The holiday season wouldn’t be the same without decorative lights. Whether you string lights to gutters or have an outdoor Christmas tree with all the trimmings, it is vital to use extension cords that are suitable for your applications.
Indoor and outdoor extension cords differ in construction. If you’re in the process of setting up decorations, be sure to do your research to limit the chances of an electrical fire or shock.
Extension cords are a life-saver when you require additional reach. Outdoor extension cords may be used indoors, but this principle does not apply the other way around.
Companies manufacture outdoor cords to combat the elements and deliver high levels of power based on the following:
Outdoor electric cords showcase thick insulation materials to block out moisture and UV rays. Depending on which variety you purchase, exterior insulation jackets can feature rubber, vinyl, or plastic.
All indoor and outdoor cables are rated for amperage. Outdoor extension cords carry higher levels of current to power devices without overheating. It’s a good idea to read the packaging around your Christmas lights to note the wattage before setup.
Extension cords call for different amounts of conductive wiring to send current from one end to the other. Outdoor extension cords are thicker (normally 16- to 12-gauge) than their indoor counterparts to power tools and more.
A thicker wire gauge allows the cable to be longer in length without increasing resistance. Indoor cords max out around 15 feet, whereas an outdoor extension cord can measure over 100 feet long.
Most indoor cords are equipped with a two-prong plug, whereas outdoor styles have three. The extra piece activates a grounding wire that helps to prevent sparks and electrical fires in case of a fault.
Outdoor cords are safe to use year-round no matter what the forecast brings your way. However, additional accessories are in order if your environment is prone to rain, morning dew, and temperature changes.
Visit your local hardware store to find extension cord covers for your holiday lighting project. These devices cover connecting prongs running through the yard to shield against extreme elements.
Christmas lights are an exciting part of the holiday season, but approach decorations that use electricity with caution.
Monitoring your installations during daylight hours is key to ensuring your house is the main attraction of the neighborhood. When using extension cords for Christmas lights, follow the safety tips below for the best results:
Shipley Energy is a leading residential and commercial energy solutions provider serving parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Having been in business for over 90 years, we’re dedicated to bringing home and business owners heating, cooling, power technology, and more to help reduce energy costs year-round.