Lighting and ElectricHome Improvement

Outdoor Light Using Electricity When Turned Off

I have a high electric bill so I was looking into reasons why. Someone said to check out our outside lights. Come to find out one of the light posts had electricity going into the ground around the posts. If you stuck a meter into the ground near the post it read 110 amps. So I replaced the wire from the foundation to the post and got a new post and light. When I checked it after all that it still did the same thing.


I also noticed that even though the switch is off the energy saving bulb I put in flashes. The other night It flashed 41 times a minute. I noticed that the longer the light is on the faster the flashing is. I also did not turn the switch for a few days and turned it on for a minute and it only flashed once every 2 minutes. Does anyone have any ideas on what could be causing this?

Greg from Uxbridge, MA

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June 18, 20070 found this helpful

If all else fails, how about trying solar lighting?
By the way - can you switch power companies?

Where I live we can go to and select a company after reviewing the rates for all the power companies that serve my zip code.

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June 19, 20070 found this helpful

Our power company will send someone out to do an energy evaluation on our property for free. If you can get an expert opinion for free, I say go for it.

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June 19, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Greg
If your meter read 110 Amps, then your lamp post must be powered by a UFO. A current flow of 15 Amps will pop your outside plug-in breaker.


Most likely you were measuring Volts, not Amps.

However, if you did indeed measure 110 Volts between the lamp post and the ground, you can get sued for manslaughter if a kid touches it. Your best bet is to save a LOT of money by getting a local electrician to check out your mystery.

It seems that, somewhere between the breaker and the lamp, you have some wires mixed up. I have no way of telling from here whether the mix-up is in the house, before the outside plug-in, or after. The flashing proves that there is a mix-up, and I would not be in the least surprised if some other appliance, like a baseboard or water heater or something else, also consumes power without your knowledge.

You should, at the same time, also install a GFCI breaker or at least a GFCI outside outlet, just to get within the Code and to notice immediately when there is a similar problem. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. When it senses that 40 milli-Amps ( 40 1/1000 of an Amp ) of current flow get sidetracked to the ground, it pops. 45 milli-Amps of current flow are enough to kill. That is why the Code requires them for outside outlets.


To reduce your liability, turn the breaker off until the wire mix-up has
been corrected and a GFCI installed.

Have FUN!

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