See image below. This is a 3ft brick pillar at the street in a house I just bought. It was built around 20 years ago. A few weeks after moving in, the breaker for this circuit flipped. Found the cause here. There is (possibly?) romex running underground from the house to the pillar, and up through the center of the pillar. Hard to tell in the image below, but the black wire here got worn down and/or corroded and broke right at the top surface of the brick. It was actually still barely connected when I touched it (but the insulation was long gone in that area). I wiggled it back and forth once or twice and it snapped, the copper was presumably destroyed from rainwater getting in here? Also looks like the romex sheath was cut back a little too far... it might have protected the black insulation better if it extended out of the pillar further.
I've not tried pulling on this end of the cable, but I somehow doubt it will go anywhere if I do. Afraid to break the white end too.
Is there an easy solution here that does not involve digging?
Adding some more info as requested. About the image below. Green == earth (dirt/lawn, not cement).
- What I know for sure, i.e. things I can observe with my own eyes and actions. Inside the house in a random room is a wall switch which actually controls the pillar lights. Outside the house pretty near that switch is an outlet. Plugged into that outlet is a large transformer box that supplies low voltage lighting to the yard lights. This outlet and the indoor switch are on the same breaker circuit, but the switch only controls the pillar lights. If I turn the switch on, the breaker will flip (because of the short at the pillar) and the yard lights lose power also. If I leave the switch off, I'm able to use the yard lights since the circuit and outlet stay powered. There is heavy duty wire (feels like Romex to me, but I don't know) in the thin crack between the driveway and sidewalk (the red line in the image, it enters the dirt immediately past the crack so I can't see exactly where it enters the pillar, but a small dig would certainly reveal that). I know this setup worked for 20 years before I moved in.
- What I don't know. How are the posts connected to the house. I suspect post 1 is wired underground to the switch/outlet wall. I presume with a conduit? I suspect these are line voltage since they are not powered by the low voltage transformer on that same wall. I don't know where the wires enter and exit the pillars, but I assume not too far under the dirt somewhere. I don't know if the wire in the driveway crack is ok, but I presume it's there because these were installed after the driveway and they didn't want to tear up cement (and there is no earth-only route from house to post 2).
A photo of the driveway and street.
Two photos of the might-be-romex in the crack:
The outside wall with the transformer box and outlet mentioned above: