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I moved into this house last year. When the cable guy came last year he cut the sprinkler system wire by accident. At the time I didn't know what these wires were for. After spending hours today, I found out the wires he cut were for the sprinkler system.

My question is, what is the safest way to reattach the wires? I found that these wires only have 24 volts current. Can I buy 10 feet sprinker wire and reattach it or do I need some sort of junction box? I cannot replace the entire wire since it's going through the garden bed and it's a long distance.

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It's going from that black tape to the bottom of the siding

  • 1
    You certainly don't need to replace the entire wire. Can you pull slack to reconnect the cut ends with wire nuts or crimp connectors? Not only is it only 24 V, but the current is low. The connections do not have to be in an electrical box. – Jim Stewart Apr 21 '18 at 23:17
  • Just wire nut them together. If you need extra wire to reach, just wire nut the connections on both ends of the splices. Some people will apply a dab if silicone caulk in the wire nuts to keep rain out. – Jimmy Fix-it Apr 22 '18 at 5:07
  • Continuing @JimmyFix-it’s advice after you’ve made the splices, even if you use a dab of silicone, I would carefully orient the wirenuts so they are closed end pointing up, with the open end with wires coming out pointing down, then I’d wrap the whole mess with black tape (heat shrink tubing and a hairdryer even better) attempting to make it look more uniform. Keep in mind, over the years that won’t remain watertight and that it’s best to have those wire nuts closed end up inside the tape to keep them from becoming itty bitty water buckets. – Tyson Apr 22 '18 at 12:10
  • You can get sprinkler wire at your favorite big box store, in our area tho the underground sprinkler supplies are hidden in the drainage supply area, not lawn and garden. – Tyson Apr 22 '18 at 12:14
  • Can Anyone tell what the old wire gauge is by looking at it? I bought new wire and it's 18/10. New wire has 10 conductors. Old wire has 4 conductor and there are 2 old wires. I figured 18/10 would work. Is that possible? Also the new wire when I sliced is thicker gauge than the old wire. Can I still use the new wire? – Sam Apr 23 '18 at 17:22
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Use a junction box anyway

The goal is to make the splices in dry space so they don't fail later. The primary water-keeping-out strategy is to have the wires enter the bottom. Trying to watertight electrical boxes "like a boat" is generally a lost cause.

Go to a real electrical supply house. Get

  • an outdoor junction box with 2 entries on one side, ideally 4" x4" so you have extra room to work.
  • A blank cover for the box
  • Two strain reliefs of the correct size for the cables. They should not be watertight strain reliefs. And
  • A few small (blue) wire nuts, ideally Ideal. Don't over-buy the nuts, they have little use outside thermostat, doorbell and rewiring fluorescent lights.

The reason to use a proper electrical supply house is the lid will fit the box, and the strain reliefs will be the correct size and type. Also it will take 3 minutes instead of an hour. And will be cheaper. And won't involve bad advice!

On the bench, plug and seal any holes not on the bottom with the supplied plugs and silicone. Strip wire ends. Mount the box, fish the wires in with the strain reliefs, and make your splices. Cover on, done!

  • Your mileage may vary on supply house pricing. In my area a “public walk-in” will pay a much higher “retail price” than the “trade price”, usually higher than anyone wants to pay. They do this to protect trade customers that have to mark that same material up, and so that they don’t have to hand-hold and advise less educated customers. – Tyson Apr 22 '18 at 16:34
  • Then it's a lousy shop. It helps a lot to state clearly that you heard online that ES are much better places to buy on both service and price overall. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 22 '18 at 17:40
  • The better term than lousy is old school. It may vary by region or market, but around here the industry supply houses cater to the trades, not the general public. To get trade pricing you’d be better off to say “Tyson at blankCompany told me to tell you to write a cash ticket on their account”. One supply house in town does sell for pennies to the public, they also don’t get much trade business. I’m ok with the fact the supply houses want to keep their counter personnel available for the big $/yr customers. – Tyson Apr 23 '18 at 0:50
  • I bought new wire and it's 18/10. New wire has 10 conductors. Old wire has 4 conductor and there are 2 old wires. I figured 18/10 would work. Is that possible? Also the new wire when I sliced is thicker gauge than the old wire. Can I still use the new wire? – Sam Apr 23 '18 at 21:02
  • I’m all set. I was able to fix it all with waterproof heat shrink butt connectors and using liquid electrical tape. This resolved my problem. I was able to run all 4 zones. I used Continuity test on my multimeter to trace wires. Something I’ve never done before so all and all, it was pretty fun. – Sam Apr 24 '18 at 0:46

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