It has never even occurred to most of you to paint your extension cord. But if you’re contemplating the idea, this is what you should understand:
Can You Paint Extension Cords?
1). First of all, you can paint your extension cords. No one will stop you. The NEC doesn’t say anything about this practice. More than likely, your local code is just as disinterested in the issue. However, you should check just in case.
If the local code prohibits consumers from painting their extension cords, you should do as it says.
2). Many consumers don’t understand why anyone would paint their extension cord. Extension cords are not that expensive. If you can afford to buy paint for the extension cord, you can afford to buy a new extension cord with the color you want.
3). Paint has dangerous chemicals and solvents. What happens when those solvents eat through the sheath?
What if they destroy the jacket, exposing the conductors beneath? The paint may compromise the integrity of the extension cord. It will also void your warranty if you have one.
4). You can’t expect the paint to last. Depending on the type you used, it will most likely chip and peel off over the days, weeks, and months. This sounds like a minor inconvenience, but if you lay the extension cord indoors, it will leave paint chips everywhere, making a mess in the process.
For many people, this practice is not worth the hassle. And even if you remove the paint, it could stain the surface permanently, giving the cord an ugly look that stands out even more.
This hasn’t stopped homeowners from painting their extension cords, power strips, light cords, electrical wiring, and more.
5). The paint could make the cable combustible. Ultimately, there is no concrete evidence supporting the worries people have about this practice. You will be hard-pressed to find verifiable stories of consumers whose extension cords fell apart or caught fire because of the paint.
As such, you should take some of the concerns you encounter with a grain of salt. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with being cautious. You don’t have to wait for a painted cord to catch fire to realize that painting extension cords are potentially dangerous.
Thus, in such a situation, I suggest using shrink tubing. Admittedly, shrink tubing makes the device less flexible because it enhances the cord’s thickness.
Then again, paint is no better because it isn’t flexible. Therefore, it will crack and chip off regardless of what you do. So, you might as well put up with the inconvenience of shrink tubing.
Read Extension Cord Color Code (Green, Orange, White, Black, Tan)
Is It Safe To Spray An Extension Cord?
For the most part, yes, painting an extension cord is safe. At the very least, stories of extension cords failing or catching fire after they were painted are nonexistent. Either paint is safer than opponents of this practice realize, or the number of people that paint extension cords is still tiny. Ultimately, you have no reason to worry.
The practice will make a mess once the paint starts chipping, but it won’t necessarily kill you. Don’t be afraid to experiment if you’re curious. Paint one extension cord and observe it.
Is it warmer than usual? Can it transmit the current you need? If the extension cord hasn’t given you a reason to worry, you can paint the other extension cords. However, if you have reservations, don’t paint the device. It is better to be safe than sorry.
When Do You Need To Paint An Extension Cord?
People paint extension cords because they want to hide the devices. Extension cords tend to stand out, especially outdoor extension cords. They have bright colors that reduce tripping hazards.
But if you want the device to fade into the background, the paint will work. Naturally, you have to use the same color as the background. For instance, there’s no point in painting the extension cord red when the walls in the room are black.
All in all, the paint doesn’t serve a functional purpose. It doesn’t make the extension cord more effective. People pursue this practice for the aesthetic value it offers.
However, it isn’t the only option at your disposal. Painting an extension cord takes more time than simply hiding the device behind furniture. You can also attach it to the furniture.
For instance, you can clip an extension cord to the back of a long couch or under a table where you can’t see it.
Outdoor cords are even easier to hide because you can camouflage them in grass, shrubs, and plants. If the colors are too bright, buy an extension cord that matches the surroundings.
Again, these devices are not that expensive. Don’t be afraid to buy a replacement cable with the design patterns you need for your home.
However, every professional you consult will warn you against covering these devices. The most convenient method of concealing an extension cord is to slide it under a carpet or rug. But this is dangerous.
First of all, you cannot see the cord. Therefore, you are more likely to step on it. In fact, you will also rest heavy objects like couches on the cable, damaging the conductors in the long run.
Secondly, don’t be surprised if the cable overheats. Electricity produces heat as it travels through a conductor. That heat will build until it melts the wire because you covered the cord with a rug. Poor ventilation is a danger to electrical wiring.
How To Paint Extension Cord?
I suggest you use spray painting the extension cord. This makes more sense than using a brush. It also gives you more control.
Things To Consider While Spraying Extension Cord
Stay away from the connections. Some consumers won’t remember to keep the paint away from the connections.
Additionally, unplug the cord beforehand. This sounds obvious, but many people forget. The paint is not necessarily more dangerous because the extension cord is connected to a power source.
However, you don’t want to tamper with extension cords when they have a live current running through the conductors. You don’t lose anything by being more cautious.
Keep the background in mind. The cord’s paint should match the color of the walls. If you can’t find the original color, take a picture of the walls and show it to a paint store employee.
Ask them to find you a matching color. If the walls have wallpaper, the paint should match the wallpaper’s design.
If You Don’t Like Paint, How Can You Remove The Paint?
It will most likely flake off over time because it is not flexible. The paint will crack whenever the cord flexes. But that doesn’t mean the paint will fall off altogether.
It will create a patchy mess because certain sections will break away while others remain firm. In such a situation, you are better off removing all the paint. But how?
Use a putty knife to scrape the paint off. However, this method is dangerous because you run the risk of damaging the sheath. But it can work if you scrape as gently as possible.
Rather than hacking away with greater force at difficult sections, apply some acetone.
Heat guns are out of the question. They will work in most other situations because they loosen the paint. But again, you will damage the sheath, possibly even the conductors below.
You can also use an electric sander that can eliminate paint, but sandpaper is safer for cords because it is gentler. Then again, this is one of the slowest options. It will work if you have the time and patience.