I'd like to know if this can be done safely. If I have a 12/3 extension cord plugged into a covered outdoor outlet, can I wire the other end into a (new) switched outlet? (the length would be about six feet) I know stranded wire is not the preferred type, but I have a tight area in which to work. Proposed outlet is a GE 20A backyard version. (please, no gasping, I haven't done anything yet)

20 Amp Backyard Outlet with Switch and GFI Receptacle


2 Answers 2


There's no problem with using stranded wire, as long as it's properly sized. The problem with your plan, is that you want to use an extension cord.

An extension cord is meant to be used as a temporary wiring method, with the cord intact and undamaged. Once you cut the end off the cord, the cord is no longer UL listed, and cannot be used in a code compliant manner.

You can use any cable or wire that is listed for wet/outdoor locations, whether it be solid or stranded wires. Underground Feeder (type UF) cable is a common choice, if you want to use cable. If you choose to use cable, you'll have to make sure that it's protected from physical damage.

THWN wire would be acceptable, if you want to run it through conduit.


Nobody should tell you it is safe. Will it work, yes. Is it dangerous, very.

I have ran wiring through the tightest spaces with many turns all underground, no camera, under concrete with steel fish tape (similar to snake lines) when building car washes).

You need to just get some romex, conduits and run it up to code. Safety first :)

If you really want to use the extension cord, then simply plug 1 thing into at the end, while plugged into the wall.

  • Do you have a photo of the area so we can offer some sound advice? :) Sep 8, 2016 at 9:50
  • 1
    Romex® is a brand of nonmetallic sheathed cable (type NM), which is not allowed to be used in damp/wet locations. Since the conduit is outdoors, the OP must use cable/wires rated for wet locations.
    – Tester101
    Sep 8, 2016 at 11:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.