Lamp post emergency

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Came home and the metal post of the lamp post was sheared in two and the lower half full of water as well as electrical cable. (Looks like the result of metal fatigue and heavy winds.) Spent an hour and found the breaker. It is no longer live, but unfortunately the breaker controls the same circuit for my livingroom and bedroom lights, so I would like to get this lamp post replaced as quickly as possible.
1. Who would take care of something like this? I can't picture electricians digging out the concrete footing. A landscaping company?
2. What is an acceptable temporary solution? Remove the lamp, wrap wires in wirenuts, wrap the whole in electrical tape? I don't like the idea of live wires laying about on my lawn where postal carriers and squirrels frolic, and yet, would very much like to have light in my house.
Advice, please!
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I dought if water will hurt anything, turn your lights on, if you want to be sure put an amp meter on the circuit to check, but any short should blow the breaker/
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If there's a junction box at the base of the lamp, disconnect the wires and wrap each one with a wire nut. Then wrap a whole lot of electrical tape around them and raise them about ground level as much as possible. Then call an electrician.

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the wire run to the yardlight must start from a junction box, probably inside the house. If you take the shortest route from the post to the foundation, there should be a conduit or UG cable entering somewhere near that point. bill

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The wires appear to enter the lamppost about 2 or more feet down. Light excavation around the lamppost got me down to a plug of concrete. I would have to go lots deeper (and beyond the concrete) to get to the place where the wires enter the lamp post. Easier to take the wires at the top, where they enter the lamp. Can't find a junction box on the outside of the house.
Is an electrician going to want to dig out an old lamp post?
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There may not be a junction box on the outside of the house. Normally, I would tell you to do what bill said and find the wire where it comes into the house, but seeing as it took you an hour to find the breaker, I think you could be searching all night. Does the light still work? If you leave the breaker off, can you run extension cords to your bedroom? Not having seen the situation, I can't tell you what an electrician would want to do.

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Arrrghhhh ----- Quit making things complicated...... LOOK IN THE BASEMENT for the cable from the light...... (Not outside). There is likely an octogon box on the wall. Draw a straight line from the post to the house. Measure that spot from the corner of the house. Go in the basement and measure the same distance and look for the box. Once you find it, disconnect the wires inside that box and put wirenuts on the ends. Turn you power back on and dont worry about it till you get an electrician to replace the thing.
Another thing. Is there a switch that turns off that light? If there is, remove the switch, wire nut the two wires and turn your power back on. Most likely that IS a switch.
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Want to? Probably not. But they'll doubtless let you pay them an electrician's hourly rate to do a laborer's job. If you're so inclined, dig it up or get someone cheap to dig it up.
Meanwhile, just cap the wires in the post. Keep them as long as possible (don't cut them short). Fold 'em back into the broken base and securely cap it off with something. An old traffic cone or something would work. Just enough to keep anyone from accidentally getting to the wires. Tape down whatever's covering it.
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Is this lamp controlled from a photocell control located in the post and the power feed is always live? Or is there a switch in the house? If the latter then (with breaker off) open the switch, remove the wire that feeds the lamp from the switch and wire nut it and close back up to await the electrician's attention.
Or just make sure the switch is off and put a piece of tape over the switch to keep from accidentally turning it on. As long as the switch is off the wires outside will be dead. It will be safe to turn the breaker back on. This presumes there is no convenience outlet on the lamppost that was live even with the lamp off. Nor that the line to the post goes on to feed anything else. In that case you'd have to go back to the first idea of disconnecting the wire(s) in the house.
Note it's the black (or red or other color other than green or white) wire which is "hot" and could cause shock. White and green are neutral and ground respectively and need not be disconnected. Black is the most typical color for the hot wire. Sometimes another color indicates the hot after passing a switch.
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Yes, it did take me quite a while flipping breakers and running outside to see if the lamp was on.
I've got the breaker off and the switch off; I'll tape it up today. Guess I'll call an electrician to dig it up . . .:(
Thanks for your help!
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If the breaker is off, dig it up yourself, just be careful not to hit the wire. This should save you some money, which could justify taking time off of work.

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My outside lamp is a solid wire to the lamp socket, it is no threat to that circuit if it falls, if it shorts breaker will blow. You will likely dig for nothing, a short can be measured with an amp meter, a smart thing to do on any house to be sure electricity isnt wasted through a short on all circuits.
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My outside lamp is a solid wire to the lamp socket, it is no threat to that circuit if it falls, if it shorts breaker will blow. You will likely dig for nothing, a short can be measured with an amp meter, a smart thing to do on any house to be sure electricity isnt wasted through a short on all circuits.
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The problem isn't a short in the line. Actually, the lamp is working perfectly well, although it is laying on the ground. The problem is that the lamp post, in King James English, is "rent in twain." The problem with digging up the stub is that it is two feet down and surrounded by an unknown quantity of concrete, which may, if people weren't careful, have a wire cable buried in it. I am not sure I can get it up by myself, although odd visions of pulleys and automobiles are dancing in my head. I've called a couple of electricians and been told that they don't do things like this. Somebody must, but I'm not sure who.
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For this type of job, I would look for a general handyman. Look in your local newspaper (or the free weekly paper) in the want ad section. You really don't need an electrician for this.
I you decide to do it yourself. You could dig it up and use a small sledge hammer and chisel (with the necessary safety gear) to break the cement into manageable pieces.
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The problem isn't a short in the line. Actually, the lamp is working perfectly well, although it is laying on the ground. The problem is that the lamp post, in King James English, is "rent in twain." The problem with digging up the stub is that it is two feet down and surrounded by an unknown quantity of concrete, which may, if people weren't careful, have a wire cable buried in it. I am not sure I can get it up by myself, although odd visions of pulleys and automobiles are dancing in my head. I've called a couple of electricians and been told that they don't do things like this. Somebody must, but I'm not sure who. ===========================I am forever grateful to the nice electrical supply guy who cautioned me when I first bought my post DONT CEMENT IT IN!
It doesnt need to be! doesnt really add much stability, poles arent supposed to be hung from
A cheap fast fix is build a wooden frame around the post, stand and tie post upright, then add concrete.
You will end up with a post on a little pedastal. yeah its cheesey but works.
now lets assume you dig up the concrete and acciudently cut the wire:( POWER BREAKER OFF BEFORE BEGINNING WORK!
You might relocate the pole a little closer to the house shortening the cable.
or use a special underground wire splice and add a length of underground wire to the pole. these are preetty new and can be directly buried
when your done DONT cement it in, just backfill and tamp dirt with your foot:)
That way the next time its no big deal.
in the 20+ years I have been thru 2 poles, the first got smacked by a unknown car and being already rusty snapped off at the ground. some kids pushed over pole 2, no biggie I dug it up carefully and reset it. they did it all thru the neighborhood
if these had been cemented in I may have had to replace that long cable run twice.
Incidently my mailbox pole is a I beam, I didnt cement it in either, which made things easier when the sewer company dug it up replacing the main sewer line on the street.
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Contact an electrician _first_ and see what they say.
Chances are that the post can be repaired or spliced and the concrete doesn't need to be touched.
When a lamppost sheared off at our local high school, they just powered it off, and a few weeks later someone came along and welded a new mounting plate on to the post and re-erected it.
If, as seems likely, your post is a hunk of pipe buried in concrete, if there's a stub left, it can be welded or mended with a pipe joiner.
Even if there's no stub, they may be able to internally sleeve it with piece of slightly smaller pipe.
As such, you don't want to cut the wires - that will make more trouble. Just get that part of the circuit killed (the electrian you called in to look ;-) and the loose ends and bottom end of pipe protected from the weather.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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Exactly.
Don't go looking for things that aren't broken, to break and then fix them.
Besides K.I.S.S.
HTH, J
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Thank you very much! Wires are now in nuts, electrical taped, etc. A handyman seems to be just the ticket and will be coming out soon. With it taped up and the switch off, I feel comfortable turning the breaker back on and restoring lights in my house.
I hadn't thought about options that didn't involve pulling up the concrete base. Thanks for these tips, as well as the question mark over setting the post in concrete.
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Melissa,
The circuit to an outside lamp should have been fed by a GFCI. The circuit feeding your bedroom and living room lights would not be. get the electrician to trace the circuit and split it into two circuits. Or tie the OD light into an existing GFCI(ground fault circuit interruptor). I have an electronic circuit tracer that puts a radio signal into the wires so the wires can be traced, even underground if not too deep. A good electrician should have one too.
Stretch
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