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Running outside electric line

I want to run an outside electric line about 150' to a new outlet. The outlet will be mounted on a pole in a waterproof box.
The outlet will be on a 15 amp gfi circuit.
I want everything to be code compliant, but i will be doing the work myself.
How deep should the wire be buried, direct bury or in conduit? What is code and what is recommended.
What size wire?
Best way to bury the wire? Ditch witch, hand dig or other. This is my house, so my time is free,:rolleyes: but I don't want to spend all summer doing it.
Any other thoughts or suggestions.

Re: Running outside electric line


In my city (we don't have frost issues), we bury the wire in the ground. At least 6" for metal conduit, 18" for grey PVC and 24" for direct buried wire (outdoor green romax). Your code may be different.

Of course you have to place the wire where there will be no future digging.

How to dig? depending on your soil and tree roots, renting a ditch witch would be the best, but I like to hire a day laborer for this, because 150' is not terribly long. Just make sure you have ample supply of cold beer.

Re: Running outside electric line

We have frost, especially last winter. Minimum depth for footings is 30".

Re: Running outside electric line

I would check with the bldg dept. You can probably find info on line, or run over to their office. In our bldg dept they have dozens of publications for everybody to read and find answers, or ask one of the friendly plan checkers. Quick, easy and free.

Re: Running outside electric line

Table 300.5 of the 2014 NEC requires GFCI protected UF wire be direct buried 12" ,
or 6" if under 2" of concrete.

If under a rod 24"; one or two family driveway 12"

If you only use #14 wire you will drop 14.1 volts at 15A so I would use #12 with a 20A GFCI breaker (not a receptacle in the field). If you only load it to 15A you will only drop 9 volts.

Local restrictions may differ with the NEC

Re: Running outside electric line

Semi-retired has posted the NEC code requirements which is valid in most location, however it is best to check with your local building department because their requirements may be more stingent and require a building permit.


Re: Running outside electric line

Thanks for code requirements and wire size. The local code uses 2011 NEC.
I was assuming #12 might be best, but wanted confirmation.
The outlet will in general be lightly loaded, but if it's there, who knows.

Re: Running outside electric line
ed21 wrote:

The outlet will in general be lightly loaded, but if it's there, who knows.

If you use a 20A circuit and a 15A outlet, the outlet will be the point of failure in an overload. This is code-compliant. Since the outlet is accessible that's what you want- having to dig the wire up to replace it wouldn't be any fun at all.


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