Buried Electrical Wiring in Yard

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Our new-to-us home has a garden and koi pond at the back of the property. The pond uses a submersible pump and, in winter, a heater to melt hole in ice. Switch for the present wiring is in garage, which (I'm guessing) is about 70 feet from the pond. The wire/cable is white, like two round sections with a flat white section between them. Outlet (yikes!!) is an outdoorsy looking thing with a metal back and a plastic cover....it is not fastened to anything for support, just basking on some rock near the pump/filter. No GFCI. Yike again.
I would like, eventually (fairly soon, like by next spring), install underground lines for water and for electricity for use at the pond and the garden. There is a septic field between the house and garden, so that is (I think) a consideration. When I had a chandelier installed by an electrician, I asked him about installing underground electric, and he told me it must be 4' down....I haven't found anything online today that addresses that....several articles that recommend burying line 12-18", using conduit, RF line, etc.
We had an electric line changed from 220 to 120 when we installed gas range, so need to re-study what breakers control what in the house, as those marked on the breaker box may be wrong. Indiana doesn't require electricians be licensed.... The garage wiring (and pond) may be on the same circuit as kitchen. Have yet to blow a breaker.
Questions: How deep are gas and electric lines (from utility) buried..we had 811 mark them, but no idea of the depth. When we had cable installed (TV and internet), the guy ran a little thing that put the cable barely into the sod (and cut my puny little 1/4" water line to the pond). Is cable supposed to be a minimum depth? The cable layout really screwed my plans for planting shrub and flower beds.
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On 5/11/2013 10:14 AM, Norminn wrote: ...

Unless it's been modified (which I sorta' doubt but didn't verify) NEC says underground electrical must be 24" _except_ for residential where if is a branch circuit rather than service entrance and has circuit protection of 30A or less, then the req'd depth is 12". As always, if you're concerned about Code compliance, local reqm'ts may differ.
...
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Actually I believe the reqt is that the circuit must be GFCI protected and 20A or less, then 12" is OK for direct burial cable. That should suffice for the application. If there is the possibility of any service wires, cable, phone, etc in the path of the cable, the local markout folks should be called. Around here there is one number and they do it for all the utilites for free.
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On 5/11/2013 10:46 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

He said they already were/have been out iirc...
I'm too old for all the GFCI stuff; I learned my Code before were around so perhaps it has been reworded. As exterior branch circuit newer Code would require it be GFCI-protected irrespective of depth currently.
As for whether it's 30 or 20A I'm having trouble thinking they would have changed that part on the depth, but anything's possible...as noted, it'll be local Code that controls, anyway, so OP should check w/ local and ask the appropriate folks...
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On 5/11/2013 11:55 AM, dpb wrote:

I don't believe they enforce ANY local code around here....no setbacks, no junk limit, no problem with abandoned buildings ready to fall down....but it isn't too close to home.
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On 5/11/2013 11:26 AM, Norminn wrote: ...

For in a yard I'd not worry about it much altho unless it were a really long pull I'd probably try to route it along an edge so isn't adding to the clutter where may be sprinkler system, the sewer lines, etc., etc., that would be in way of in servicing them down the road.
In that case and if there is no inspection, I'd just do basically like the cable guy and put it deep enough to not be going to get it w/ the casual digging of an annual bulb planting and the like but not worry about real depth as there's little reason to be digging in turf areas.
And, of course, as another respondent noted; make drawings of where stuff is. Running it in conduit is certainly a way to add some comfort, obviously.
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Norminn wrote:

Just like Florida, huh? :)
--

dadiOH
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On 5/11/2013 11:46 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

We have 20A. I was surprised to see there was no GFCI on the line to the pump, as the house is really up to snuff and well done. Even passed our energy audit with no dings. I called 811 to mark utilities because I wanted to hire someone to till sod for shrub/flower beds (we have way, way more grass than anyone needs :o) Also considering putting in a bocce court. Ennyhoo, the 811 lady said they don't mark owner-installed stuff, but the pond electric is probably straight line. Dang thing goes under a mortared rock border 'round pond. In my Googling, I saw a neat gadget called a pipe puller....
My major challenge, other than planting shrubs and veg. garden, has been cleaning algae from pond....emptied about 1/2, two days in a row, and vacuumed algae hanging on the walls of pond. Day after first cleaning was the first I set eyes on my koi....long winter's nap....the former owner said there were six, but I'm pretty sure there are seven. Largest about 1'. At 1" of koi per 10 gal. of water, I'm over capacity by a good deal. Got a water lily, growing fast, so it is using some fish waste and the spring algae growth may be ending. It is hard to fine info about koi that doesn't include advert., but I'm thinking there must be a pretty good balance between koi and plants without all kinds of treatments. Filter media is $10 sq. ft. at pet store, but window screen gets just about as much.
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wrote:

First, you know the energy guys won't be checking for GFCI.
It is possible you still have GFCI if it is downstream from a bathroom circuit or other GFCI circuit in the house. Check to see how it was done. It does sort of sound like a hack job, but maybe you got lucky.
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On 5/11/2013 1:42 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Only GFCI in house is for bathroom(s)...the outlet is in one, but they are back to back. I wrote it down somewhere....will get the main panel labelled properly soon. After the veg. garden gets planted. Only hack job in this home, as far as I can tell, is wiring to garage and pond. And the dang 1/4" water line to the pond. The pond had plastic fence all around, as one of the prev. owners' children is autistic. Got rid of one section today, as I am too old to climb the thing every time I want to talk to the fish or plant something :o)
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Be careful about that fence. A pond is an "Attractive Nuisance" and you may be liable for aynone that gets hurt, neighborhood kids, etc. Check with your insurance agent!!!!!
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You said the outlet for the pump is not secured, just laying on a rock. The cable is in several sections..... So, why would you be surprised that there is no GFCI?
 Even passed

An energy auditer is there to look at energy issues, not to make sure your property is up to electrical code, about which they aren't expected to have any knowledge.
I called 811 to mark utilities because

That is normal.
but the pond electric is probably straight line.  Dang thing goes

Probably doesn't matter if you're going to replace it and do it right.
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Norminn wrote:

One nice thing about koi is that they are carp and carp aren't as fussy about water conditions as some.
Re filter, I have no experience with them but a neighbor built a pond and pumped through several layers of fiberglass (like AC filters). Periodically, he'd take them out, wash out the top, dirty ones and reorder them in the stack (they were in a steel barrel).
--

dadiOH
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wrote:

We had a really tiny pond. 5' wide by 3' feet horizontally deep, by 8" vertically deep. Cement bottom. My mother wanted water lillies but they were expensive. We got a turtle, 1.5 inches long, and the first day it walked out of the pond and maybe we never saw it again. Although about 5 years later, there was a 8" long 6" high turtle in our yard. Don't know where it came from.

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On 5/11/2013 11:46 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I would use conduit for protection. When I first moved into this house some numbnuts had run underground cable (no conduit) under a flower bed. One of the first things the wife wanted in spring is to redo the flower beds, you can guess what happened. Shovel (was) sharp but survived, had to pitch the underware ;)
John
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There are devices that put a hiogh-frequency signal onto power lines and a matching detector to trace the general direction/routing of the wire. Find an electrician friend who has one of these and use it to mark the route of the present line. When you find the route, mark it with paint and then take a number of photos so you have a record. You can run the new line in over the septic fiekd drain lines, most drain line are more than 12" below the surface. Also, do your digging with a manual shovel, not some neighbor with a front loader who will just dig up whatever is inthe ground. ANd, since the load on the power line is faily small, you can use more wire and route the lines away from wherever you think you might be digging in the futue. Just document with photos where everything is. We had some work done here 45+ years ago and I have some 45+ year-old photos of the work that still come in handy every few years.
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On 5/11/2013 11:14 AM, Norminn wrote:

I've got both cable and FIOS lines to the house and neither are probably more than six inches under ground. Even the cable and FIOS people have cut each others lines on installs.
Years ago I hit the electric line running up the street when planting a tree and believe it is only about a foot down.
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Cable and FIOS are one thing. An electric utility wire buried only a foot deep is another and clearly a major code violation. At least here in the USA
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wrote:

I wouldn't worry about this. I leave an extension cord out lying on the ground, about 8 months a year, for the last 15 years, Including in the rain. . Some years I left it out all winter, under the snow. It's never tripped the circuit breaker. FWIW, when it's wet, I am careful to pick it up at least 2 feet from the end, and I've never felt a thing.

Of course that would only do something if the ground was bad, and since all this stuff just sits there, not too likely.

Deep enough the lawn mower won't cut it. When I had cable, it too was put in like yours. I forget the tool used, a vibrator or something. Maybe a tickler. I'm sure you can rent one. In your other post I see you want to use a tiller, So maybe just pull up the cable, disconnect it from your house, and run it where you want it, away from the beds, next to the wall or something. Buy a length of outdoor co-axial cable, connect it with a female-female connector, wrap it in the silicon tape referred to bellow, bury it all, and then connect back to the house.
Or maybe call the cable company and say you want to use a tiller, didnt' realize this when they were there, and how much woudl they charge to come out and do it again. Who knows, maybe they'll do it for free.

Don't let it do that. TV cable is not something special, like if you dug and uncovered the CERN Collider. The voltage is tiny, for one thing. You can put your hand on the center lead and the ground and you won't feel a thing. The installer may have left a foot of slack in the box on your wall where the cable came out of the ground, but even if he didn't, it will only take a tiny bit of extra length to dig a little trench below the cable and and let it lie a few inches lower where you want to plant flowers. Or better yet, you can just plant your flowers and shrubs around the cable. The flower and shrub roots will not hurt it (they'll just detour when the reach something that's not dirt, like they do when they reach the side of a sidewalk or the foundation wall of the house) and if perchance after 30 years a problem ariises, I think the cable company will repair it for free and won't ask which came first, the shrubs or the cable.
You can even cut the cable and put your own F connectors on the cut ends (You can borrow a crimping tool or buy a cheap one. It comes in handy. The self-screw (don't need crimping) F-connectors have never worked for me.) , then put 3 or 6 feet of extra cable, and wrap the whole thing with silicon tape. There are other names for this, but it's tape you stretch to 3 times its length when putting on, and it pulls back, making a very tight connection. Wrap it around 2 or 3 times and within a few days, it merges into one waterproof blob that you can bury. In my experience the tape comes wrapped on a white plastic spool, instead of a cardboard one.
My cable inslaller left a foot in the box and he folded it tightly, which he shoudlnt' have. Sharp bends tend to make signal rebound locations which can put ghosts in the tv image. But his didn't so maybe he knows more about it than I do**. Still, when you bury the extra 3 feet, let the cable spread out instead of bending or wrapping it tightly. The cable doesn't have to go in a straight line.
**Or maybe he didn't. I wanted the cable box in the closet, 5 feet from the tv, instead of where I could see it. The cable itself came in through the closet so it was no more work for him, but he said he wasn't sure the cable signal out of the box could go the extra 5 feet. He seemed sincere and he did it for me so he had no reason to lie. Later when I was running more cable through the basement ceiling, I had the cable running 3 times the length of the house, about 120 feet, and it worked fine.
If necessary, more questions can be asked at sci.electronics.repair.
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A GFCI does not depend on a ground. It trips on a current imbalance between hot and neutral. And not sure what the part about "all this stuff just sits there" has to do with a good ground. What is there now is installed half-assed, so who knows what anyone did.

Per NEC, the cable to the pond needs to be minimum of 12" deep. It's an energized 120V circuit, not cable TV.
 In your

It's a circuit for a pond pump, not cable TV.
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