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I have a 25 foot 16/3 extension cord. The instructions say it should not be stored outside, but it doesn't say why. I would like to store it out in the open under my carport. It would not get hit with rain or much direct sun, but it would be exposed to wind. It would not be left plugged in (although incidentally I don't understand why this also isn't allowed).

Is this safe, and what is the actual reason for preferring to store it inside?

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Water, extreme temperature fluctuations (+-30°), and direct sun exposure can all damage the insulation of the cord. If you live where wind driven sand/snow is a thing, you might have problems. The contacts can be corroded if exposed to water, and very moist air (especially if it's moist salty air).

Inspect the cord for brittle, cracked, torn, or damaged insulation before each use. Inspect the contacts for corrosion before each use.

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  • To reduce corrosion of the contacts, plug the male end into the female end before storing...maybe with one wrap of electrical tape to seal the joint. – DA01 Mar 28 '14 at 16:46
  • This suggestion sounds like a good idea. – Anonymous Mar 29 '14 at 5:52
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I'm sure the only reason the manufacturer says not to store outdoors is to protect the metal contacts from water and corrosion. Corroded contacts can cause arcing, a bad connection and voltage drop. I'm sure it will be fine in your carport.

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