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  1. #1
    Anthony Kiefer's Avatar
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    Default Electrical Feeder Cable

    Every once in a while I find something that doesn't look right, but I can't find a referance in any of my literature describing it. I had underground service to the house. The SE cable was all enclosed to the meter and to an attached switch panel with a 200 amp breaker. This switch panel was outside because the feeder to the main panel ran through the crawl space. I could not read any markings on the feeder line, but it was sheathed aluminum lead like what is used for SE. Three feet of line was exposed between the crawl space wall and the main panel in the basement which I wrote up for line not protected from physical damage. The question I have is that where this line entered the house through the band board there is a metal heat duct and a black pipe gas line. These are close between the band board and the starter joist. The feeder is tightly S-wraped over the heat duct and under the gas line. It is an insulated sheathed cable. Is this acceptable installation and if not where is it addressed? It's never like the book - is it? Thanks for your help.
    Anthony

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  2. #2
    Fred Warner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electrical Feeder Cable

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Kiefer View Post
    Every once in a while I find something that doesn't look right, but I can't find a referance in any of my literature describing it. I had underground service to the house. The SE cable was all enclosed to the meter and to an attached switch panel with a 200 amp breaker. This switch panel was outside because the feeder to the main panel ran through the crawl space. I could not read any markings on the feeder line, but it was sheathed aluminum lead like what is used for SE. Three feet of line was exposed between the crawl space wall and the main panel in the basement which I wrote up for line not protected from physical damage. The question I have is that where this line entered the house through the band board there is a metal heat duct and a black pipe gas line. These are close between the band board and the starter joist. The feeder is tightly S-wraped over the heat duct and under the gas line. It is an insulated sheathed cable. Is this acceptable installation and if not where is it addressed? It's never like the book - is it? Thanks for your help.
    Anthony
    No one else has taken this post on yet, so I'll give it a try by at least responding.

    The first point I will make is that it's important to "paint the picture" as acurately as you can and this is best done by using proper definitions.
    "I had underground service to the house" can be open to a lot of different interpretations. One is left to assume that the intent was to describe the service lateral as being buried, but it's not clear whether the lateral is direct buried or in conduit or just emerges from the ground in either a rigid or PVC schedule 40 or 80 conduit.

    "The SE cable was all enclosed to the meter..." I have to assume you meant in a conduit, but then I wonder why SE cable (emphasis on cable) was installed in a conduit...? for mechanical protection..?
    ".....and to an attached switch panel with a 200 amp breaker." Is this enclosure attached to the metering enclosure? If so, I then can assume that the service disconnect is a part of the metering enclosure and a 4-wire feeder assembly will travel from here to the remote panelboard inside, and that the grounding electrode system will originate from the service equipment on the exterior of the dwelling.

    The feeder assembly cable entering the box-sill into the crawl space would require additional protection if the AHJ ruled that it was "subject to damage", but this seems unlikely if I get the right picture.

    As far as the heating duct is concerned, I would suggest that direct contact might create a condition where vibration might wear the duct through the jacket of the SER over time. I doubt that the heat of the duct would deteriorate the insulation or jacket of the cable.

    I doubt there is any concern for close proximity to a gas pipe either, unless it's CSST.
    But if the cable is bent to an extreme shape to avoid these other systems, then I would be concerned.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Electrical Feeder Cable

    Fred,

    If you are like me, sometimes you need to make the time to re-read the post a few times to understand what you think is being said.

    That's where I was, I had read it twice and still not quite grasped what was being said, and because yesterday was a busy afternoon and evening, had not taken the time to re-read it again.

    You've raised some of the same things I was questioning and trying to fill in the blanks on.

    Your break down of it has allowed me to understand it better. Thank you.


    Anthony Kiefer said: I had underground service to the house.
    Jerry: As I understand that, there is a riser coming up out of the ground at the structure and the ground mounted/pole mounted transformer is 'back there' somewhere.

    Anthony: The SE cable
    Jerry: You mean the service entrance lateral, not SE cable per se as one would not normally run SE cable underground.

    Anthony: was all enclosed to the meter
    Jerry: The service laterals were enclosed in conduit. (Fred, sch 40 is not allowed for that use, yes, used quite frequently for that, but not allowed for that use.)

    Anthony: and to an attached switch panel with a 200 amp breaker.
    Jerry: Like Fred, I am thinking this is a combination enclosure, meter/service equipment, with a 200 amp main.

    Anthony: This switch panel was outside because the feeder to the main panel ran through the crawl space.
    Jerry: From that service equipment a feeder cable ran through the crawl space to the panel in the house.

    Anthony: I could not read any markings on the feeder line, but it was sheathed aluminum lead like what is used for SE. Three feet of line was exposed between the crawl space wall and the main panel in the basement which I wrote up for line not protected from physical damage.
    Jerry: This still confuses me: the feeder cable (of some type) was run down the wall, turned into the crawl space, ran 3 feet, then went into the basement where the panel was? I'm having a hard time envisioning a basement wall which does not align with the wall above, but is set back three feet. Be that as it may, though, the issue being referred to is, I think, the exposed feeder cable on the wall and protection from physical damage. I would prefer it to be in conduit for protection, but many AHJ allow it exposed like that as long as it is against the wall and not, in their opinion, subject to physical damage.

    Anthony: The question I have is that where this line entered the house through the band board there is a metal heat duct and a black pipe gas line. These are close between the band board and the starter joist. The feeder is tightly S-wraped over the heat duct and under the gas line.
    Jerry: The question is, I think, regarding the "tightly S-wraped" part. If so, that sounds like the cable is bent too sharply. Typically, take the outside diameter of the cable, say 1-1/2", then 5 times that equals 7-1/2" and that become the inner edge radius. *Not the diameter* of the bend, but *the radius* of the bend. A 7-1/2" radius bend is not what I would described as "tightly S-wraped", so I am thinking it is bent *WAY* too sharply.

    Anthony: It is an insulated sheathed cable. Is this acceptable installation and if not where is it addressed?
    Jerry: From what I am envisioning of what you are describing, no, it is not an acceptable installation.

    Fred brings up a good point about the vibration from the duct wearing through the insulation of the cable. Thus, when the cable is re-routed to avoid those improper bends, that should be taken into consideration.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Anthony Kiefer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electrical Feeder Cable

    Jerry,
    Thanks for the reply. To clear up my question a little bit more - the feeder entered the house at the band board, made the tight S-curve around the heat duct and gas line that ran parallel with the band board and the first joist, ran through 25' of crawl space suspended under the joists, and then had a three foot piece (not along a wall) extended openly to the main panel fastened to a stud wall under construction in the basement. I did see the bend radius restrictions in the NEC, and I knew the 3' of suspended and open cable was not protected, which is enough for writiing it up for changes to be made. However, Is there something in the NEC or the National Fuel Gas Code that addresses electric line in contact with gas lines? In many of the older homes that I inspect, I almost always find at least one piece of Romex or older line draped across a gas line. I never list the codes in my reports, but I like to refer to them for accurate information.
    Anthony


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    Default Re: Electrical Feeder Cable

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Kiefer View Post
    To clear up my question a little bit more - the feeder entered the house at the band board, made the tight S-curve around the heat duct and gas line that ran parallel with the band board and the first joist, ran through 25' of crawl space suspended under the joists,
    Anthony,

    Thank you for clarifying that, I follow that scenario.

    Now, though, not to "muddy this up" with something else, but ... was that crawl space wet, dry, or various degrees of moisture? Just food for thought and no need to get into it here, there is already another thread going on about that specific issue.

    and then had a three foot piece (not along a wall) extended openly to the main panel fastened to a stud wall under construction in the basement.
    Okay, yes, that would need protection from physical damage because some could easily either use that as a clothesline, or clothesline themselves walking past it (depending on its height above the floor, of course).

    Let's presume it is some type of SE cable and has a 4 conductor construction (2 hots, 1 neutral, 1 grounding). That would be permissible to support at intervals of 4-1/2 feet, meaning is is allowed to droop for the 3 foot distance you are seeing, however, we still get back to: how high is it and can someone physically damage it, meaning basically is it where it is likely to get touched, handled, or used for anything other than looking at it and saying 'My, my, what a pretty wire that is.'

    However, Is there something in the NEC or the National Fuel Gas Code that addresses electric line in contact with gas lines? In many of the older homes that I inspect, I almost always find at least one piece of Romex or older line draped across a gas line. I never list the codes in my reports, but I like to refer to them for accurate information.[/quote]

    Only in that a gas line *is not* a proper support for that cable. Neither is duct work, as seen here in the NEC: (underlining and bold are mine)
    - 334.30 Securing and Supporting.
    - - Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be supported and secured by staples, cable ties, straps, hangers, or similar fittings designed and installed so as not to damage the cable, at intervals not exceeding 1.4 m (4 ft) and within 300 mm (12 in.) of every outlet box, junction box, cabinet, or fitting. Flat cables shall not be stapled on edge.
    - - Sections of cable protected from physical damage by raceway shall not be required to be secured within the raceway.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Electrical Feeder Cable

    Jerry,

    I am not sure why you posted the code article for non-metallic cable when you referenced proper supporting methods. SE cable is not covered be 334, it is in article 338.

    To try and apply the specific articles like 334 to another wiring method like SE or MC would be an an improper application.


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    Default Re: Electrical Feeder Cable

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Jerry,

    I am not sure why you posted the code article for non-metallic cable when you referenced proper supporting methods. SE cable is not covered be 334, it is in article 338.

    To try and apply the specific articles like 334 to another wiring method like SE or MC would be an an improper application.

    Jim,

    Sure glad it was you who responded with that post and not someone who is always nice ... because it makes it real easy to say ... READ THE CODE!

    See how easy that was? Go back and do what you should have done at first, and guess what you will find? Want me to give you some hints, as Watson is becoming fond of saying?

    Jim, are you ever going to love this.

    From the 2008 NEC. (bold, red, large text is mine )
    - ARTICLE 338 Service-Entrance Cable: Types SE and USE
    - - 338.10 Uses Permitted.
    - - - (A) Service-Entrance Conductors. Service-entrance cable shall be permitted to be used as service-entrance conductors and shall be installed in accordance with 230.6, 230.7, and Parts II, III, and IV of Article 230.
    - - - (B) Branch Circuits or Feeders.
    - - - - (1) Grounded Conductor Insulated. Type SE service-entrance cables shall be permitted in wiring systems where all of the circuit conductors of the cable are of the thermoset or thermoplastic type.
    - - - - (2) Grounded Conductor Not Insulated. Type SE service-entrance cable shall be permitted for use where the insulated conductors are used for circuit wiring and the uninsulated conductor is used only for equipment grounding purposes.
    - - - - - Exception: Uninsulated conductors shall be permitted as a grounded conductor in accordance with 250.32 and 250.140 where the uninsulated grounded conductor of the cable originates in service equipment, and 225.30 through 225.40.
    - - - - (3) Temperature Limitations. Type SE service-entrance cable used to supply appliances shall not be subject to conductor temperatures in excess of the temperature specified for the type of insulation involved.
    - - - - (4) Installation Methods for Branch Circuits and Feeders.
    - - - - - (a) Interior Installations. In addition to the provisions of this article, Type SE service-entrance cable used for interior wiring shall comply with the installation requirements of Part II of Article 334.
    - - - - - - FPN: See 310.10 for temperature limitation of conductors.
    - - - - - (b) Exterior Installations. In addition to the provisions of this article, service-entrance cable used for feeders or branch circuits, where installed as exterior wiring, shall be installed in accordance with Part I of Article 225. The cable shall be supported in accordance with 334.30. Type USE cable installed as underground feeder and branch circuit cable shall comply with Part II of Article 340.

    Now, Jim, can you by any chance hazard a guess as to what Article 334 addresses?

    Yep, non-metallic cable!

    Jim, you really, really, really ought to read the code first, THEN post your questions, but, you are so in the habit of posting a questioning response at every one of my posts that you just could not help yourself and could not wait to post one more, could you?



    Jimmy baby, you have made my day! See, it does not take much to make me happy. And it couldn't have been a better man to have done it, ... well ... okay, maybe it could have, but you will do. Cheers to you!

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
    Fred Warner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electrical Feeder Cable

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Jerry,

    I am not sure why you posted the code article for non-metallic cable when you referenced proper supporting methods. SE cable is not covered be 334, it is in article 338.

    To try and apply the specific articles like 334 to another wiring method like SE or MC would be an an improper application.
    Hi Jim. Take a look at 90.3 to note how the chapters apply generally and intermix. Also note the figure which shows when chapters and articles are not permitted to interrelate.


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    Default Re: Electrical Feeder Cable

    Good catch Jerry,

    See you have posted so much irrelevant stuff here and distorted other code article applications that I thought that this was just one more example from you.

    I stand enlightened.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Electrical Feeder Cable

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Good catch Jerry,

    See you have posted so much irrelevant stuff here and distorted other code article applications that I thought that this was just one more example from you.

    I stand enlightened.

    Jim,

    Thank you for that, but ... all it really means is that you need to pay more attention and read what the code says and what I say ... I really am not that far off most of the time.

    However, thank you for that acknowledgment.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Electrical Feeder Cable




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