Low-voltage burial necessary?


Old 05-20-08, 06:19 PM
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Low-voltage burial necessary?

In a specific area where there is a difficult to work around shrub it will be a pain to direct bury the 12v wire 6" deep... so I am wondering is the burial required per code or just a recommendation? And assuming the latter, I was thinking of using a garden hose segment to lay on the ground and run the wire through for protection from inadvertant damage.

Old 05-20-08, 06:27 PM
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Without saying anything about whether it's required by code or not, because I'm not experienced at all with burial of low-voltage stuff, the "garden hose" idea you suggest seems to be asking for trouble.

Consider the inevitable soil erosion nearby - and consider things like pets and small children. If you don't have those things, the next owner might - and in those circumstances, Murphy's Law says the kids/pets will find, and destroy, such a "jerry-rigged" setup nearly instantly.

So even if it's a pain, burying will save you hassle later, IMO - just speaking from a common-sense perspective!
Old 05-20-08, 07:17 PM
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I take it we are talking about landscape lighting or fountain? These products have weatherproof cabling and do not need to be buried.
Old 05-20-08, 07:51 PM
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As per table 300.5 Column 5; Circuits for control of irrigation and landscape lighting limited to Not more than 30 volts:

6". Unless your under a driveway, runway, street, or building. Then you have to go deeper.
Old 05-21-08, 09:15 AM
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The code does list a 6" burial depth; however many jurisdictions do not apply the electrical code to low voltage systems.
Old 05-21-08, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
The code does list a 6" burial depth; however many jurisdictions do not apply the electrical code to low voltage systems.
If not required to be code-compliant, I would put the wire in Carflex or PVC conduit. Both are rated for direct burial and are shovel-resistant. Bury as deep as practical, whether that means laying on the surface, an inch, six inches or two feet under.

I have seen ENT used for burial as well, and though not rated for burial, it would work if not exposed to UV light at all.

Old 05-21-08, 09:16 PM
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Agreed, 6" may be code, but I know in most places, electrical inspectors have no interest in low voltage wiring.

Bury 3-6" where possible, and where it may be subject to a shovel or other physical damage, sleeve it with a 1/2" gray pvc conduit.

Usually the 3-6" 'rule' is to help keep the wire underground. depending on freeze/thaw cycles, if it's only just below ground, after a year or two you'll find the wires will float up. But worst case, you just go ahead and bury them again.

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