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  1. #1
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    Default Weathering on Service Entrance Cables

    A common condition I see on many houses is weathering on the insulation jacket of the service entrance cables that enter and exit the meter box. I'm not talking splits and cracks on the jacket that expose the interior cables and wrappings. Just general weathering from exposure to the sun.

    From a code and proper/acceptable repair standpoint, is it ever permissible or allowed to wrap or seal a service entrance cable in lieu of full scale replacement?

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  2. #2
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    Mar 2009
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    Colorado Front Range
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    Default Re: Weathering on Service Entrance Cables

    If the cable jacket is weathered but hasn't failed there's no reason to do anything to it. The jacket is designed to be permanantly installed in exposed locations and be functional even if it does look weathered.

    There are materials available to repair minor damage to the sheath. Detailing them is an exercise in futility because unless you are there to watch it's unlikely you will know if the appropriate materials were used and properly applied. As a point of reference, 3M brand type 2234 tape is one material specifically recommended for SE cable but other tapes and tape with overcoating are also OK.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Weathering on Service Entrance Cables

    If the service entrance conductors look like the first photo, then they don't have much life left and will need replacement in the near future.

    If the service drop looks like the second photo, then I defer to the utility company.

    If the SEC looks like the third photo, then a licensed electrical contractor should replace the service entrance cables.

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    Last edited by Gunnar Alquist; 05-13-2009 at 11:58 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Weathering on Service Entrance Cables

    Gunnar,

    The cause of that damage in each of those photos is one cause - the lack of use of the proper conductor rating for the location.

    Those should all have been "sunlight resistant" and most likely were not when they were installed.

    Years ago I found that the utility FPL (Florida Power and Light) would install overhead service drops of conductors which were NOT sunlight resistant, and would later come back and replace them due to the insulation having deteriorated for lack of being sunlight resistant.

    Later on I found that FPL had begun using sunlight resistant conductor as they should have been using all along - and those overhead service drop conductors were lasting A LOT longer.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Weathering on Service Entrance Cables

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Gunnar,

    The cause of that damage in each of those photos is one cause - the lack of use of the proper conductor rating for the location.

    Those should all have been "sunlight resistant" and most likely were not when they were installed.

    Years ago I found that the utility FPL (Florida Power and Light) would install overhead service drops of conductors which were NOT sunlight resistant, and would later come back and replace them due to the insulation having deteriorated for lack of being sunlight resistant.

    Later on I found that FPL had begun using sunlight resistant conductor as they should have been using all along - and those overhead service drop conductors were lasting A LOT longer.
    Jerry,

    Even after 40 years, the sunlight resistant insulation should still be in good shape? I figured that these were just old and worn out. If this is the case, then no one around here uses sunlight resistant, because I find the worn and weathered insulation quite frequently.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Weathering on Service Entrance Cables

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Even after 40 years, the sunlight resistant insulation should still be in good shape? I figured that these were just old and worn out. If this is the case, then no one around here uses sunlight resistant, because I find the worn and weathered insulation quite frequently.

    After 40 years, possibly not, but at 40 years they were MOST LIKELY NOT sunlight resistant in the first place.

    That damage, almost like cubical rot if it were wood, is what the damage and deterioration caused by sunlight looks like (at least all that I've seen), so I made the presumption that was the cause (and I still think I am correct).

    The only way to know for sure is to try to find some not deteriorated and see what it is rated, but I'm guessing you will not find "sunlight resistant" on it.

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Weathering on Service Entrance Cables

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    After 40 years, possibly not, but at 40 years they were MOST LIKELY NOT sunlight resistant in the first place.

    That damage, almost like cubical rot if it were wood, is what the damage and deterioration caused by sunlight looks like (at least all that I've seen), so I made the presumption that was the cause (and I still think I am correct).

    The only way to know for sure is to try to find some not deteriorated and see what it is rated, but I'm guessing you will not find "sunlight resistant" on it.
    I figured it was UV damage. But, since I am not sure, I just inform and make my recommendations.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Weathering on Service Entrance Cables

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I figured it was UV damage. But, since I am not sure, I just inform and make my recommendations.
    I've been telling my clients that the damage is done by garden gnomes and lawn jockeys. Looks like I'm a little off base .


  9. #9
    Ralph Smith's Avatar
    Ralph Smith Guest

    Default Re: Weathering on Service Entrance Cables

    Answer to the question: No. Replacement is the only option recommended.


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