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Advantages and Disadvantages of Underground Wiring

Denise Brown

More and more municipalities are installing wiring that is totally underground. As that happens, more homeowners are burying the electrical power lines into their homes from the electrical company's transformer. While there are some underground wiring disadvantages, they are more than offset by the advantages. Chief among the underground advantages is the low incidence of line breakage.

Environmental Factors

Underground wiring minimally disrupts the ground during installation. If installed before landscaping a new home, it's even less noticeable. There are no lines that disrupt your line of sight. Lightning seldom connects with underground wiring. You needn't worry when you're trimming a tree that you will encounter a live wire.

An environmental disadvantage occurs when the homeowner or another utility working in the lawn hits buried wiring during digging jobs, such as tree planting or setting fence posts. Other environmental underground wiring disadvantages include the disruption of the soil. Settling of the dirt might occur. You might have a manhole or connection box buried on your property.


While buried wiring may have many advantages, the cost is not one of them. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin estimates the costs of running underground wiring to be anywhere from four to 14 times higher than aboveground wiring. In addition to the costs of burying the cable, you need to consider construction limitations, including sidewalks or driveways you may need to bore under. There may also be conflicts with other utility cables buried nearby. The major advantage of buried electrical wiring is that once it's in place, there are no more additional costs for upkeep.

Safety and Security

One of the major underground wiring advantages is its security. You don't have to worry every time the wind blows or lightning strikes that a tree is going to fall on the power lines. If you live in a remote area, vandals aren't able to cut your power lines to steal the copper from them. As underground wiring comes above ground, such as where the wiring enters the house, it is in a conduit or protective sheathing that protects humans and animals from accidental contact with the live wires.

Reliable Operations

An advantage of underground wiring is its reliability. As long as the electrical utility's lines have power, you have power to your house. Trouble spots are typically the terminal boxes where your wiring ties onto the main line and where it comes into the house, but both of these points are easily accessible when necessary. In the rare occurrence of a problem in the wiring itself, then underground wiring becomes a disadvantage. It's costly and time-consuming to find a problem on buried line.