How to Waterproof Wire Connectors

Water proofing wire connections

With the rising humidity and extreme temperatures of Southern California, waterproofing your wire connections should be top of mind. Protecting your wire connections from natural elements helps to keep your home and electrical systems safe. Whether the connections are around your home, on a boat, or in a road vehicle, waterproofing helps prevent corrosion and short circuits. Keep reading to learn the methods you can use to waterproof your electrical connectors.

Understanding Wire Connectors

Electrical boxes contain wires of different lengths and sizes, connected by wire connectors. Connectors prevent dangerous short circuits or faults by keeping live wires from touching metal surfaces or being exposed. Manufacturers typically make them with insulating plastic exteriors and coiled metal springs or interior grooves to hold the wires. 

There are a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors of wire connectors available. The most common types of wire connectors include: 

  • Twist-on 
  • Winged twist-on 
  • Crimp-on 
  • Underground 
  • Waterproof 
  • Push-in wire 

Signs Your Wire Connectors Need Waterproofing

Waterproof your wire connectors if you live in a region with extreme temperatures, high humidity, or excessive rain. Whether it’s heavy rainfall outside or moisture in the Los Angeles air, the elements can damage your connections if they’re not properly waterproofed. Natural forces, including hail, snow, hurricanes, lightning, and rain, can cause serious damage to your electrical systems and result in power outages, electrical overloads, malfunctions, or safety hazards.

When moisture ends up in your electrical circuit, it causes damage that can impact your system and the devices connected. As moisture enters your circuit, corrosion occurs and increases contact resistance. High contact resistance causes your wires to get too hot, leading to electrical fires and other unsafe conditions. By waterproofing these connections, you’ll protect it against moisture and keep your home and electrical systems safe.

Benefits of Waterproofing Your Wire Connectors

Waterproofing your wire connectors helps keep you safe and protects your electrical systems. A watertight seal forms that keeps the internal components of your electrical system safe from liquid damage. It also helps to keep your connections secure and work properly even under extreme weather conditions.

Some of the top benefits you’ll see from waterproofing your wire connections include:

  • Increased resistance: Waterproof wire connections are more resistant to vibrations, pressure, and shocks.
  • Corrosion resistance: Waterproofing protects your connections against corrosive elements and industrial fluids.
  • Temperature protection: The materials used for waterproofing also help to protect against extreme temperatures.
  • Easy cleaning: Waterproofing allows you to clean your connections with strong tools such as pressurized jets.

Safety Considerations

There are always risks to consider when handling electricity. You are susceptible to shock and serious health consequences if you don’t take the necessary safety precautions. If you’ve opted to waterproof your wire connectors yourself, make sure to always turn off power to the connection and wear the proper safety gear. 

If you’re not ready to take on the job yourself, call one of our experienced electricians to get the job done. With the proper training and experience, our technicians will get the job done right and ensure the safety of your home and family.

DIY Waterproofing Methods

There are multiple DIY methods available to waterproof your wire connectors. You can find supplies in a hardware store or from an automotive or electrical products supplier. Before you begin, make sure the power is turned off and no current is flowing through the connector. Use the techniques below to waterproof your connections.

Silicone Sealant/Tape

Creating a tight and durable seal, silicone is a flexible material suited for protecting electrical cables whether outdoors or indoors. After waterproofing wire connectors with silicone, you’ll still be able to move or rearrange wires later. Resistance to high temperatures is another beneficial property. There are two ways you can apply silicone waterproofing:

Creating a tight and durable seal, silicone is resistant to high temperatures. It’s also a flexible material suited for protecting electrical cables, whether outdoors or indoors. You can still move or rearrange wires after waterproofing wire connectors with silicone. There are two ways you can apply silicone waterproofing.

1. Sealant 

Step one: Determine if your sealant requires mixing, and do so if needed. 

Step two: Turn off the power at the circuit breaker.

Step three: Use a wet rag to clean the housing for the electrical wiring. 

Step four: Use a 7/16 wrench to tighten the connectors.

Step five:  Evenly apply the silicone sealant. Let the sealant dry once you are finished.

2. Self-Fusing Silicone Tape

Step one: Turn off the power at the circuit breaker.

Step two: Hold the opposite end of the wire steady and cut off a length of tape using a razor. 

Step three: Wrap the tape around the exposed conductor. Stretch it as you go (the tape can stretch up to three times its length); the more you do so the better the bond. The tape requires 24 hours to fuse completely and can be applied over soldered joints, male and female spade connectors, butt connectors, and other connections.

Liquid Electrical Tape

Liquid tape is suited for various types of connectors, whether they are connected directly, fit onto a stationary connection, or are screwed on. Follow these steps for this method:

Step one: Begin by mixing the liquid tape. 

Step two: Purchase or use the supplied brush to apply the mixture to an exposed joint. Apply two coats about 10 minutes apart. 

Step three: Wait about four hours for the liquid tape to dry. 

Adhesive Lined Heat Shrink Tube

Heat shrink tubes come in a range of diameters. Select the appropriate size for the exposed conductor and cut the required length. The tube should overlap the insulation that is currently on the wire. Warm the heat shrink tube with a heat gun so it will shrink around the connection once it’s in place. The adhesive will also have a chance to cool back down and harden up. This solution works for only butt connectors or soldered connections between two ends of the wire.

Other Ways to Waterproof Wire Connectors

Another option to waterproof your wire splices and connectors is grease-filled insulation displacement connectors. They are better suited for low-voltage applications. You can also use adhesive-lined crimp or solder splices. These have an outer sleeve similar to heat shrink but are transparent. With crimp-style splices, you must crimp and then shrink the waterproofing. Solderable ones are secured by inserting the wiring and applying heat (a low-temperature solder is pre-applied); the solder splice is now waterproof.

Contact Express Electrical Services for Your Electrical Needs

Contact us at Express Electrical for all of your electrical needs in Southern California. Our licensed technicians specialize in all types of electrical installation. If you need help with waterproof wire connectors or any type of electrical repair or maintenance, you can rely on us for high-quality results. With our focus on safety and reliability, you can rest easy knowing your electrical jobs are done right the first time. We have live operators available 24/7 and offer same-day service for your convenience. To request assistance or learn more about our capabilities, specials, and financing, call us today!