How to Repair Shielded Wire

Steve Sloane

Electrical wire has an outer layer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sheathing that protects the wires inside it from damage. The hot and neutral wires inside also have their own individual plastic covers so they cannot touch and cause a short, though the ground wire itself does not have a cover. If an electrical short occurs, or the electrical cable is damaged by a large knock, the outer and inner plastic covers need to be repaired. This can be done either with electrical insulation tape or by cutting off the damaged area entirely and then retrimming the wires inside.

Use a utility knife to strip back the sheathing.
  1. Turn off the power at the main fuse box. Open the cable's damaged outer sheathing by hand, and see if the inside plastic-coated wires, as well as the ground, have been damaged in any way. If they have not, wrap electrical insulating tape in a spiral-like fashion around the cable, starting three inches on one side of the damaged area and working across to three inches on the other side of the damaged area. Repeat this three times.

  2. Use a pair of electrical pliers to cut entirely through the cable one inch past the damaged area if the hot, neutral or ground wires have been damaged inside the outer sheathing.

  3. Strip back the outer cable eight inches from the end by carefully running a utility knife blade around the outer sheathing and then pulling it off the interior wires by hand. Use the utility knife as before to strip back one inch of plastic covering from both the hot and ground wires. The wires are now ready to be installed to the electrical appliance.