Skip to main content

You are working on a few projects around the house and might not have all of the supplies that you need. Before starting any projects it is a good idea to make a list of the items that you might need to accomplish the goal. If you need to tape something up or connect an item with tape, you need to make sure that the tape is rated to handle the project. Can you use duct tape instead of electrical tape? It is not recommended. Duct tape has a cloth backing and can cause a fire.

However, duct tape can be used in other capacities over electrical tape. Let’s take a look below at the options.

What Are My Options

Instead of worrying about the tape to connect your electrical wires, there are other alternatives. Using electrical tape that is UL rated for its durability and safety is definitely a key component. However, if you do not have electrical tape available, consider using the following items.

  • Wire Nuts-plastic insulated caps with threading on the inside. Also known as wire connectors. They cover and crimp the ends of each stripped wire in order to connect them and are known as a safe alternative to electrical tape.
  • Shrink Tubing-plastic tube that surrounds two wires. The wires are held together when the tubing is heated and soldered together.
Electrical tape is better for wires.
Electrical tape

Comparing The Two Tapes

When dealing with electrical wires, it is essential to know what can safely be used to connect your wiring without causing a fire.

  • Duct tape is flammable, sticky, and made with a cloth backing, and should not be used in high heat situations.
  • Electrical tape is a stretch vinyl material used for better insulation against an electrical current.

  • Duct tape is not very durable and can break down quickly under various conditions.
  • Electrical tape is more durable and typically lasts longer than duct tape under the same conditions.

  • Duct tape is not suitable for electrical wiring due to its inability to insulate and protect against a live current. While on the other hand, electrical tape is suitable for electrical wiring.

How Much Does It Cost

The cost of duct tape vs electrical tape is trivial. However, using the wrong tape for various jobs could end up costing you a lot. A roll of electrical tape can cost you about $1.75 each or $8.75 for a 10 pack. A roll of duct tape can cost you $8.60 a roll or $25.70 for a 3 pack.

Other Recommended Maintenance

While you are on the topic of electrical wiring and the best ways to connect wires. Consider looking into your GFCI. Determine whether or not your GFCI outlets can protect your ungrounded outlets. It is important to ensure that all electrical components are grounded and keep you free from electric shock or even electrocution.

Challenger GFCI breaker can also cause a fire.
Example of Challenger GFCI Breaker (courtesy of Atkinson Inspection Services)

Another area in the GFCI realm to consider is whether or not the breaker is a challenger breaker. Most GFCI’s are located near water areas in the home. The kitchen, bathrooms, and garage often have GFCI outlets to protect from electrical overload and shock. A Challenger GFCI breaker is not rated correctly and can cause a fire. In order to determine if your home has a challenger breaker box, look inside the paneling door and have the word “test” in yellow on one side and white numbers 15 or 20 on the other side.

Make sure you read up on how to prevent an electrical fire. Using the wrong tape, or a short in the wiring or something else can cause an electrical fire and you need to know how to put it out if it does happen.

Lastly, if you are thinking about laying wires over insulation in the attic, keep in mind that you need insulation that is made of fiberglass material.

When Do I Call A Professional

Anytime you are dealing with electrical wiring and safety you should call on a professional. Electrical tape is the only tape that should be used when connecting wires safely. However, if you do not have the supplies needed to safely connect your wires, you should reach out to a professional. Your best bet is to contact a licensed electrician to ensure that the wirings are safely connected. Some tapes do not have the ability to safely conduct electricity and thus could cause an electrical fire.

Conclusion

Call your local home inspection team to assess the wiring situation. Hiring the right licensed electrician is key to a successful project. Your home inspection team can recommend a great licensed electrician. The electrician can inspect all of your wirings and ensure that they are connected properly. Finding out if some projects were not completed properly is key. You wouldn’t want to live in a home that could be a safety issue. Call Waypoint East for your home inspection and electrical wiring inspection in the South Florida area.

Leave a Reply