how deep does a coax drop need to be?

bmike1

New member
When I was a cable tech contractor I was told that you didn't need to bury a coax drop, you just needed to cover it. I have since learned that the guy who taught me had no idea what he was talking about. I am no longer a cable-guy but on Sunday a cable tech is coming out to replace my drop. I'm going to make him do it correctly or I'm going to complain to COX. So please, how deep does it need to be according to the NEC?
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Unfortunately. Even if it did, I'd imagine anything outside your NID is under the purview of Cox and not the NEC.
In a normal single family home situation like the OP I think you are correct.

In a situation like a school campus the outdoor portions could be under the NEC.
 

kenman215

Senior Member
Location
albany, ny
When I was a cable tech contractor I was told that you didn't need to bury a coax drop, you just needed to cover it. I have since learned that the guy who taught me had no idea what he was talking about. I am no longer a cable-guy but on Sunday a cable tech is coming out to replace my drop. I'm going to make him do it correctly or I'm going to complain to COX. So please, how deep does it need to be according to the NEC?
NEC doesn't cover it, but it's been my experience that service providers do, in fact, cut it in at a depth of 4". Most resi contractors will throw it in their URD trench, and commercially a conduit run is normally installed by the EC or excavation crew.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
When I was a cable tech contractor I was told that you didn't need to bury a coax drop, you just needed to cover it. I have since learned that the guy who taught me had no idea what he was talking about. I am no longer a cable-guy but on Sunday a cable tech is coming out to replace my drop. I'm going to make him do it correctly or I'm going to complain to COX. So please, how deep does it need to be according to the NEC?
I agree with the other posters that in general the NEC has no required burial depth for such cables.

So since the guy likely had the right answer to this question and you thought he was wrong, what makes you think you are right about him having "no idea what he was talking about"? There are a lot of people who have a lot of beliefs about how electrical installations should be done that have little or no basis in the electrical code. They are just the way they were taught to do things. That does not make them code compliant, just as being code compliant is not always perfect.
 
There's "code compliant" and there's "fit to the purpose"; putting the coax just under the sod might be compliant but I'll argue that it's too prone to damage to be fit (workmanlike installation and all that). Come to think of it, the last time I actually saw cable installers working underground, they were using a 12" plow.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
There's "code compliant" and there's "fit to the purpose"; putting the coax just under the sod might be compliant but I'll argue that it's too prone to damage to be fit (workmanlike installation and all that). Come to think of it, the last time I actually saw cable installers working underground, they were using a 12" plow.
12" is at least deep enough that most lawn and garden activity will not disturb it too easily.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
In a normal single family home situation like the OP I think you are correct.

In a situation like a school campus the outdoor portions could be under the NEC.
But even if it is covered by the NEC, it is a Chapter 8 installation, unless the Chapter 8 article has a reference to 300.5, there won't be a burial depth.
 

jap

Senior Member
When I was a cable tech contractor I was told that you didn't need to bury a coax drop, you just needed to cover it. I have since learned that the guy who taught me had no idea what he was talking about. I am no longer a cable-guy but on Sunday a cable tech is coming out to replace my drop. I'm going to make him do it correctly or I'm going to complain to COX. So please, how deep does it need to be according to the NEC?
They'll more than likely bring a plow and simply cut it in and generally that is 10 or 12" deep in an orange smurf tube most likely.
If your going to be there anyway, leave them alone and let them do thier job.
Take note of where its routed (which wont be too hard to figure out for about the next 6 or 8 months till the grass grows back) and since your probably the only one who will be digging in your own yard anyway, remeber where it is and dont dig into it.

As long as it's not laying on top of the ground where you have to mow around it, who really cares ?

The less time they're there, the sooner you get your cable turned back on. :)

JAP>
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
But even if it is covered by the NEC, it is a Chapter 8 installation, unless the Chapter 8 article has a reference to 300.5, there won't be a burial depth.
Did I say anywhere in this thread that the NEC has a burial depth for this?:huh:

I specifically said it does not in the first response to this thread.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
There's "code compliant" and there's "fit to the purpose"; putting the coax just under the sod might be compliant but I'll argue that it's too prone to damage to be fit (workmanlike installation and all that). Come to think of it, the last time I actually saw cable installers working underground, they were using a 12" plow.
where is there a "fit to purpose" requirement in the NEC?

I am not even sure it has to be buried at all to be code compliant.

you can quote made-up requirements that you think meet the workmanlike installation the code refers to but since it is never defined anywhere it is completely unenforceable.
 
where is there a "fit to purpose" requirement in the NEC?
It's not, which is why that's separate from "code compliant". Many times we've discussed the difference between code minimum and what actually makes sense for the installation. Actual depth may not be a requirement, but it sure makes sense if one is doing "a good job", and I'd want that on my own property.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
It's not, which is why that's separate from "code compliant". Many times we've discussed the difference between code minimum and what actually makes sense for the installation. Actual depth may not be a requirement, but it sure makes sense if one is doing "a good job", and I'd want that on my own property.
This is what the OP asked:

So please, how deep does it need to be according to the NEC?
He did not ask for an opinion on what it "should" be, or what someone does just because someone told them to do it that way a long time ago and now they do it that way thinking it is some requirement.
 
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