Profile picture for user38180682

How can I safely remove an electrical outlet from outdoor line that is buried in ground?

I'm very novice with electrical, but I want to learn.  I have a shop in the back yard that is powered by one 110 line. Works fine for my needs. Problem is, right in the middle is an outlet stickint straight out of the ground.  It's in a box and connected by conduit, but it's not needed and in the way. How can I remove it, properly, and still have power to my shop? Is there a box with a junction or do I need to replace the entire wire from the house to the shop?

  • September 03 2013 - US
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Answers (7)

Profile picture for blue screen exile
By the way, it certainly is safer having a junction box with weatherproof cover sticking up in the yard than it is a 110 volt outlet, especially if the existing outlet is not GFIC.

But if the existing outlet is in the way, and getting hit with the lawn mower frequently (and watered with the sprinklers), the junction box is still going to create problems due to it "being in the way".
  • September 03 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
A person is more likely to fall off a ladder and break their neck and die then they are removing one outlet.  A person is more likely to cut their hand off or foot off with a skill saw while cutting some trim molding for a room they are refinishing, and then bleed to death.

Removing an outlet safely is extremely easy and safe of one does it in a safe manner and is careful.   And many electricians will charge $500 just for the site visit, before they even start any work.  And some electricians do shoddy work and would make it less safe than doing it by yourself.  And some electricians have no clue of the codes and do it wrong from ignorance.   I have personally seen it thousands of times.

And who is liable if no work is done, and the existing outlets in the shop/garage are NOT GFIC, and the person opens a refrig and gets a shock that causes a heart attack?  The Realtor that sold them the property?  Absolutely not; in spite of their errors and omissions insurance, Realtors are liable for nothing due to their standard disclaimers.

Yes, a Realtor believes that you must have a "specialist" for everything, including cutting your toe-nails and washing your hair.  They even send all their underwear out to be washed by a "specialist" as you could die if it was not washed correctly.   That is why a sales profession that requires less than 160 hours of training and only a high school diploma has so many licensed practitioners that claim their license is the equivalent of a medical doctor that has 12 years of education & training, and 15 years of experience.

If the existing wire was put in by a licensed electrician, and done under permit, and a building inspector checked the installation and signed off on it, the wire is probably fine.  If it isn't, the electrician probably wouldn't notice anyway.  But the codes have changed, and GFIC outlets may not have been required when it was installed.

Removing an outlet is no more risky nor more work than replacing an outlet.  And of course, we know plenty of Realtors that couldn't replace an outlet safely if their life depended on it.
  • September 03 2013
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Profile picture for larryeul
Sorry, different take from me.
Get an electrician.
 You are a novice. No one on this forum has self identified as a licensed electrician.... you are wanting to fool with a buried wire, with an outlet in the ground/earth, remove said outlet, create a junction box, and power "work shop' with one line, without knowing if said line is also connected to other outlet/switches in the house. And not knowing if current line is adequate for shop.
  After you do all this work, and I stop by to see you and have a cold one in the 'work shop' and then step into water filled depression of where the removed outlet used to be, and get the you know what shocked out of me, well, you still thinking saving a $100-200 electricians bill is worth it? Cuz maybe I got a starving brother in law, attorney type, needing a quick, easy suit. This one would be so easy, may even be able to go straight to your insurance company.
  Sorry, you are a fool not to have done by LICENSED electrician.
  Best to you.
 Sorry to use strong words, but this one is crazy with silly advice.

 (Learn about electric by changing out outlets, where you can see where old wires go, or new switch, same thing...keep away from where you are creating electrical lines...leave this one for expert.). Keep away from adding junction boxes, working in wet areas, any outside work. My opinion. Everyone can have their opinion, until it affects health, safety or welfare of others.
p.s.   who is to say original electric line is proper?
pps.. to former poster... I dont think it is proper for someone to try and save $150 for an electrician on a job that could KILL SOMEONE if not done properly. Yeah, I know, pretty strong. But that is my opinion. And until you show you are licensed electrician, and give this novice/you tube watching, wanna be electrician a detailed list of how to fix the above issues I have mentioned, stupid advice- notice given in most respectful manner possible.
 Vote me up, vote me down on this one.
  • September 03 2013
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Pasadenan is correct.
 If you remove an outlet and don't run a new circuit (wire) then you have leave the old box and cap it with a outdoor weather sealed new one.

You can't cut a wire and not make the cut area to where you can't get to it. -Joseph-
  • September 03 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
If you want to "learn", do it yourself.  It is not hard.  It is extremely easy.  Just "be careful" and thorough, and if in doubt, ASK before "doing it wrong" or turning on something that might not be properly connected.

I would also suggest getting a plug tester from Radio Shack or Harbor Freight Tools or your local building supply store... to verify that you connected the outlets with the correct polarity.

By the way, your garage/shop should have GFIC receptacles.  (Outdoor ones should be too).  So, if they are not, you should replace them as part of the project as well.

And no, I do not think it is a good idea for a home owner on a limited budget to pay over $150 to an electrician for installing less than $30 of parts that anyone with a screwdriver and plyers can do themselves.
  • September 03 2013
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Profile picture for LonnieMintz
Hi,

Thank you for your question!  I would suggest hiring a certified electrician to help you.  They are experts in their field and can get the job done efficiently, quickly and can be very cost-effective.  I recommend researching local electricians on Angie's List, in the yellow pages or you can speak to your trusted Realtor in your area.  You want to make sure you can see testimonials from past clients and that the electrician has a good reputation in the community.  Do-it-yourself jobs, such as this, often can end up costing you more if its done incorrectly.

I am a Realtor in the Greater Los Angeles area and would be more than happy to recommend a couple of electricians to you.  
  • September 03 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
1) If you leave the box, you can remove the outlet; just make sure you put a gasketted weatherproof cover on it.

2) You could have two or more circuits in the conduit, and your circuit breakers may not be properly labeled.  To remove the outlet safely, make sure all the power run in that conduit is "off".  You can do that by plugging in a small lamp on the outlets, and then shutting off the breakers that you think power those outlets.  Once off, you can work safely.  You will want to make sure you update the index for the breakers identifying the loads.

3) After removing the outlets, you likely will need to wire-nut the wires back together.... black to black; white to white....  Discuss it with someone at the building supply store when you buy the wire-nuts and box cover.  Make sure the wires are all the way in the wire-nut, and that they don't pull out after tightened.  A bad connection is a bad problem, especially on the white wire (neutral).

If you want to remove the box, you will need to replace the entire run of wire.  But you do want to make sure you have no more than a total of  4 90 degree bends in the run.  (Offsets count... 360 degrees of bends is MAXIMUM allowed).
  • September 03 2013
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