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How do I run a wire underground to an outdoor post lamp?

I need to run power to an automatic gate operator at the entrance to my driveway. I have 2 questions:

1) What type of conduit do I need to use underground?

2) And how deep should I bury the line?

  • 2
    An electrician friend of mine, when helping me run a buried line, highly recommended using outdoor-rated Romex even in conduit because as he put it "It seems like no matter how carefully it was laid, buried conduit always leaks at some point."
    – MarkD
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 19:45

1 Answer 1

  1. you need conduit rated for outdoor use. It's typically PVC, gray in color, and is UV rated (so it doesn't break down in sunlight)

  2. check local electrical codes to be certain (though I think 18" is typical)

  • 1
    And you need to properly seal that underground PVC with the proper glue. Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 19:22
  • And UF cable too, I think.
    – Niall C.
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 19:27
  • which is better? metal or PVC for underground conduit? is metal even an option?
    – roartechs
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 19:30
  • 1
    @roartechs If you're running the conduit under the lawn or other low load area, I would use PVC. If you are going under a driveway or other high load location, I would be afraid of the PVC collapsing so I would use metal.
    – Tester101
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 19:51
  • 1
    I believe galvanized is an option (again, check local codes) but the challenge with metal is that it's more work to seal the connections. As Greebo points out, you do want to seal the PVC with PVC cement which is easy to do and makes a complete seal.
    – DA01
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 19:58

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