How to Repair Cut Underground Electrical Wire
When an underground electrical wire stops working, it is possible that there is a break in it. To make the wiring work again and to restore your electricity, you may need to go through and repair the cut wire.
The good news is that you can do some of the work on your own. It is easier than you may think to go through and repair an underground electrical wire that has been cut. Check out the steps below to see how easy this process can be.
Materials You’ll Need
Before getting started, there are a few materials that you need to have on hand. The best place to start is with a splice kit. This will make the process easy and save you a lot of time waiting for someone else to do it. The splice kit often has all of the different components you need to make fixing the wire easier.
Once you have your splice kit, the steps you need to follow include:
Step 1: Get Your Electronic Monitoring Equipment
In some situations, you may know where the break in the electrical wire is already. This is great news because you can just go to that location and make the fix. However, since it is hard to see underground, it is possible a break occurs and you will not know where.
If the break happens and you do not know where it is, consider purchasing some electronic locating equipment. Most of the big box stores or electrical supply houses near you will have them.
Keep in mind that these tools do require you to have at least a little knowledge of electrical circuitry before you start to use them. Be ready to show some patience as well because this process can take some time.
Step 2: Call Your Utility Companies
If you are worried about having the right technical knowledge to get this done, then you can call your local electric company and use their own locating services. Most of the time these companies will offer this for free anytime they are looking for the main power wires from their source over to your meter.
If the wire is located somewhere else, such as to the light pole, garage, pools, or barns, you may need to deal with a small fee. It is always best to give the company a call and see what they say about it. They may be able to send someone out to help with the issue too.
Step 3: Get to Digging
Now it is time to get to work digging. Make sure that before you do any of the work, you turn off the main electrical supply. This is true before you dig or do any repair to your underground wires. This is done to keep you safe.
Do not just turn it off and assume everything is safe. To many people get hurt and electrocuted doing this. Take a voltage tester and test the wire, preferably one that is non-contact, and test the cable to make sure it is not live.
After testing everything, you can get to work. Dig along the sight path that is there between the electric cables at the entry and exit points.
Step 4: Purchase the Cable Connectors and Junction Boxes
If you are doing this work and need to add some additional stuff to the existing wire underground, you should consider purchasing a waterproof junction box to help make these connections.
This can save you a lot of time. The junction box will protect all of the connections from corroding when they encounter chemicals and moisture in the ground. Since the ground around these wires can get wet, this is also important.
A sealing box cable connector is able to give these wires the waterproofing they need as they enter into the box. This is critical if you plan to join the wires together in the box. Basically they just consist of a little bit of silicone inside the connector that will keep all of the moisture out.
If you do ever need to remove these, you should never reuse them. The reason for this is that the silicone can get stripped away when you pull it out, causing it to lose the waterproof capabilities it had before.
Step 5: Bring Out the Splice Kit
One option that you should consider using if you need to fix a broken wire is a splice kit. You need one that contains an inline connector because this is a great way to connect the two broken ends of the wire back together.
The inline connector will rely on a polyolefin sleeve. You can add this to the wiring and apply some heat to shrink it down, giving that water-resistant connection you are looking for.
This is the best way to handle all of this when fixing your wires. The sleeve can melt right over the wire, connecting nice and tight. You should use it for any broken wire that is deep down under the ground. Make sure it is far enough to not get damaged when you garden or do other work in the yard.
However, if you have wires that are higher up and you worry about them getting cut, you need to choose a different type of connector. One with a thick protective covering is a good idea. These will still have a sealer inside that is silicone based to provide the waterproofing, but the thicker covering will make it easier to not cut through.
Remember that before you start to use your splice kit, you need to look at the wire and then cut the wiring that is damaged on either side. Then you should strip back the outer sheathing. Three inches or so is enough for this.
Once that part is done, you can insert each of the conductors into your connector. You can do this by matching the colors up with one another. Tighten the chosen screws onto that connector, use a heat gun to shrink the tube, and finish the seal.
Step 6: Ask for Help
While it is easy enough to do some of the work on your own if you see a break in a wire and can determine where it is on your own, for some breaks, the work is more complicated than that. And some homeowners do not have the right equipment and have no want to do it all on their own.
If this sounds like you, then it is a good idea to call in a professional to get the work done. Your utility or phone company may be able to handle this. Give them a call or look around for a contractor who can get it done for you.
This is a good way to keep yourself safe and still ensure the wiring is fixed. These contractors will often have the right tools already so you will not need to pay extra or go looking for all the parts you need.
Fixing a break in some of your electrical wiring does not need to be difficult. With a little bit of searching and the right tools, you can get it done in no time.