Can You Bury An Extension Cord? For most people interested in interior design, making the yard look presentable is a common Do It Yourself (DIY) home project.
It brings satisfaction to homeowners and makes the outdoor space welcoming to visitors.
What are some of the things that might motivate a person to make improvements to the outdoor space?
Installing accent lighting is usually a key motivation. That refers to the lighting mostly used to illuminate walks using subtle lights or define the various focal points and objects around the home.
Another motivating factor for making improvements is the need for convenience.
Perhaps, one needs to install a power source in the yard to conveniently use their phones or laptops while sipping their cup of fresh juice in the breeze or sun.
Alternatively, it could be that you want to add a touch of elegance to the environment by installing designer landscaping like a fountain.
Most of these DIY projects need some power to run. One way or another, one may need to connect an extension cord to get power to the yard.
The big question is, how safe is it to bury an extension cord in the ground? Can this pose any potential safety hazard?
This article explores these pertinent questions. Read on to find out more.
Can You Bury an Extension Cord?
The simple and easy answer to that question is yes, you can, but this comes with a caveat.
As a general rule of thumb, it is not advisable to bury an extension cord. Why? The normal extension cords are not adapted to underground use, especially if the use will be long-term.
Regardless, numerous people still bury extension cords. The main reason is it’s the most economical way of ensuring power gets to their outdoor spaces.
Also, concealing the cords is safer than leaving them exposed – if they are exposed, the chances of a person tripping on them increases.
Here is the caveat. If the typical extension cords are buried, they may pose safety hazards.
Besides, using an extension cord in such a scenario may not provide a permanent solution. They are designed to be lightweight and to give a temporary solution.
If you decide to bury an extension cord, here are some of the associated risks that you should be aware of.
1. Potential fire outbreaks
If you bury extension cords, they are likely to start a fire when they are overloaded. That can be disastrous, especially if you are not around.
2. Not designed for underground use
As already pointed out, extension cords have not been adapted for underground use. If you bury them, rodents are likely to have a feast day.
Gophers and groundhogs are particularly notorious for chewing on concealed extension cords.
The worst part is that you will not realize this.
3. They easily shift
The other danger of burying extension cords in your yard is that they easily shift around. You may cut the lines while doing some other activities in the yard.
That will be expensive since you have to make replacements in the long run.
Extension cords have not been designed for long-term use.
If you intend to use an extension cord outside the house, it should be limited to one or two days.
Instead, it would be best to consider some permanent solutions such as using underground power cables.
They may be costly, but they will be sure to serve the purpose and alleviate all the safety risks.
How To Bury an extension Cord
Since there’s still a possibility that you may want to install underground extension cords, below is the step-by-step procedure you can follow to complete your DIY project.
The process is outlined below.
Step 1: Choose a Cord
The first step in burying an extension cord is to settle for the right type of cord. I recommend choosing a large type or a direct burial UF extension cord.
This type of cord will avert dangers relating to fire outbreaks due to overloading and will serve to keep you and your family safe.
Step 2: Choose a Conduit
The second step is to choose the type of conduit you want. An extension cord can be buried in conduits. We have different types, including metallic conduits and plastic conduits.
In making your choice, ensure that the type you settle for is compatible with the kind of cord you chose.
It is important to keep in mind that the different conduits require other digging methods and are adapted to be used in different terrains.
The terrain of the place where you want to bury the extension cord should be a key determining factor here.
Step 3: Plan the Route
The third step is to map out the route where you want the cable to run. You can use garden stakes to mark the area and tie strings between them.
Identifying the path will help to minimize the damage done to surrounding areas.
Step 4: Dig the Trench
Next, you can then dig out the trench where you will put your underground cables.
Important note: when digging out the trench, it is vital to be conversant with your local code relating to excavations of outdoor spaces.
Depending on where you reside, there will be minimum depths set that you cannot surpass without first seeking the permission of concerned local authorities.
Be sure to stay on the safe side of the law.
Step 5: Install the Conduit
Once you are done digging the trench, you can install the conduit you chose.
Put the conduit under concrete and areas that cannot be easily reached by digging.
Step 6: Feed the Cable
The next step is to feed the cable from inside to the house, heading towards the final destination where you want the power source to be outside the home.
Step 7: Install a GFCI Outlet
The last step is to install a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet.
It is a safety device that strikes a balance between the incoming and the outgoing current.
Consequently, this prevents the cords from overheating or causing a fire.
How To Hide Extension Cords Outside
We have already outlined the various reasons you may want to bury or hide an extension cord.
They include the need to minimize the risk of tripping and concerns over appearance. What methods can you use to hide the extension cord besides burying it? Read on to find out!
Using a cord cover
Cord covers are mostly made of plastic and designed in numerous colors.
You can use them to hide an extension cord since they blend in with your other yard decorations and look very natural.
Cord covers can be cut in any length that you want.
Using a conduit
Though expensive, conduits can be an excellent way to hide extension cords.
These are tiny tubes through which you can thread the cords to the other side.
In addition to hiding the cords, they will also protect them from elements like water.
Using a cord box
Cord boxes can be used to organize cord extensions and hide them.
Where you have several extension cords, they will be a perfect way to prevent them from tangling.
Using an electrical tape
Electrical tapes will help to conceal the extension cords in your backyards.
They are more durable and easy to replace than the protective coverings on the cords.
It has to be electrical tape and not duct tape or other options as these are not safe.
Using a plastic bag
Plastic bags can provide a temporary solution if you want to hide the extension cords.
They will also protect the cords from elements. Make sure to wrap the plastic bag tightly around the cords so that the bags don’t trap water.
Running the cords along walls and siding
If the distance the cords are to cover is not that long, you may consider running them along walls and siding just like in any other wiring.
That will make the cables less visible and more organized.
Generally, it is not advisable to bury extension cords in your garden.
That might cause serious safety issues such as potential fires or accidentally cutting them when working.
Also, it can be expensive since you have to replace them time and again.
But that does not mean that you cannot install underground extension cords.
It is an economical way to ensure power reaches your outdoor spaces. That sound, you should be aware of the potential risks associated with such projects.
If you have to, take extra precautionary measures to ensure that you install a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet.
It is a safety device that strikes a balance between the incoming and the outgoing current and prevents fires from breaking out.