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Thread: Weatherproof Electrical box question (not machinery related)

  1. #1
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    Weatherproof Electrical box question (not machinery related)

    We have a back patio (pavers) that had a junky plastic old fashioned street lamp in the middle of it which wasnít anchored properly and blew back and forth in the wind. I removed it today, but now have 3/4Ē conduit and Romex sticking up.

    Removing the circuit would require removing a bunch of pavers and trying to find where the circuit connects - I tried hard to do so and couldnít trace it (too many things in the way and limited access).

    So Iíd like to leave the power there for possible future use. Iíd like to put a floor mounted receptacle but they are really expensive ($75+). What options do I have? Just a J-box and dead end it?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    You could add a weather proof box to the conduit, however you will need an additional means of support for the box.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    We have a back patio (pavers) that had a junky plastic old fashioned street lamp in the middle of it which wasnít anchored properly and blew back and forth in the wind. I removed it today, but now have 3/4Ē conduit and Romex sticking up.

    Removing the circuit would require removing a bunch of pavers and trying to find where the circuit connects - I tried hard to do so and couldnít trace it (too many things in the way and limited access).

    So Iíd like to leave the power there for possible future use. Iíd like to put a floor mounted receptacle but they are really expensive ($75+). What options do I have? Just a J-box and dead end it?
    Thanks
    Do you know what else - if anything - is on that circuit? If the 'lamp' is all that's there, then I'd certainly de-term the wires at the CB, carefully and properly label them (both ends), wire nut and tape all the ends, and bury the outside as you deem appropriate (cosmetically) - but surely well drained.

    If there is something else on the CB that needs to remain hot, I'll defer to a real Electrician and a better knowledge of residential code.
    Molann an obair an saor.

    If Heaven ain't alot like Texas, I don't wanna go. - Hank Jr.

  4. #4
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    Our family room is on the circuit as well. Not sure who wired the house but this is an odd ball.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    Our family room is on the circuit as well. Not sure who wired the house but this is an odd ball.
    Wire tracer? Maybe find the box where the tie-in is made?

    If no tracer, just open all the receptacles; maybe a light or 2. Find the odd-ball where the 'extra' wires land..??? Depending on your foundation style, you might narrow it down to 2-3 boxes - - I'll bet the culprit was both cheap and lazy, so shortest run & easiest to reach pre-existing j-box. Lot of work, but....

    Or back to code - if allowable, isolate the tag end wires and leave it well marked - and hot.

    *** Maybe they didn't totally cheap out. Is there a GFCI receptacle anywhere on the circuit? That might be clue to tie-in location? ***
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 04-06-2020 at 9:39 PM.
    Molann an obair an saor.

    If Heaven ain't alot like Texas, I don't wanna go. - Hank Jr.

  6. #6
    A floor box outdoors will likely eventually fill up with water. If you really don't want some kind of raised stalk (and who would, in the middle of a patio), I would make a further attempt to figure out where the feed comes from. Since you know it's on the family room circuit, it's likely they tied it in to the closest receptacle in the family room. Pull the receptacles and look for an out of place cable. You might get luck and find UF cable which looks a lot different than romex. If you find it, you can disconnect it and mark the end in case you ever want to restore it.

    If you just can't find it, then you will have to terminate it in place. You don't say, but I'm assuming it's fed by direct bury cable (UF). Code prohibits buried (literally in this case, but they mean inaccessible) boxes that are "live" so I'd put in an outdoor rated box that will be flush with the pavers but still visible. Terminate the wires in outdoor rated wire nuts (silicone filled). Seal the cable entrance with electrician's duct seal.

    Take some pictures for future reference, and tape a note to your electrical box indicating circuit #xx has a leg to the box in the middle of the patio.

    Or, get an electrician with a fox and hound to track down the inside connection and disconnect it. Then you can just bury the end and be done.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  7. #7
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    Good suggestions folks.

    And good call on checking outlets.

    The lamp was switched, so Iím guessing they pulled power from that switch? Unfortunately that switch has a wooden deck directly outside the switch. Thereís a small area with loose stone between the deck and patio that I might do some exploratory digging to see if I can locate the conduit.

    Iíll check tomorrow to see if the wire is rated for outdoor use.

  8. #8
    Floor boxes are not listed for outdoor use, they barely keep out mop water indoors.

  9. #9
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    In remodeling an old home a couple of years ago, we had to figure out where the wire wentónot which circuit it was on, but what direction it was going in that it carried a neutral to another unknown location. Our electrician used a fox and hound type tracer which sent a signal though the dead wire (the breaker was intentionally flipped off) and a receiver was dragged around the ceilings and walls until we found where the rascal went. The receiver emits an audible beep and a visual set of LEDs.

    The are not cheap, like $300 and up. Some brands are Amprobe and Armada a,though I would expect Klein and General make them too.

    That tool saved us hours of time with a continuity checker.
    Regards,

    Tom

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    We have a back patio (pavers) that had a junky plastic old fashioned street lamp in the middle of it which wasn’t anchored properly and blew back and forth in the wind. I removed it today, but now have 3/4” conduit and Romex sticking up.

    Removing the circuit would require removing a bunch of pavers and trying to find where the circuit connects - I tried hard to do so and couldn’t trace it (too many things in the way and limited access).

    So I’d like to leave the power there for possible future use. I’d like to put a floor mounted receptacle but they are really expensive ($75+). What options do I have? Just a J-box and dead end it?
    Thanks
    You could always put in a better light? Maybe anchor it better (concrete footing, etc.)

    BTW, if the original light were back in place, you could always use a toner-based breaker finder to identify which breaker to turn off to de-energize it. (The ExTech is very good, and very affordable.)

    OTOH, if you really have Romex inside an outdoor conduit, it sounds like there are some code issues that come into play.
    Last edited by Doug Dawson; 04-07-2020 at 6:02 AM.

  11. #11
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    I know what breaker itís on. That doesnít require anything more than a phone and another pair of eyes (is that one it? No, try the next breaker).

    Doubt the wife will be on board with $300 for a Fox. Heck, she doesnít even want a puppy from the pound! Ha, couldnít resist.

  12. #12
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    I would (and have) cap the conduit with an all-weather box and covered outlet setup for convenience use and drive a support stake as required, paint it to blend in and be done with it. It's simple, easy, looks nice and preserves the power source at that location. It also requires no changes to existing wiring inside or out.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    ...The lamp was switched, so Iím guessing they pulled power from that switch? ....

    ^Hopefully just a single switch, no 3-way, or other such complications??

    Kill the CB. Open the switch box, pull the load-side wire (the one to the lamp) off the switch and wire nut it. Then do the same for the neutral wire to the lamp (likely it doesn't pass thru the switch). You can leave the GND if you think you'll ever use it again. Switch cover back on; camo the outside conduit. Hot up the CB. Done.

    ...maybe leave a few labels and notes for the next guy? Be kind!

    Add: You could also pull the switch out completely, wire nut the incoming hot wire, and use a blank cover plate?
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 04-08-2020 at 9:06 AM.
    Molann an obair an saor.

    If Heaven ain't alot like Texas, I don't wanna go. - Hank Jr.

  14. #14
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    Malcolm, I ended up doing that yesterday. Donít know why I didnít think about the switch earlier. So power went to the switch then to the lamp, so I removed the switch and wire nutted the wires and left a note.

    I bought a weatherproof box this morning and will install it in the pavers and leave a note there too.

    Thanks

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