National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


Dear Code Question of the Day,

I have an installation of 12-2 UF installed for a branch circuit for lights mounted to a pole in the backyard. Can the UF be stapled directly to the pole as it leaves the earth and is run up the pole? Are they rules in the Code that address this?

Marty Dutton



Hello Marty,

Thanks for participating and for your question. There are rules that apply to this installation. First you want to be sure the burial depth for the cable complies with 300.5. Minimum 24 inches deep based on column 1, but apply your specific conditions. Another concern is for being subject to physical damage. As the cable emerges from the earth to on the pole, it is likely to be subject to physical damage. This can be addressed by installing a conduit (raceway) sleeve over the cable. The sleeve could be metallic or nonmetallic PVC Schedule 80. If the short section of protective sleeving is metallic, Exception No. 2 to Section 250.86 relaxes the requirement for connecting the metal raceway  to the equipment grounding conductor in the cable assembly. Those are a few Code-related concerns that could apply to this installation.

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