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Outside Lamp Post Issue

This winter my lamp post which has been in place for about 30 years just stopped working. I checked the switch to see if it went bad, and it is ok. I could not detect any power at the fixture head. Last week, I noticed the three florescent bulbs flickering very dim when I threw the switch. I pulled the fixture and checked the wires for power. I was only getting partial voltage, approximately 15 volts. I dug the wire up as far as I could see it since it runs under a walkway and cut it to test the power. I had the same power. At this time, I have to assume there is a break or serious corrosion somewhere in the wire between the house where I dug the wire up. I won't be able to do anything until spring. The wire is Romex and when I strip it back, the copper is green...not a good sign!

Is there any way or tool to see where the wire is running and where it is damaged? I hate to call an electrician at this time knowing that I may have to do some serious digging and jack-hammering. I just don't want to have him come out, find the problem, then have to come back again?

Re: Outside Lamp Post Issue

After 30 years it would be less headaches to replace the whole wire.

Re: Outside Lamp Post Issue

Here is something you might try first, it may not work but it is worth trying. Remove power from the circuit (shut off at the breaker). Disconnect the wire from the switch. Go outside and tug on the wire just a little, if the wire can be pulled, then attach a new wire to the old one securely but minimizing the diameter of the joint and use the old wire to pull the new one into place.

If you have access to where the wire turns from the vertical to the horizontal, in a basement or crawl space, then you may be able to pull it is two sections, first pulling down from the wall, then pulling outside.

Be sure to use underground rated wire.

Alternative, replace the post with one that has LED bulbs and a solar panel on top, no wiring at all.

Re: Outside Lamp Post Issue

If your wire is just buried in dirt or concrete - not good, not to code.

Run a new wire, this time follow your local code for the depth and the type of conduit to use. If you do all the digging, that's most of the work. Just have a lic electrician look at your job and do the connections.

Re: Outside Lamp Post Issue

The problem with trying to run a new wire is that I can't tell where the wire leaves the house and goes underground. If I were a betting man, I'd say they ran it straight from the house, under the porch concrete (about 8'), then under a dirt patch then under a 4' side walk to??? Any way I look at it, there appears to be extensive work to find the problem. I might just run a new lead off the garage and put an auto sensor on it, or go solar if I can find something bright enough.

Thank you for your feedback. I do agree, if I wire it, I need to go with all new wire that meets code.

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