How repair damaged outdoor wire to A/C compressor?


Old 06-06-05, 04:06 PM
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How repair damaged outdoor wire to A/C compressor?

The covering on a thin wire to our A/C compressor was damaged by a string trimmer, exposing the color-coded wires beneath. How may I safely repair the wire? It seems to me that electrical tape would eventually let water in. Should I temporarily wrap it with electrical tape and call an A/C company to replace the wire? Thank you.
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Old 06-06-05, 09:03 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Williamsport and Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
Posts: 502
Just to verify, this is the small cable that is less than 1/4 inch in diameter, and is probably brown or white in color, with a white and red wire minimum inside? If so, it is the 24 volt control circuit that is connected to a relay in the air handler inside the building, and connected to the contactor (solenoid) in the compressor.
Did the string trimmer cut the cable or just the jacket?
If the insulation on the wires in undamaged, get some all-weather electrical tape, and wrap it good. Use some PVC glue to seal it.

If the wires were damaged:
Splices in location that have high moisture are preferable to avoid. The NEC does allow low voltage class 2 circuits to be spliced without a box, but splicing this cable right behind the unit would likely have the scenario you envision of water corroding the splice (no good).
I would replace the cable from the contactor inside the compressor to at least the inside of the building, however for future troubleshooting simplification, replace it all the way back to the air handler.
Look at Lowes/HomeDepot etc. for 18 AWG class 2 Thermostat wire.
Find out how many wires there are in the existing cable and get a replacement with an equal number or greater unless it is excess--check to see how many are used. Chances are only two or three are used. Get a cable with one or two more wires in it than your unit actually uses.

**Be sure to turn off power at the main panel to both the compressor and the air handler, both typically run on 240 volts. Double check that the power is off at the units with a "ticker" (looks like a pen, has a light and beeps if the wire is still energized when you press the button).

$20 and an hour of time or probably $100 for a pro. I would consider this a wiring job that little harm could be done, you would be just replacing the cable with the same color scheme and connections at the ends.

Post back to let us know the outcome, or if you have questions!

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