Replace an Outdoor Lamp Post in 5 Steps

A lamp post against a green lawn.
  • 4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 350
What You'll Need
Safety glasses
Work gloves
Assorted screwdrivers
Assorted wrenches
Wire snips
Penetrating fluid
Electrical tape
New pole

If you need to replace an outdoor lamp post, do not be afraid to do the job yourself. You will need to know which circuit breaker turns off power to the post, but the actual replacement will not require any special knowledge and can be done by a complete novice in a single afternoon. To make the replacement quick and easy, follow the steps outlined below, modifying them suit your particular situation, as needed.

Step 1 - Kill the Power

Find the circuit breaker that controls your outdoor lamp post, and turn it off. Don't rely on a light switch as your protection, but turn off the breaker and block it off with a piece of tape to prevent someone from accidentally turning it on while you are working.

Step 2 - Skirts and Access Panels

The exterior lamp post may have a skirt or casing that encloses the mounting bolts. If it does, remove that casing. If there is an access panel that allows access to the wiring, remove that panel. Not all lamp posts will have these features, but they are relatively common.

Step 3 - Disconnect the Wiring

To disconnect the lamp post lighting, there should be three wires, usually black, white, and either a bare wire or a wire with green insulation. Since you will be discarding the old lamp post, you can simply cut the wires as close to the wires nuts where they connect to the lamp as possible. If the extra wire is at a premium, it may be better to remove the wire nuts instead, conserving all of the excess wire there is.

Step 4 - Remove the Old Lamp Post

Remove the nuts from the anchor bolts in a cross fashion. This means to remove a nut one side of the post, and then remove the nut directly opposite the first one on the other side of the post, and so on. Removing the nuts this way helps prevent the post from falling to one side as it is released. If the nuts are too tight, you may need to apply a penetrating fluid such as WD-40 and allow it to soak in between the bolt threads.

Step 5 - Reverse the Process

Installing the new post is the exact reverse of removing the old one. Stand the pole up on the anchor bolts and put the nuts on first. After that, connect the electrical wiring to the wiring inside the lamp post, taking care to connect the wires properly. Do not install the casing or access panels until the lamp has been tested, just in case there is a problem and you have to troubleshoot the wiring. Turn the power on to the lamp post and make sure that it works properly. If the lamp is on a photoelectric sensor, you may need to cover the sensor with black electrical tape. It may take several minutes for the light to click on after the sensor is covered.

Replacing your outdoor lamp post was a straightforward task. Now your yard is back in the spotlight.