Installing an Outside Lamp Post Part 1 Installing an Outside Lamp Post Part 1

What You'll Need
Post light
Rigid non-metallic conduit (RNC)
12-2 UF-rated NM cable
Concrete mix
Pre-made post hole form
PVC glue
Scrap piece of wood
Ground stakes
Electrical tape
Wire connectors
Voltage tester
Wire strippers
Post hole digger
Drill with hole-saw

Installing an outside light pole in your home's front yard not only increases the safety and security of your home, but it also adds some stately elegance to your home's appearance. This job can be a challenge for a novice, but in most cases, the average do-it-yourselfer can complete the installation in the better part of a day.

Always keep in mind that most municipalities will require you to get a permit for installing an outside light pole on your property so contact yours before you purchase the materials and start the job. Also, because you will be digging a deep trench in your yard, you will have to have your utilities marked in your yard. Call 811 a couple of days before starting this job to have your utilities marked to prevent an accident.

Digging the Trench and Post Hole

Dig a hole that’s 22-inches deep and at least 12-inches in diameter where you are planning on installing the light pole. Using a post hole digger will make this task a little easier. If you don't own one, borrow a neighbor's or rent one from your local home improvement store.

Dig a trench from the pole light hole to where the electric circuit will be exiting the house or garage. Use the shovel to make the trench 18-inches deep.

Fill the lamp post hole with six-inches of gravel.

Dry Fitting the Conduit

Dry fit the rigid non-metallic conduit (RNC) so it runs from the house or garage to the lamp post location. Use the hacksaw to make any necessary cuts in the conduit. When a bend is needed in the conduit, cut the conduit and install an elbow.

Where the conduit enters the light post hole, make sure the conduit is long enough to reach the center of the hole and then place an elbow at the end. Add another length of conduit to the elbow so the tip of the conduit sticks up at least six inches above ground level.

Glue all of the pieces of RNC together using the PVC glue.

Feed the Cable

Feed UF-rated non-metallic (NM) cable through the RNC conduit starting at the open end of the conduit near the garage or home. Feed enough through so there is at least nine feet of cable coming out of the conduit in the lamp post hole.

UF-rated NM cable is a non-metallic, sheathed cable that's made specifically for underground runs. Contained inside the outer sheathing of the cable is the wires used to complete the circuit, the black white and ground wires.

Backfill the Trench and Pour the Concrete

Cut a notch out of the bottom of the lamp post form so it fits right over the conduit and set it in the hole so it is about an inch or two below the ground level. The lamp post form is a heavy duty tube-shaped piece of cardboard that's used to hold the concrete in place when pouring.

Backfill the trench with dirt and fill in the sides around the lamp post form with dirt as well to stabilize it. Lay a level across the top of the lamp post form to make sure it is level.

Continue to Part 2

Dave Donovan is a freelance copywriter living in Atco, N.J. An electrician for 15 years, an injury forced him to pursue his true passion - writing.

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