Discovering a waterlogged cable within your home is a bit unsettling, especially if you were led to it after finding green corrosion on the plug, a brown discoloration on your floors or walls, or even a stuck aerial plug. This kind of moisture could ultimately damage your TV, either through the TV itself or the set top box. There are a variety of reasons as to why water may come down your TV cables, which we have summarized for your here.
Firstly, it is wise to remove any coax cable from the television and get in touch with a local aerial man to come and repair it.
Outdoor cables are at risk of damage indoor cables are not and, at least here in the UK, cables on the south side of a roof are more prone to damage. Environmental factors play a role in the overall deterioration of cables, especially because they are exposed to direct sunlight. Over time the elements may cause your outdoor TV aerial equipment may be more prone snapping or cracking, due to brittleness. On a side note, white cables, more so than black cables, are at higher risk of negative effects from the sun. This is why some installers or homeowners opt for black cables, or paint over outdoor cabling – in order to prolong its lifespan.
Although the most commonly seen damage comes from improperly secured cables, there are a variety of other issues that may come into play. When there is a crack in the outer sheath rainwater tends to slide down the cable and, should it hit a break or crack in the line, run into your TV through the inside of the coax cable. This is especially true when the cable in question is a vertical portion of the install. Other damage may be a bit more obvious, either by an aggressive installation, inappropriate technique or accidental snip.
Improperly Weatherproofed Cables
Rainwater commonly tends to enter cable in a specific area where the coaxial cable is connected to the satellite dish. If the connection wasn’t correctly waterproofed, homeowners tend to run into problems down the road. Because of this, it’s vitally important to create a “drip loop”,by angling the cable down toward the ground as it leaves the dipole. Terminations should be coated with silicone grease, and external connections should be waterproofed with amalgamating tape. In order to prevent water from entering into a cable, waterproof coaxial F connectors may also be installed.
One commonly overlooked issue is caused by the incorrect installation of the TV antenna. Some aerials may be installed either direction, but for some, water will leak through if they are installed upside down. This is in regard to drain away holes along some dipoles, and not just aerial mounting polarization. When installed correctly, these drain holes allow water to escape cable termination and, instead, create an area where rainwater to pool up.
How to Correct Water in the Cable
Unfortunately, water within the line most often requires the replacement of the coaxial cable all the way to the back of your antenna (or first point of entry). It is best to contact a local professional, such as a TV aerial company, especially if you find the repair requires accessing your roof. Because they are installed at the same time, there is risk of the antenna being in overall poor condition, too. As the hardware becomes rusty, from exposure to the elements, it may be impossible to connect a new cable to an old aerial – replacement may be inevitable.
There are temporary measures that can be put into place while you wait for repairs to be done, especially if you don’t want to risk water damage to your TV set. Simply disconnect the cable completely, and place the tip into a small container to catch any leaking water. This brown water will stain flooring, especially carpeting, and destroy your TV. Should you need to keep your TV connected, there is another option, but it isn’t without risk.
- Attach a flylead to the aerial cable, or join it to a new section of cable between the old and the TV. Water will most likely begin to collect within the join, rather than your television set.
- In order to create an exit point for water before it reaches the TV, cut a section away from a section of the PVC. Take extreme care in doing so, or you will cut through cable braiding and even the center conductor.
Overall Prevention is Key
The best, and probably most obvious, advice to be offered is simple prevention in order to avoid water leaks, and damage to the entirety of your equipment. Professional installation will go great lengths in ensuring the avoidance of leaks, especially with a few key points including:
- Internally Routed Cables
Wherever possible, it’s a good practice to route cables internally in order to prevent sun damage, or water leakage. One con to this method is that it creates more work, and ultimately impacts the overall price of an aerial installation. It requires creativity in order to determine routing points, including through loft spaces, under floorboards or even in the walls.
- Avoiding External Joins
Although a weatherproofed coaxial join is acceptable, any weak points along the line outdoors can lead to potential problems later on – especially water leakage. If you only have one TV, a single section of coaxial cable can connect your TV to your aerial without any joins. External joins should be avoided at all costs, where possible.
- Weatherproof all Connections
Should external cable connections exist, for the antenna, masthead amplifiers or an aerial splitter, extra cautions should be taken to weatherproof the connection altogether. These measures include the addition of a “drip loop”, silicone grease on connections where tape isn’t appropriate, amalgamating tape on connections and cable joins, and the use of weatherproof compression plugs.
- Secure the Cables
Adequate cable fixings should be used to ensure the overall security of your cables and equipment. Use a generous amount of installation tape, and utilize tile clips, cable clips or cable tiles to hold the proper position, every 2 bricks (horizontally), or 5-6 bricks (vertically).
- High Quality, UV Stable Cables
Not all coaxial cables are created equal, and may not be suitable for outdoor installations. When a cable is used outdoors, that was not intended for outdoor usage, it will quickly fall apart with any exposure to the sun. This is especially true when indoor telephone and data cables are used for outdoor installs. Because it was not properly equipped to battle sunlight, as well as other elements, they are more prone to leaking water when they become cracked or dry rotted.
Should you find yourself in the position of a new install, looking to avoid future water leaks, or even in the midst of potential water damage, these tips may help. Don’t hesitate to contact professionals in order to prevent damage to your television, or other various equipment, as well as prolong the life of your set and TV aerial.