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  1. #1
    Stephen G Sheldon's Avatar
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    Default Service Connection

    Inspected a house built in 1961 where the service has been updated, but it looks like the old service conductors are still being used. The fact that they are wrapped in a cloth jacket; is that a problem?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen G Sheldon View Post
    Inspected a house built in 1961 where the service has been updated, but it looks like the old service conductors are still being used. The fact that they are wrapped in a cloth jacket; is that a problem?
    .

    Only in that they look like rubber insulated conductors, and that rubber insulation is likely all dried out and brittle, which means it could well be compromised.

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  3. #3
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    How could the service be updated if they are using the old service conductors?

    Do you mean they replaced the main panel?

    If you update the panel, then typically you replace it with a new one of the same amperage as limited by your service size.

    If you update the service, then typically that means you are replacing everything on the outside including meter base and sometimes the main panel too.

    Upgrade usually means you are increasing the size of the service and main panel.

    Occasionally due to falling trees and weather problems, partial replacements are performed because of damage to part of the service such as a broken weatherhead for OH services or a damage meter base in which just the meter base is replaced.

    I am just curious as to what was done because we often get people coming in for permits and they don't really know what work the electrician is doing for them which can cause some problems when the POCO wants to place the permanent connections on the service.


  4. #4
    Stephen G Sheldon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    The panel has been replaced but for whatever reason the service conductors were not replaced. The meter looks new and shows 200amps and the main service is 150 amp.

    If everything within the panel looks good, would you recommend having an electrician still do a further evaluation?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen G Sheldon View Post
    Inspected a house built in 1961 where the service has been updated, but it looks like the old service conductors are still being used. The fact that they are wrapped in a cloth jacket; is that a problem?
    I would be concerned that this was not done with a permit. A lot of stuff around here is just put in by someone, electrician or not. They will pull the meter from the socket, install a new panel and the plug the meter back in. Was there any tag on the meter or the panel. Around here, the inspectors will put a sticker on the panel to let PG&E that it is ok to connect the service.

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  6. #6
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen G Sheldon View Post
    The panel has been replaced but for whatever reason the service conductors were not replaced. The meter looks new and shows 200amps and the main service is 150 amp.

    If everything within the panel looks good, would you recommend having an electrician still do a further evaluation?
    If you don't see a problem with the panel or the service then why would you want it to be reviewed by and electrician?

    I think this is a confidence issue on your part to be quite honest.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    Stephen,

    I assume you meant to Post the picture in this thread and not Start a New one with the same name.

    " Here is a photo of the connection to the panel." Quote Stephen
    .

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  8. #8
    John Steinke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    I can't speak for the local rules; those, you'll have to get from the PoCo as well as the AHJ.

    That said, the critical question to ask is: How large are the wires? Related, how are they connected to the PoCo wires?

    I can't imagine a 'service change' that does not also include new wires and a larger service mast. Well, let me correct myself - I have seen buildings where replacing such was essentially impossible - but that's a very unique situation.

    For the period of roughly 1930-1995, the miinimum / typical house service was 60 amps. Since then the minimum has been 100 amps (with some leeway for duplexes and such). This alone means that the original wires are likely too small.

    Old wires can be tested as to their insulation integrity.

    If they simply replaced a fuse box with a breaker box, they have to continue to limit current to the size of the original service.


  9. #9
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    For the period of roughly 1930-1995, the miinimum / typical house service was 60 amps. Since then the minimum has been 100 amps (with some leeway for duplexes and such). This alone means that the original wires are likely too small.

    The standard in NC has been 200 amp since the 60's. You need to revamp your "canned" comment.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    I see panel replacements a lot that still use the original conductors. Especially over the last few years with all the Fed Pacific panels being changed out.

    If there are no other issues the presence of the original conductors is not a problem IMO.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    The standard in NC has been 200 amp since the 60's. You need to revamp your "canned" comment.
    James,

    Might be a regional thing. I think the minimum according to the NEC is 100 amps.

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    Default Re: Service Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    For the period of roughly 1930-1995, the minimum / typical house service was 60 amps. Since then the minimum has been 100 amps (with some leeway for duplexes and such). This alone means that the original wires are likely too small.
    .

    The minimum service rating for a dwelling unit went to 100 amps in 1959 (where the dwelling unit had a calculated load of 10 Kw or more - which was most any dwelling unit).

    1959 = 100 amp minimum service to a dwelling unit

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  13. #13
    Douglas Gross's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    I don't see any Ox-Guard on those aluminum wires.


  14. #14
    Dave Rice's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Service Connection

    I ran into this one yesterday on a four plex apartment complex. Needless to say it was a mess. Picture 2 was in the middle of the attic. Too change the fuse one would have to enter and travel half way down the attic. Four plex was built in 1941 and I think this is the original electrical boxes and service. Wrote about three pages of comments on this mess.

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  15. #15
    John Steinke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    My 1999 NEC , 230-70(c) shows a change from the 1996, requiring a minimum 100 amp service disconnect for a single family dwelling. This suggest to me that 60 amp residential services were still allowed in 1996. Did I miss something?


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    My 1999 NEC , 230-70(c) shows a change from the 1996, requiring a minimum 100 amp service disconnect for a single family dwelling. This suggest to me that 60 amp residential services were still allowed in 1996. Did I miss something?
    John,

    Starting with the 1959 NEC, the following has been applicable with only subtle changes (the following is from the 1996 NEC):

    - 230-79. Rating of Disconnect. (underlining is mine)
    - - The service disconnecting means shall have a rating not less than the load to be carried, determined in accordance with Article 220. In no case shall the rating be lower than specified in (a), (b), (c), or (d) below.
    - - - (a) One-Circuit Installation. For installations to supply only limited loads of a single branch circuit, the service disconnecting means shall have a rating of not less than 15 amperes.
    - - - (b) Two-Circuit Installations. For installations consisting of not more than two 2-wire branch circuits, the service disconnecting means shall have a rating of not less than 30 amperes.
    - - - (c) One-Family Dwelling. For a one-family dwelling, the service disconnecting means shall have a rating of not less than 100 amperes, 3-wire under either of the following conditions: (1) where the initial computed load is 10 kVA or more, or (2) where the initial installation consists of six or more 2-wire branch circuits.
    - - - (d) All Others. For all other installations, the service disconnecting means shall have a rating of not less than 60 amperes.

    That, (C) above, pretty much included all dwelling units.

    In the 1999 NEC, the change was made to:

    -230-79. Rating of Service Disconnecting Means (underlining is mine)
    - The service disconnecting means shall have a rating not less than the load to be carried, determined in accordance with Article 220. In no case shall the rating be lower than specified in (a), (b), (c), or (d).
    - - (a) One-Circuit Installation. For installations to supply only limited loads of a single branch circuit, the service disconnecting means shall have a rating of not less than 15 amperes.
    - - (b) Two-Circuit Installations. For installations consisting of not more than two 2-wire branch circuits, the service disconnecting means shall have a rating of not less than 30 amperes.
    - - (c) One-Family Dwelling. For a one-family dwelling, the service disconnecting means shall have a rating of not less than 100 amperes, 3-wire.

    I can only guess that many electricians were trying to cram an entire house unto five circuits, and have an initial load of just under 10 Kw that those conditions were dropped and then it was, plain and simply, 100 amp minimum.

    One would be hard pressed to have a adequately wire a house with only 5 2-wire circuits. At least in my opinion.

    Thus, the 100 amp requirement goes back to 1959, it was 60 amps in 1956.

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  17. #17
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    This was on my inspection today. standing on the deck you can just put your hand up and touch the service. And this was all new. new panel and mast. staning on the this deck the roof overhangs is only at 6' the top of the mast was around 7' 6"

    Best

    Ron

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  18. #18
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    Do you have to step up onto the deck from the house?

    It looks like it is higher than what you are saying.

    10' to service conductors from the deck.


  19. #19
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    Do you have to step up onto the deck from the house?

    It looks like it is higher than what you are saying.

    10' to service conductors from the deck.
    I'm 6'1" standing on the deck I can reach the wires no problem.

    Best

    Ron


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    And this was all new. new panel and mast. staning on the this deck the roof overhangs is only at 6' the top of the mast was around 7' 6"
    .

    Ron,

    Someone forgot about this requirement:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    10' to service conductors from the deck.
    .

    Not sure the bottom of that drip loop is even 18" above the roof as required too.

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  21. #21
    John Steinke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    I'll have to do a bit more digging.

    Why? Well, first, because I am aware of plenty of fuse boxes being installed on new housing into the mid-60's .... even in "strong code" areas such as Chicago.

    Then there is the matter of duplexes, condominiums, and apartments. Plenty of those have been wired, well into the 90's, with the individual service to each unit being less than 100 amps. Perhaps this is were a change was made; as I said, I'll have to look some more.

    As for "adequacy" .... well, I suppose you wouldn't be surprised to find that I live quite comforatble with three 15 amp circuits, on a 120v 30 amp service. (Take away the wall heater in the bath, and there's only two used in daily life). Whether the code folks have crossed over into design issues is another discussion, for another forum.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    As for "adequacy" .... well, I suppose you wouldn't be surprised to find that I live quite comforatble with three 15 amp circuits, on a 120v 30 amp service. (Take away the wall heater in the bath, and there's only two used in daily life).

    I've only got two 15 amps circuits too ... to my garage ... and two more to ... my office ...

    Heck, our motor home has a 50 amp service, so I have a 50 amp circuit dedicated for the receptacle for it.

    You actually live ... comfortably and adequately ... on a *120 volt* *30 amp* service?

    You would have to define "comfortably and adequately" then, because a 120 volt 30 amp service does not meet my acceptance of those words.

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  23. #23
    JORY LANNES's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    The question seems to be about old wiring. In the Chicago area we see service panel up grades to 50 year old wiring. The wiring is cloth and rubber. I take off switch and duplex plates and look at the wire. In most cases the wire is old and the insulation brittle. I call it out in my report


  24. #24
    John Steinke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Connection

    "Comfortably and adequately" in the way that I have enough room for everything I do. A bedroom, a common room, a real kitchen, and a bathroom. I have every appliance I can put to use - having parted with some that just were not needed, and every modern convenience (at least, those invented before the I-pod).

    Range, hot water, and primary heat are supplied by gas. The furnace is convection only. Nevada may be desert, but I've never lived with AC ... even when living in Chicago and St. Louis. Didn't even use the portable swamp cooler last summer.

    My biggest power hog, accounting for about half of my electric bill, is my tiny indoor pond. Then, in descending order, are my computer, my fridge, and my Mr. Coffee. I have enough lighting available to match summer outdoor light levels if I so desire. Eight years, and I have yet to pop a breaker / blow a fuse. Nor are there signs of heat damage to the 1940 Romex, not even at the light sockets.

    Still, even with my modest lifestyle, I am all too aware of the limitations of older homes. Even in my short time, I have seen fit to make a number of changes ... and have some others in the works.

    Without hijacking this thread, this house was built with one receptacle - space for one plug - in the kitchen. You could have a fridge, or a toaster, but not both. The main room had one duplex, half switched ... enough for a light and a radio, perhaps. For some reason, the bedroom has three duplex receptacles. The only receptacle in the bath was the one in the base of the light over the sink. I suspect that the bedroom was originally part of the main room, with the partition added later; this would put the receptacles in conformance with 12 ft spacing.

    Then again, I did buy my first TV in 2001


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