Outdoor lightpost cable damage


Old 09-05-07, 10:48 AM
jkm is offline
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Outdoor lightpost cable damage

I'm an idiot. I was digging in the flower bed, in near darkness, and pulling up and cutting off roots from some bushes I pulled up a few days ago. One of the roots turned out to be an electrical cable. (maybe 1/2 to one inch diameter?) I found this out after trying to chop through it with the end of a shovel a few times, and, when that failed, trying to saw through it. I stopped when it sparked.

My inclination is to take the easy way out and just wrap it well with electrical tape and pretend it never happened. Bad idea? The cable appears to run from the house to the lightpost, and that's it. (We have overhead lines to bring the electricity into the house.) The lightpost was not working before I did this, so I can't say whether it still works. But, the cable only sparked a little before I quit and it is only cut superficially--enough to just start to spark!

Can anyone tell me the right way to fix this? Thanks
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Old 09-05-07, 10:50 AM
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An underground UF cable splice kit can be used to repair the cable. A splice kit (properly installed) or replacing the cable are the only proper and safe ways of correcting your mistake.
Old 09-05-07, 12:41 PM
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Also, if you actually hacked into the copper (not just the insulation), that section needs to be replaced with two UF-B splice kits and a short piece of new UF-B in the appropriate gauge. Once the copper is cut, that wire can no longer carry its rated current and needs to be replaced.

If you decide to abandon the cable, find the junction box where it exists the house, remove the cable from that box, and cap off its source with wirenuts. Do not just leave a potentially energized, hacked up cable buried in the yard.
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