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The Key to Safe Landscape Lighting

LANDSCAPE SPLICEPOSTIn a perfect world, all electrical connections for landscape lighting luminaires would be performed correctly. Splices would always be tight and circuits would always be properly grounded and free of potential shock hazard. But in reality, the quality of outdoor electrical installation varies among electricians and accidents do occur. While it is not feasible to protect against every unwelcome possibility, using a product that goes an extra step beyond minimal requirements can create a potentially safer finished job and result in a neater, more professional looking installation.

According to the 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC) Article 314.17 (B) for Conductors Entering Boxes, Conduit Bodies, or Fittings, “…where raceway or cable is installed with metal boxes or conduit bodies, the raceway or cable shall be secured to such boxes and conduit bodies.” This requirement is partially driven by the fact that the (junction) box provides a known access point if any service work would be necessary in the future. However, the box also protects the splice from abuse typically caused by landscape maintenance equipment and vandalism and provides protection from the weather.

“The title of the section does not mention landscape line voltage lighting, and therefore it has been interpreted that the NEC apparently permits splices that are contained within a splice box. This inconsistency is the result of an oversight that should be addressed in the next code revision,” he says. “The NEC allows splices in a landscape post without requiring a junction box, essentially relying on the dirt beneath the splice to substitute for the bottom of an enclosure. But that solution offers no protection for the circuit conductors that could literally be sitting in water and dirt, creating an unsafe and unreliable lighting luminaire. And small animals could have open, easy access to the splice connections and the circuit conductors.”

Therefore, going beyond the scope of the NEC, EPCO’s round hollow pipe style landscape post is suitable for commercial and residential applications, follows the NEC in principle and features a splice compartment within the light post SpliceCap. The post, which is UL Listed for splicing line voltage conductors to the luminaire and is also UL Listed as a “Luminaire Fitting” for use in wet locations, conforming to NEC Article 314.15 (A), is designed to offer greater protection than traditional landscape posts, along with other advantages.

The Landscape SplicePost includes a Separator Disk to accommodate a “grounded” or non-grounded metallic luminaire, complying with NEC Article 314.4. Once the disk is secured in the cap below the splice, it effectively turns the segment between the splice cap and the disk into a secure fully enclosed splice box enclosure, or junction box, of sufficient size to provide “free” space for two (2) 20 AMP circuit conductors.

This innovative configuration, conforms to the NEC Article 314.16 (A) with respect to allowable volume, reduces risk of electrical shock hazards, and creates a safe environment at the installation. The Separator Disk, which becomes fixed once the SpliceCap is secured on top of the SplicePost with a set screw, also provides a way to clamp and secure the circuit conductors coming into the SplicePost so the conductors are not accidentally pulled, possibly loosening or stressing the splice. The Separator Disk also acts as a blocker, eliminating the risk of the splice touching dirt, mud or groundwater.

About the Author: Allen Guidry

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