords are also made durable enough to withstand long periods in the sun.

How can you tell if extension cord is for outdoor use?

Rating Indicator — Look for the letter “W” on the cord or on the packaging. That’s the letter used to identify cords that are designed for outside electricity use. Insulation — Extension cords rated for outdoor use have additional insulation around the wires in the cord.

How do you waterproof outdoor extension cords?

You can shield the cord by wrapping it in a plastic bag or cover it with a plastic cord casing. Better still, you can wrap an electrical tape or duct tape around the cord to keep it dry for a while. This article covers the best methods you can adopt to protect your outdoor extension from rain.

How do you plug Christmas lights outside without an outlet?

7 Best Christmas Light Options Without an Outlet!

  1. Use Extension Cords.
  2. Give Solar Lights a Chance!
  3. Use Battery Operated Lights.
  4. Bluetooth Lights Are an Option.
  5. Don’t Forget Rechargeable Lights.
  6. Use USB Lights.
  7. Give Light Socket Adapters a Go.

How do you power outside Christmas lights?

There are two ways to power outdoor Christmas lights that illuminate the exterior of your house: using an outdoor light socket or power from a basement. You can also augment these power-supplying methods by using lights that do not run on electric power.

Can orange extension cords go outside?

Cords rated for outdoor use also have bright orange rubber, vinyl, or plastic covers that protect against moisture and the natural changes in temperatures that occur outside, as well as sunlight that can break down the insulation on typical indoor extension cords.

Is there a difference between indoor and outdoor electrical outlets?

Outdoor electrical outlets differ from indoor outlets because they have watertight covers that protect the outlet even with a cord plugged in. Plus, the National Electrical Code requires all outdoor outlets to be GFCI outlets (ground fault circuit interrupter outlets).

What should not be plugged into an extension cord?

Here are some examples of high-capacity appliances that you should not plug into a power strip:

  • Refrigerators.
  • Washing machines and dryers.
  • Sump pumps.
  • Space heaters.
  • Portable air conditioners.
  • Microwave ovens.
  • Toasters.
  • Coffee makers.

What is the difference between a power cord and an extension cord?

However, the main difference between the two lies in the purpose: If you want to multiply the number of electrical outlets from a single source, use a power strip. If you want to stretch out a power source towards a distant appliance, use an extension cord.

When should you not use an extension cord?

Do not substitute extension cords for permanent wiring. Do not run through walls, doorways, ceilings, or floors. If a cord is covered, heat cannot escape, which may result in a fire hazard. Do not use an extension cord for more than one appliance.