Electrical tapes are widely used for fixing broken wires, insulating cables, and bundling them. Not only this, but also widely used for various purposes, both in electrical and plumbing works. If you want to know if electrical tapes are waterproof, you are at the right place.
Some electrical tapes are meant for outdoor usage with higher water resistance, while others are meant for indoors with less water resistance. The waterproof quality of the electrical tapes may differ based on the type. Waterproof electrical tapes can withstand water but will deteriorate in the long run as they are not a permanent fix.
In this article, you will learn about types of waterproof electrical tapes, their usage, and tips for using waterproof electrical tapes.
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Understanding electric tape
Electric tape is an insulating material that safeguards wires and covers various cables and other materials that conduct electricity.
It is commonly used in households and workspaces.
Electrical tapes can be found in varied thicknesses and widths based on where they are used.
It also contains various insulating materials inside it to provide insulation to wires.
The insulating materials will differ based on how much current they can withstand.
You can also see that the electrical table comes in different colors, each indicating the level of safety it provides.
Electrical tapes are widely used as they protect wires and prevent hazards like electric shocks.
Here is the composition, uses, and limitations of electrical tape.
Composition of electrical tapes
Electrical tape is made of backing material and an adhesive layer.
The backing material of the electrical tape is usually made of Vinyl.
Vinyl is the most commonly used material to make the backing material of electrical tape as it has high insulating and mechanical properties.
On the other hand, the adhesive layer of the electrical tape is made up of acrylic, rubber resin-based materials as they provide good adhesion and insulating properties.
Uses of electrical tapes
Electrical tapes can immediately solve sudden repairs in wires or insulation materials.
But replacing the damaged wires or insulation materials is always recommended instead of temporarily fixing them with electric tape.
The primary purpose of electrical tapes is to insulate wires or cables.
They are wrapped around the wires that conduct electricity.
It helps to prevent electric shocks, fires, and short circuits.
Bundling of wires
While storing wires, electrical wires can be used to organize and bundle them.
It prevents wires from getting damaged or getting knitted.
Using electrical tapes to bundle wires will reduce the space needed to store wires.
It also prevents tripping and damage to other materials.
There are different colors of electrical tables available in the market.
These varied colored electrical tapes are used to label different wires, cables, and circuits, making them easy to identify and maintain.
Limitations of electrical tapes
Below are some limitations of the electrical tapes:
It Cannot withstand high temperatures
If you expose the electrical tape to high temperatures for a long time, it will deteriorate and lose its adhesiveness.
Before using an electrical tape, you must check its temperature withstanding capacity to avoid such instances.
It is a temporary solution
Electrical tapes can only provide temporary fixes.
It is not recommended to use electrical tapes as the permanent repair technique.
You must hire a professional to see how you can fix the issues permanently.
Not safe to use for all appliances
It is suitable only for low-voltage appliances; using it for high-voltage and high-duty electrical work will cause hazards.
It will deteriorate in the long run
In the long run, electrical tape will deteriorate and lose its adhesiveness.
It can also happen if they are exposed to harsh environments.
Waterproof vs. water-resistant
Different types of electrical types provide different types of water resistance.
Vinyl electrical tapes
Vinyl electrical tapes provide moderate resistance to water and moisture.
It can withstand a small period of exposure to water and moisture.
It is not operable for prolonged usage in moisture and water.
Self-fusing silicone tapes
They provided efficient and highly water-resistant water and moisture.
Silicon material provides a tight and waterproof seal around wires.
Silicon is highly resistant to water and moisture. It is used both indoors and outdoors.
Rubber electrical tapes
Rubber electrical tape provides higher water resistance to wires than vinyl tape.
It is more water-resistant than many other electrical tapes and is suitable for outdoor use.
Butyl rubber tape
It also provides higher resistance to water.
It is commonly used to provide resistance to wires and electrical appliances.
It opts to be used in the outer environment as it withstands higher humidity.
Risks of using non-waterproof tape
It is not safe to use non-waterproof electrical tape. Here are the risks of using non-waterproof tape.
Non-water-proof tapes are not capable of withstanding moisture and water.
Using non-waterproof tape in the electrical setup increases the chances of electric elocutions, short circuits, or even fire.
So, it is better to avoid using non-waterproof tape when it is exposed to moisture and water.
You can also consult a professional to decide which type of tape could be used. It will help you make informed decisions.
Damages electric components
If you use non-waterproof tape in switches, wires, circuit breakers, and electrical outlets, water might creep into the components and cause water damage.
It will ultimately damage the components and the appliances connected to it.
When a person comes in contact with it, it will cause injury and can even cause severe damage.
Fire damages are the most common causes of using non-waterproof tape.
Using non-waterproof tape in the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas exposed to water or moisture will lead to fire accidents.
The fire may ignite the flammable source nearby and might result in electrical hazards.
So, it is crucial to use waterproof tapes in such areas.
A non-waterproof tape will not provide insulation to wires and cables.
And also, it can deteriorate in case of exposure to water.
When someone accidentally comes in contact with faulty wiring, they may catch an electric shock.
It can become fatal. So, avoiding the usage of non-waterproof tape will prevent you from such mishaps.
Non-compliance with the electric code
Following electric codes is a must to avoid any legal consequences.
There are specific electric codes for water resistance and waterproof electricity in specific appliances.
Not following the electric codes may put you in an awful situation during inspections as they are unsafe to use.
Types of waterproof electrical tape
There are different types of waterproof electric tape.
Here are the seven common types of electric tapes available in the market.
Rubber tape is flexible and it is waterproof.
In addition, a rubber tube has a high adhesive nature.
While Keeping this in the count, rubber tape can be a good choice.
However, it also has demerits.
I have used it for so long, knowing what it does and how capable it is.
As I have used it, I saw that rubber tape cannot handle high temperatures.
When exposed to a too-high or too-cold environment, its adhesive nature will be drastically reduced.
Especially when using rubber tape outdoors, it cannot hold for too long as it is exposed to UV rays.
So, it is not wise to use it for outdoor usage.
And another downside of rubber tapes is they deteriorate soon when exposed to an acidic environment.
So, it must not be used for insulation purposes.
These tapes are made of an adhesive material which is primarily synthetic rubber.
They are manufactured in such a way as to have similar strength and thickness to that of paper tapes.
Because of this, these tapes have high adhesive nature and are a suitable option for sealing areas that could come in contact with moisture and rain.
Vinyl tapes are the best choice for outdoor usage because of their high tensile capacity.
So, they are primarily used in the marine environment because they are good at withstanding high temperatures, moisture, and water.
The only down point of vinyl tape is that they are more expensive than other tapes.
But the adhesive nature of the vinyl tape makes it worth the investment.
While cutting the vinyl tapes, it is good to cut them into long pieces rather than small ones to make the best use of them.
These types of tapes are made of amalgamating materials and cannot withstand high temperatures.
So, self-amalgamating materials must not be used on hot surfaces.
It is also not flexible, but it provides water resistance.
As it is not flexible, it is also unsuitable for curved surfaces.
These tapes provide high insulation and can be used in high-voltage appliances to prevent electric hazards.
These tapes prove moisture resistance but cannot withstand too much water exposure.
These tapes provide good insulation and are widely used with wires and cables.
They are also used for coil insulation and to mask powder coating.
Polyester tapes provide high strength, tear-holding capacity, and larger tensile strength.
Mastic tape is made of premium-grade bituminous resin extracted from synthetic resins.
It has excellent adhesive properties to seal metals, jackets, and rubbers.
It also provides good insulation to wires and is resistant to UV rays.
They are suitable for outdoor usage as they seal the moisture and water well.
Another essential benefit of mastic tape is it provides resistance to chemicals.
There are three common types of mastic types
- Red mastic
- Black mastic
- Yello stress control mastic.
They slightly differ in properties, and you can choose based on your requirement.
These tapes are versatile lubricating materials, and they are commonly known as thread sealants.
Polytetrafluoroethylene is widely used in plumbing works to seal pipes from leakages.
They are also used to seal gas, oil, and petrol leakages.
Polyvinyl chloride tape
These tapes are flexible to use and are water resistant.
They are used to insulate a wide range of cables, wires, and other materials, which are the conductors of electricity.
Tips for using waterproof electrical tape
Following specific tips and safety measures while using electrical tapes will increase their efficiency, or you can utilize them to their total capacity.
Here are some valuable tips:
- Select the suitable electrical tape based on your requirement. Some electrical tape may have high resistance to temperature but might not be water-resistant. Consider the nature of the environment you will be using electrical tape. Analyze how much water resistance, temperature resistance, and voltage capacity you will need the tape to handle. Based on that, you can choose the specific electrical tape.
- Before applying the tape, ensure that the surface is dust-free, clean, and moisture free. Wipe the surface thoroughly before applying the tape. It will improve the adhesive quality and also let the tape stick properly.
- Make sure you stretch the tape while applying it to improve its adhesiveness.
- Apply the tape with enough pressure to create a proper seal. And apply in such a way there are no air pockets or gaps between the surface and the tape.
- While using electrical tape, read the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure it is suitable to use in a particular environment.
Alternatives to the electrical tape
Here are some of the alternatives to the electrical tape.
- Wire connectors
- Liquid electrical tape
- Self-fusing silicone tape
- Conformal coatings
- Heat shrink tubings.
Are electrical tapes completely waterproof?
Electrical tapes are water resistant and provide waterproof to some extent; still, they are entirely waterproof.
When exposed to prolonged moisture and water, they may fail to provide water resistance to the wires, cables, or any other components.
Electrical tapes will not keep the water out completely. And it will also not provide complete insulation to the wires and cables. All they give is the protective outer layer from the water and moisture.
Electrical tapes are temporary fixes, and it is always recommended to go for permanent fixes when it comes to insulation. Not all electrical tapes provide waterproof nature and water resistance.
You need to look for specific tapes that are specially made to use in wet areas. However, even when using waterproof electrical tapes, it is crucial to take safety measures to avoid electric and fire hazards.
Are electrical tapes for outdoor use?
PVC electrical tape can also be used outdoors. It is manufactured using premium-grade plasticized PVC film. Electricians mainly use it to apply insulating protective jackets to cables and wires, label, and make repairs.
How long will electrical tape last?
On average, electric tape remains effective for up to 5 years before the adhesive breaks down. However, factors like extreme temperature changes, physical stress, and exposure to direct sunlight can reduce this length of effectiveness.
Does electrical tape melt easily?
Electrical tape is made of PVC, which is a thermoplastic. This means that it will soften and melt when exposed to high temperatures. However, this doesn’t mean that electrical tape is flammable. PVC has a very high ignition temperature, meaning it takes a lot of heat to set it on fire.
Reference link: Electrical tape Wikipedia