Outdoor Electrical Cable: A Free, All-Inclusive Buying and ‘How To’ Guide

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Outdoor Electrical Cable


Are you planning to ‘amp up’ your outdoor experience? You need an Outdoor Electrical Cable. How do you choose an appropriate cable for your outdoor electrical needs?  When choosing an ideal cable for your outdoor project, you need to remember that it has to withstand the adverse conditions of the outdoor environment. Some of those adverse conditions include extreme temperatures, rodent infestations and water.

An outdoor cable has to have protection against the adversities mentioned above. The need to shield against such adversities has given rise to several outdoor electrical wire types. It is also important to note that there are different methods and materials used to provide protection against external adversities. Quite frankly, if you expertise on electrical cables, you will find it difficult to choose an appropriate cable. Fortunately, this article is the ultimate guide to choosing an appropriate Outdoor Electrical Cable and everything else you need to know.

1.What electrical cable is for outdoor?

There are several electrical cables that are perfect for outdoor purposes. Most of us mistakenly assume that an Outdoor electrical wire is similar to an outdoor cable. A wire is a single conductor whereas a cable is a group of conductors made of a common material. There are different types of outdoor cables. The most commonly used outdoor cables are Outdoor rated cable and direct burial cable.

An Outdoor-rated Cable is often used when an electrical installation needs a cable to be run outside. When choosing an outdoor cable, you need to consider various environmental adversities. For instance, if you intend to bury your cable on the ground, it is advisable to go for an outdoor waterproof electric cable. However, it is important to note that certain types of cables are available in both direct-burial and out-door rated form.

Why are certain outdoor electrical cables available in both outdoor- rated form and direct burial form? Well, the answer is quite simple. You might want to hook up some electronic appliances on your backyard. Running the extension cable underground gives your backyard a clean look and reduces the risks of your loved ones tripping over the cabling. For this purpose, it is advisable to go for an outdoor electrical ground wire.

2.How to Extend Outdoor Electrical Cable?

There are several reasons why you might want to extend your outdoor electrical cable. The most important step when carrying out external extensions is choosing the right cable for the job. Whether you need power outdoors for the short term or long term, you should always use an outdoor electrical cable. This type of electrical cable is designed to withstand water, temperature changes and the sun.

Extend Outdoor Electrical Cable

Cables are not one-size-fits-all. Therefore, you must pick an outdoor extension cable that can withstand the wattage of multiple connected electrical appliances. A 12 gauge electrical cable is an excellent example of a cable that can withstand the wattage of multiple appliances. Feasibly, you should consider investing in this type of cable.

If you intend to use the outdoor extension cable for long term purposes such as lighting your lawn, you need a permanent power safety solution. It is advisable not to use a basic extension cord for long term power needs. Instead, you should consider using an outdoor underground cable. This cable is more feasible compared to a basic extension cable. It can withstand several external adversities for an extended time. Furthermore, since you have to bury it underground, it eliminates common risks such as electrocution.

3.How to Protect Outdoor Electrical Cable

As indicated earlier, there are several external adversities that tend to cause a lot of harm to electrical cables. Unless you are using a heavy-duty outdoor electrical cable, you need to instigate certain measures to protect your electrical cable. There are several techniques that can be used to protect outdoor electrical cables. However, the easiest and most practical option is to avoid any cables that need additional protection.

Protect Outdoor electrical cable

There several Outdoor electrical cables that can withstand all external adversities without any reinforcement. Truthfully, such cables are reasonably more expensive compared to ordinary outdoor cables. Rest assured, cables that can resist any external extremities are totally worth it. Besides, you wouldn’t have to spend more money on the acquisition of additional protection.

4.Is PVC Cable Suitable for Outdoors?

Electrical cables are deemed suitable for outdoor use provided they have adequate protection against direct sunlight and other external extremities. So, the important question is, does Polyvinyl chloride offer adequate protection against external extremities?  In its pure state, PVC cannot provide adequate protection against all external extremities. However, it can be made to be adequately resistant to external adversities through the addition of specific additives. Carbon black is one of the most commonly used additives in the strengthening of PVC cables. Thus, you need to check and confirm that the PVC cable you are interested in buying is an outdoor-rated cable.

When talking about outdoor electrical installations and the suitability of PVC cables, certain things must be considered. Do you intent to install the PVC cable above-ground or underground? If you intend to install the cable underground, it is advisable to go for a more reliable outdoor underground electrical cable. This type of cable is designed to be buried underground just as the name suggests.

Also, when choosing an underground cable, you need to consider the environment you reside in and the possible risks that might exist beneath the ground. For instance, if you reside in a rodent infested area, you need to invest in an outdoor armored electrical cable. This type of cable is strong enough to withstand attacks from rodents.

5.Can Flexible Cable Be Used Outside?

There is no actual rule that prevents you from using flexible cable outside. Essentially, the same rules apply to flexible as to any other electrical cable. The main question you should ask when considering to buy a particular flexible cable is; is it fit to be used as an outdoor electrical cable? For a cable to be considered to be fit for outside use, at least it has to be weather resistant. Generally, weather resistance entails protection against emblematic ambient temperature range, Ultra-violet light, Ozone and water.

flexible cable

Despite the fact that certain flex-type cables fall within the scope of outdoor-rated cables, certain flex cables cannot withstand external extremities such as UV light.  The best thing to do when shopping for an outdoor electrical cable is to check specifications of your chosen cable to ensure that it is suitable for outdoor use. Where can you find the specifications of a cable? Well, cable specs are normally printed or precast on the cable sheath. If you can’t locate the specs, it is advisable to ask the shop steward for assistance.

While you can always find a flex-type outdoor electrical cable, it is not always advisable to use a flexible cable. When using flexible cable, things might get messy due to the sag between clips. Essentially, you might be forced to buy a lot of clips in order to keep the flexible cable installation neat. If you prefer a neat installation, a rigid cable is better than a flexible cable.



Last Updated on April 1, 2021 by Richard

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About Me

Richard Zi

Hey, I am Richard Zi, General Manager of ZW Cable and expert in cable industry for over 15 years. I would like to share my experience in cable field. ZW Cable is leading Chinese cable manufacturer. We can choose right size cable and solve all your cable problem. If you have any question, please feel free to contact me. I will try my best to give your cable solutions.

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