General Question

Coloma's avatar

I accidently soaked an extension cord. Is it safe to use it again after letting it dry out for awhile?

Asked by Coloma (47105points) June 9th, 2012

Prepping for a yard sale over here and was wiping down some extension cords when one fell off the fence and into my gooses swimming pool. haha
Will the plug in end safely dry out or will I risk electrocution? How long should I let it dry out before attempting to use it again?

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19 Answers

dabbler's avatar

The plug end is easier to dry out than the socket end… get out your blow-dryer and set it to high and blow the end that got wet for a while. That will get most of the water off/out of it, and heating it up like that will help it evaporate the rest.
If you can, give it 24 hours after that to dissipate water, then test it by plugging in just the cord by itself. it should not heat up or sputter. Most modern extension cords are pretty watertight so there shouldn’t be any water down the wire.

Coloma's avatar

@dabbler Yes, sorry, that’s what I meant, the socket end. I have it hanging outside but I’ll try the blow dryer trick, thanks! Actually I am selling them at my yard sale so didn’t want to sell a dangerous cord. Poor soul gets flat lined. haha

filmfann's avatar

@Coloma ya maybe they fry and die. LOL.
Of course you might consider warning anyone who buys it of their potential electricuion LOL

rish11's avatar

Is this a “newer” 2 wire with ground extension cord? If so, most likely the cable is something called SJO/SJOW. This is 300V rated cable which is oil resistant and/or water resistant. The SJOW cord is suitable to wet environments (not to submerging). So, the larger issue is the socket end. I agree with drying the socket end out with a hair dryer or something to expedite the issue. You should start by trying this cord in a GFCI outlet first. Residential GFCIs will trip at a very light ground current (I forget the exact amount) and will provide you with the “safest” test.

Brian1946's avatar

@rish11

Does a GFCI outlet have Test and Reset buttons on its front?

CWOTUS's avatar

To @Brian1946: Yes.

@rish11‘s advice is good. I wouldn’t try to blow dry the cord with heat, but blowing cool air on it could be effective. Best is simply to hang it overnight (in a dry place, obviously) so that the socket can drain any accumulation of water. Then before plugging it in to current, hook up something like a lamp (one that you’re selling at the tag sale!), and then plug that suspect cord into a gfci outlet. Turn the light on, and if nothing trips then you’re golden. (Doing things in this order means you won’t be working near the suspected socket when there’s any current in the line.)

rooeytoo's avatar

Just don’t stand in a puddle and hang on to it with a wet hand while you are testing it. Worst thing that should happen is you blow a fuse or the bulb in the lamp. What @CWOTUS is a good idea too.

Coloma's avatar

I have a GFI outlet/circuit in my garage that my hot tub runs off of, I’ll test it in that outlet. It has the set/rest buttons. It’s going to be 90 tomorrow, I’m sure it will be all the way dry in the next day or two.

Thanks guys!

Brian1946's avatar

Another thing you can do is hold the socket end upside down, and then use a vacuum cleaner with a narrow-slot attachment to suck out any remaining moisture.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just be sure to have your ex plug it in the first time. :)

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III Haha..maybe I should send him a gift box of damaged electrical items. ;-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

:) Yes! Quite!

Coloma's avatar

Cords are blowing’ in the wind right now, natural blow dry. ;-p
I’ll test it on myself first, I have integrity. haha

If nobody sees me around in the next few days you’ll know I had a shocking experience. lol

Dutchess_III's avatar

Cords blowing in the wind…that reminds me of a song…

Paradox25's avatar

Actually you didn’t even have to dry the female end notches. The only thing you have to worry about is that the water doesn’t stream from one notch/prong to the other, creating a conductive wall because of the minerals in water. As long as the end isn’t soaked, and even then the water could easily be absorbed by a tissue or towel, you should be alright.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Should be is the operative word here!

Coloma's avatar

Still here, haven’t put my finger in the socket yet. lol

heavenlyblessed28's avatar

My sump pump cord fell in the pump well don’t know how long it was in there.we took it out been out about 5 days is it safe to plug it back in? Help

CWOTUS's avatar

Welcome to Fluther, @heavenlyblessed28. It should be okay, but for your own personal safety, in case you have any doubt, is it possible to plug the cord into a “switched” outlet (not what you would normally use for a sump pump!) so that you can be sure that it is switched off before you make the connection? After that connection is made, plug it in, and if the pump works normally then things should be okay.

That’s probably over-cautious, but it’s the best way to be perfectly safe. (In most cases you could pick up the cord for a sump pump – no matter how long it had been soaking in water – dry off the outside with a rag, and plug it right back into a live outlet with no problem at all. But that’s not advice that I would normally give, and it’s why I suggested the extra-safe procedure that I did.)

By the way, if you do follow my advice to make the connection into a switched outlet first to test and run the pump temporarily, you should of course move the connection back to an unswitched always-on socket for the pump after the cord has proven safe and effective.

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