NICE AND EASY: Can you use an indoor antenna outdoors?

It seems like a simple question. Our US-based support center handles easy questions and hard ones. The answer to this one led to one happy customer, but not before a little explaining took place.

Here’s the answer

Yeah, you can but…

Indoor antennas work just find outdoors. In fact all antennas will perform better outdoors than indoors. The construction of your home actually takes about half the strength from TV signals. The real issue with indoor antennas, though, is that they aren’t waterproof. There could be permanent damage to the antenna the first time it rains.

An indoor antenna isn’t designed to get wet, it’s not designed to freeze, and it’s not designed to get the extreme UV rays that our friends in the south get. Your indoor antenna will rust, corrode or short out a lot faster if you use it outdoors.

Can a setup like this cause damage to your TV?

While rain could cause your antenna’s balun to short out, that isn’t going to be a problem for the rest of your home theater system. Even with an amplified antenna, the voltages used are so small it’s not likely to be a problem. Of course, weird things do sometimes happen. It’s best to use an outdoor antenna when you’re out there, really.

The big fear of damage to your home comes from ungrounded antennas. Chances are, your indoor antenna doesn’t have a ground block. Many outdoor antennas don’t even have them. That doesn’t excuse you, though. An improperly grounded (or ungrounded) antenna creates a hazard that could destroy your home. If you’re going to use an indoor antenna outdoors it should be grounded unless it’s temporary or other grounded items are up higher than it is. Grounding is less of an issue for things closer to the actual ground than it is for things on the roof.

Get the right antenna from Solid Signal

Using an indoor antenna outdoors is going to eventually cause the antenna to break. Of course you could say that’s good news for a retailer like SolidSignal.com because you’ll come back and buy another antenna. But really, we’d rather sell you an antenna that you’ll be happy with so you’ll buy other stuff from us. So it’s best for everyone if your indoor antenna stays inside, at least when the weather is bad. Don’t be afraid to take it outside for backyard barbecues or whatever, but other than that it’s a lot happier indoors.

Choosing the right antenna at Solid Signal is easy and we’re here to help you. Look for the “Get Antenna Help” link at SolidSignal.com, or look through the best selection of antennas from all the top brands when you shop at SolidSignal.com. Need even more help? Do what the person who inspired this article did… call us. We offer free tech support before and after the sale. Just call us at 877-312-4547 during East Coast business hours, or fill out the form below and our team will get back to you, usually within one business day.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.