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Old 11-30-2010, 10:04 PM   #1
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Run electrical through foundation to power lamp posts?


Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum but it looks like I can learn a lot here!

Over the summer I built a fence incorporating two brick columns for the gate. I ran electrical inside the columns for light fixtures as well as an outlet box about 12 inches off the ground coming through one of the columns. The electrical is outdoor use (don't recall the kind/rating as it was over the summer). I was advised that this particular cable should not be in conduit underground (because of heat?) and that it should be buried 18-24 inches.

This part is done but is now coiled up under my porch as I ran out of time over the summer, and wasn't sure of the next step. I have a 24 inch (but may need a longer) boring bit which I think will go through the limestone fairly easily, but how do I run the cable into the basement? Does it now go inside of conduit because it is above ground? And if so where/how to make the transition from no-conduit to conduit? If no conduit do I just cement it in the wall?

I understand the exterior electrical must have GFCI protection which I also understand can but installed in the basement (either at the fuse box or just on the branch leading outside). Is this correct?

I assume once everything is in place I can either mortar the conduit in place (in the wall) or I can insulate with "Great Stuff" foam insulation. I don't need actual boxes on either side of the wall, do I? I would think I can just punch the conduit through and insulate around it. Is there a way to insulate inside the conduit or would that cause heat issues?

Finally, in case this matters, the outside lights will be standard 60 watt bulbs and the outlets will feed Christmas lights with the occasional leaf-blower usage.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

-Stephen
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:13 PM   #2
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Is there any reason you want to bring the wire in above ground level? Why not just dig a hole where the wire is and drill your hole thru the foundation at that height, totally hiding the wiring and negating the need for conduit?
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:43 PM   #3
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What type of wiring ? UF ?
Cable can be inside conduit, the conduit just needs to be big enough for the diameter of the wire to not exceed conduit fill requirements
Under a porch is usually OK without being buried
But animals can get at it, better to have it buried or in conduit for protection



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Old 12-01-2010, 11:23 AM   #4
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Dig down around the cable and sleeve the cable from underground all the way to the power source. You do not want any cable exposed above grade. Use conduit at least twice/three times the diameter of the cable. The bigger the better.
Since you are not sure how deep they buried the cable, you should use a GFCI breaker. This allows for shallower burial.

You don't need any boxes, but I would install at least one weatherproof box and blank it off. Never know when you will need it. Nice to have that receptacle one day. That was a good call on the gate pillars. I would have ran two conduits. One for power and one for communication. But thats just me. I overkill everything.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:39 AM   #5
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Thank you for all of your replies/suggestions. I haven't had a chance to check what kind of wiring it is (UF, etc) as it's under the porch at the moment. Also, the crawl space is pretty low for digging but I should be able to crawl under there and get it a little ways underground. The porch is fairly large so animals are the only concern.

I just wasn't sure how to run it through the wall but it sounds like I can drill through it and just run the wire. If it's below ground then I wouldn't need conduit, right? Do I then just spray some foam around the hole on either side?

Finally, is it acceptable to run the wire (from the ext posts) to a GFCI outlet and pigtail it to an existing hot wire in the basement? Or would it be better to run the wire directly to the fuse box and install a special breaker specifically for the exterior electrical? I currently only have this one exterior line but plan to add more in the summer so would it make sense to add a breaker specifically for ext?

(PS, the lights will always be hot but will be on dusk sensors to turn off during the day- the thick foundation and brickwork poses too much of a challenge at the moment for running switches through the floor and walls just to control the lamp posts... Cop out? Maybe.)

Thank you again!!
-Stephen
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