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I'm adding a post and a post-mounted light fixture in the backyard. Some posts have an outlet at the bottom, but they appear to always have a "decorative ladder rest" (with plastic golden balls!) that is an eyesore. Is it possible to add a receptacle to a plain post?

The plan is to use this light, which fits on a 3" post.

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arcadianlighting.com/cm-z8984.html - you haven't looked hard enough. – The Evil Greebo Sep 25 '12 at 13:37
@TheEvilGreebo, thanks for the suggestion, but that thing made me barf. I'm still looking for the with-outlet, without-ladder-rest version of a plain black pole. – ArgentoSapiens Sep 25 '12 at 14:07
I guess that's this one, if you believe the description and not the picture. Thanks for the link. – ArgentoSapiens Sep 25 '12 at 14:10
So are you asking how to add a receptacle, or looking for shopping guidance? – The Evil Greebo Sep 25 '12 at 14:19
@TheEvilGreebo, in the question, neither. I've asked whether a receptacle can be added to a plain post. In the comments, I replied to your shopping guidance with comments about shopping guidance. Should I clarify the question? – ArgentoSapiens Sep 25 '12 at 14:43
up vote 4 down vote accepted

There is no reason you could not, if you followed the standard requirements for outdoor recepticles, such as

  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
  • sealed box
  • properly protected cable

However, this is likely to be a bulky add on.


Cutting a hole in the post presents a problem becasue you need to install a sealable box and sealable cable connections.

Finding a post that already has a UL listed outlet is probably a safer, easier and maybe cheaper alternative. (See comment by @The Evil Greebo) A manufacturer can design an integrated housing for the outlet and get it UL rated, whereas you need to rely on off-the-shelf parts (read not custom fit) to get the same safety and performance.

Also, on the posts you have seen so far, it might be easier to remove the decorative items and plug them with small caps or finials than adding a safe outlet.

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+1. I was going to suggest just hacksawing off the ladder rest bars as well. That seems a ton easier than retrofitting a receptacle into the pole. – Jeremy W. Sherman Sep 25 '12 at 15:09
Though I believe if you put the jbox wholly in the pole, it would not need to be WP, because it's now in a dry location. You'd just need gasketing for the cover. (Good luck finding a gasketed cover that matches the tight curve of a pole.) – Jeremy W. Sherman Sep 25 '12 at 15:10
@JeremyW.Sherman In an ideal world, but I would be nervous about drips into the pole from the lamp attachment point or other joints. Better safe . . . – bib Sep 25 '12 at 19:42

You don't need the bulky solution posted by @bib.

In my yard I have exactly what you are looking for, a receptacle on a plain 3-inch pole. Google "Design House 502112", available from a variety of sources including Home Depot. It's called a "replacement" receptacle, but it can be added new by drilling a 1-3/8" hole in the side of the pole.

The biggest issue with this item is that the cover is not terribly rugged... mine broke after 8 years of regular use (which is why I am replacing it now), but I've seen other reviews indicating quicker failure.

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I guess a lot depends upon just how you are doing your light. If you are purchasing a ready-made light pole with integrated light fixture then the ability to add the outlet would depend on how the pole is constructed. For instance if the pole was a smallish pipe type thing at one inch diameter adding an outlet would be a completely different thing than adding an outlet to the cast metal base that was eight or ten inches in size.

If you are making your own post out of wood adding an outlet may simplest if the post was constructed as a box construction out of boards as opposed to being a solid timber.

In either case the ability to add an electrical outlet is possible if you select the proper type of post.

Of course you can even go the route of using surface mounted exterior electrical boxes and conduit but that can be rather ugly and mostly suitable for purely utilitarian applications.

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