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  1. #1
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    Default service mast - this can't be right?!

    OK, I admittedly know very little about good electrical workmanship. But this just seems wrong. Am I right? Is it unsafe, or just crap work, or neither?

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Looks just like this one I posted a few months ago. Wire nuts are never a good sign on a service entrance splice. New panel is my guess, No permits, Utility did not make the wire nut splice.

    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...onnection.html

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Not only was this connection not done by the utility, you cannot simply call this out in your report. You have to contact the local authority and the utility to have this connection done properly. You are aware of an unlawful utility connection, and you could be held criminally liable, not to mention civilly liable, if this problem is not reported.


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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    the connections are doubled up as in done once by the power company and once again by a diy er. you need to call it in. a real licenced sparkie would never do something like that and risk getting caught. the power company is responible for the power to the meter box and retains the rights to the wires etc to that point. there is no breakers or any safety devices on that side of the power side. you dealing with live power and if shorted out could blow the transformer or cause possible house fires. and the home owner would be liable because this was not allowed by the power company. they don't like diy playin with thier lines ever...


  5. #5
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Yes to answer your question Kristi. The service connection is not correct. There are no drip loops and wire nuts used to make the connection here is improper. Good catch.


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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    OK, I admittedly know very little about good electrical workmanship. But this just seems wrong. Am I right? Is it unsafe, or just crap work, or neither?

    Good catch.

    I would agree with your first two suppositions.

    Doesn't it appear that the conductors do not even exit via the face of the weatherhead?

    The seem to be emanating from behind such.

    Besides the lack of drip loops, the wire nuts appear to be Blue.

    They could very well be Ideal or Buchanan Wing twist.

    I'm not certain but I beleive that all Blue wire nuts would have a similar capacity regardless of manufacturer.

    The above denoted maximum capacity would be two #6 copper conductors.

    NEC Table 310-16 would reflect an ampacity of 75A at best.

    Service should be a minimum of 100A.

    The wires depicted certainly appear to be larger gauge than #6.

    Then again, look where the last post speculating on wire size went.

    Last edited by Richard D. Fornataro; 11-18-2011 at 07:31 AM. Reason: grammer

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Since the conductors do not enter the face of the weather head, it may be that the electricity meter is being bypassed. If it is, it may be specially necessary to check carefully for moisture damage from prior indoor plant cultivation, lamps, hydroponic arrangements, makeshift exhaust ducts, etc. Plus of course it increases the probability there will be other electrical hazards etc.


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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    I think it is just lack of contrast between the black insulator and the black conductors that gives the appearance that the conductors are not in the weatherhead. The white tape wrap also exaggerates the contrast. I think there is plenty of drip loop if my theory is correct. A different angle on the pic could confirm this.

    Snip a few strands off and you can make the blue wire nuts fit. Is there a chance that this is a temporary connection until the power company makes the final connections? Enough to provide power to the house while waiting.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    ...indoor plant cultivation, lamps, hydroponic arrangements, makeshift exhaust ducts, etc
    Hee hee. The homeowner is a sweet little old lady about 75, lived there 30 years...but you never know!

    I'm glad I caught this for safety reasons. I look at service masts maybe 1/4 of the time (it's not normally part of our insurance surveys), but now I'll look at all of them. Never expected to find a problem! Thank you all for the comments and advice about reporting it. That lowest wire nut is especially worrying, seems like water could easily get under the tape and work its way to the bare wire.

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    "Hee hee. The homeowner is a sweet little old lady about 75, lived there 30 years...but you never know!" Quote by Kristi

    She might be old but even old people have been known to smoke too! she could have kids or grandkids who played with the wires.
    the wires are not run tight so the needed flex might be enought to not worry about for the drip loop. let the power company decide.
    Yes I agree by looking at the pic again the wires are not going into the mast. from what we can see
    yes it could be someone in the attic running a grow op or in the basement or garage and said granma I will cover the power bill. Is the power going thru the meter? or just some of it?
    I don't think granny did the wiring but someone did who shouldn't have


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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    She might be old but even old people have been known to smoke too!
    Don't I know it! I happen to know a 75-y.o. woman who does. It ain't just for the young 'uns.

    Just stopped by her house (she only lives a few blocks from me). The wires do go into the mast. She said there have been elec. co. people out twice in the last couple months. Weird. I told her to call them again. I wouldn't think the drip loop is so much of a problem here as the fact that the lowest points are the funky tape-wrapped splices, with nice little cups (wire nuts) at the bottom. I don't trust them to keep moisture out. I left a card with her, she said she'd keep me apprised of the situation.

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard D. Fornataro View Post
    Doesn't it appear that the conductors do not even exit via the face of the weatherhead?
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Norman View Post
    Since the conductors do not enter the face of the weather head,
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I think it is just lack of contrast between the black insulator and the black conductors that gives the appearance that the conductors are not in the weatherhead.

    I zoomed in and it does appear that the conductors are properly exiting the weather head (i.e. through openings).

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Yes, they certainly do. Saw it with my own eyes, just called it the wrong thing, mast instead of weatherhead. Oy vey, the terminology alone is a beyond me at this point, not to mention the acronyms.

    Guess the old lady isn't lighting up a spliff after all (har har, as if the service entrance cables really have anything to do with that!)

    Oh, speaking of masts, yesterday I saw a ground bonded to a service mast (there was a metal ground stake right there, don't know why they didn't use it). Is that acceptible practice? (My guess is no.)

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  14. #14
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    Default Holy crap Batman!

    And that one wire nut is inverted at the bottom of the "drip loop". If the wire nut is full of water and the conductors are wet you could have a full electrified surface conductor just waiting to electrocute the pants off someone!


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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Oh, speaking of masts, yesterday I saw a ground bonded to a service mast (there was a metal ground stake right there, don't know why they didn't use it). Is that acceptible practice? (My guess is no.)
    No, the ground is required to go to ... ... "ground" ... which is why they call it "ground".

    The mast should be "grounded" to the meter can by virtue of it being metal and being screwed into a metal hub on the metal meter can, and the "grounded" conductor (white neutral) inside the meter can terminates in a terminal is connected (bonded) to the meter can, and which is also connected to (supposed to be connected to) the grounded conductor which goes to the service equipment, and at that point the "ground" is made to the service equipment enclosure and the grounded neutral (it is usually in the service equipment so the inspector can see the grounding connection, some places allow that connection to be made in the meter can).

    That "ground" wire is referred to as the "grounding electrode conductor" (or "GEC") as it goes down to the grounding electrode system, such as ground rods, etc.

    Think of "ground" as "earth", the systems are "grounded to" (connected to) "earth" at the service.

    From your description, the ground path is now back through the overhead service through the neutral conductor, to the transformer, and down to earth at the pole - this is not good.

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    I blew up the mast head several times. Those conductors appear to be entering the head between the perforated face plate and the metal head and not through the holes of the face plate. The neutral white striping would be visible in the photo going into the hole.

    Either way the hole things a mess and not certainly amateurish.

    Last edited by Raymond Wand; 11-18-2011 at 05:42 PM.

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Awesome! I'm two for two. I bet 95% of Mueller field reps wouldn't have caught either of those. I was born for better things, I tells ya. One day I, too, may be an HI.

    Thanks for the great, detailed explanation. I love this forum!

    Ach, this leads me to another question (I am insatiably curious!). Does the grounding electrode have to extend a particular distance into the earth? I wonder this because I'm thinking, what happens when the earth is very dry...wouldn't that limit its ability to conduct electricity? Or is that not a factor?

    (Thank you all for putting up with my ignorance! You're very patient with me.)

    And that one wire nut is inverted at the bottom of the "drip loop". If the wire nut is full of water and the conductors are wet you could have a full electrified surface conductor just waiting to electrocute the pants off someone!
    Not to mention the potential for corrosion, and eventual "frying" of the connector...if I understand these things correctly.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    This is a dangerous and hazardous condiiton that should be reported, both on your insurance survey, the occupant, the home owner (if not same), the local authority having jurisdiction, and the utility.

    See my responding post to you on another topic discussion where you raised some questions here (clickable link): http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...tml#post182788

    I had read several of your posts on this and the other topic discussion referenced and another on service masts, and somewhat cross-posted a response to you there.

    When the utility transformer's protection kicks the pictured is still subject to energy on the secondary side from a fault.

    Those cables will thrash and those wire nuts will blow apart/off.

    It is a property safety and a life safety issue. Most are max 1K-5K A; utility side usually in the range 10K-22K, although some areas 7.5K, 5.6K, it depends.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber;182787
    [FONT=Times New Roman

    [/FONT]Ach, this leads me to another question (I am insatiably curious!). Does the grounding electrode have to extend a particular distance into the earth? I wonder this because I'm thinking, what happens when the earth is very dry...wouldn't that limit its ability to conduct electricity? Or is that not a factor?
    There should be more than one "electrode" comprising a grounding electrode system for a residence. Some may be "made" some "exist". There are different types of electrodes, example, plates, rings, rods, water service pipe, concrete encased electrodes, etc. Different requrements for each, including "contact with earth", and overall requirements for the resistance = rarely is there a solitary "rod" or "pipe" type electrode which has a resistance less than or equal to 25 ohms and there is no other electrode present (when present must be incorporated into the GE system) in a single family home type residence.

    For a "standard" type rod or "made" electrode there are minimum specifications for same to be listed; however, to be sufficiently effective the minimum oftentimes must be supplemented. Soil conditions, proximity, distance, are all factors which come into "play" when designing and testing a sufficient grounding electrode system. (note: most are not tested (i.e. "megged") unless there are other promblematic conditions or troubleshooting, complaints, etc. (i.e. substation nearby, pipelines, high voltage lines, etc.).

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 11-18-2011 at 06:21 PM.

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Ach, this leads me to another question (I am insatiably curious!). Does the grounding electrode have to extend a particular distance into the earth?
    Yes, and as Watson included in his post, the distance of earth contact varies.

    *IF* there is a metal underground water pipe, and there is at least 10 feet or more in contact with earth, then it may be used as a grounding electrode ... I say "may be used", if it is present, it is required to be used and bonded to any and all other grounding electrodes present.

    A ground rod (and pipe if the pipe meets the requirements) must be at least 8 feet long and in contact with earth.

    The above are just two common grounding electrodes you may find.

    I wonder this because I'm thinking, what happens when the earth is very dry...wouldn't that limit its ability to conduct electricity? Or is that not a factor?
    Yes it does affect the grounding electrodes ability to conduct electricity, but one must remember the reason for the grounding electrode system, it is there to conduct a lightning strike to earth as quickly as possible, and a lightning strike contains a lot of instantaneous energy and then it is gone.

    Let's say you only have one ground rod and it has greater than 25 ohms to ground, the solution is to install another ground rod *at least* 6 feet away ... and there is no requirement to measure the resistance of the two ground rods as testing has shown that if two ground rods does not solve the resistance problem, a third, fourth, fifth ground rod will not make much difference either.

    Back to the lightning strike - the grounding electrode system is there to dissipate that "poof" of energy, then the energy is gone. The grounding electrode system is not there to carry current for any reason, it is not there to help clear a fault, it is there to help reduce the damage from a lightning strike, that's it ... "Poof" ... and the lightning strike is gone.

    Keep in mind that the above is a very limited list of grounding electrodes - the ones you might be able to see, there are other grounding electrodes and their installation is such that you will likely not be able to see them.

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Usually this kind of stupidity won't happen because the person doing this will use an aluminum ladder for this type of electrical work. You didn't trip over a body at the bottom of "that thar electrical hook-em-up" did you?


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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Kristi the other thing about grounding rods is they are pounded into the ground and as to how long and deep they are generally are know to the installer. the average person is not going put one up to see how long it is. also if it is in question be it corrosion or otherwise most times a new one is installed and the old one left in there.

    the other thing is it looks like a copper rod but generally it is a copper coated rod as an actual copper rod is very expensive and heavy. just think if theives knew that they could steal a solid copper rod to take to the scrap yard there would be tons gone there.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    OK, I admittedly know very little about good electrical workmanship. But this just seems wrong. Am I right? Is it unsafe, or just crap work, or neither?
    Welcome to the forum

    Pat yourself on the back. Your looking after your customers safety no matter if it isn't something you normally would inspect. You may not have a great deal of knowledge yet but you have common sense which is a prerequisite to understanding electrical work.

    Everyone starts somewhere so just stay in that learning mode and you will eventually get there.

    Terminology is important it takes time and lots of questions but it makes you better at describing a situation so others with more knowledge can understand what your wanting to say.

    As you can see the service entrance and all the hardware and connections involves a great deal of understanding and knowledge of the requirements. The list is long. Start by getting your utility guide for overhead and lateral connections from your local power company(s). Many times you can view this guide online. It will show required clearances, hardware requirements, meter requirements and so forth. May not be required in your particular job but it will certainly help you in understanding if something is right or wrong when you see it.

    You will learn a lot here on this forum. I certainly have and that will hold true no matter your experience level. There are some sharp professionals here , HI's, AHJ's, electricians, building inspectors, engineers etc..with a wide range of knowledge in the building and electrical trades that post here , too many to list.

    Professional arguments occur often on this forum and some will be very frank, and at times we get our britches in a bunch and appear (sometimes are) rude to each other and posters. Overtime you will learn when to move on to the next topic and what individuals to ignore...... .

    Lastly .. attaching a good picture in your post was GREAT . We love pictures here.


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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Roger, thank you very much for your kind words and advice! I do indeed learn a lot from this forum, and overall have been very impressed with the expertise of the members, their generosity in sharing their knowledge, and the civilized debate that goes on here. Usually members can disagree without getting personal, but I know there will always be a certain amount of not-so-civilized debate in any forum...people are people, wherever you go!

    Start by getting your utility guide for overhead and lateral connections from your local power company(s).
    Great advice!

    I find one of the best things about a forum like this is that it provides a direction for further learning. I read electrical posts and get a general idea that is the basis for more research to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. And I can choose which areas I want to concentrate on. One member suggested I read the whole NEC, but much of that is material I would never use in my current job. There are specifics and depth here that I would never find in the books I have about electricity and wiring.

    (Photos - I should have included a photo of the ground wire attached to the mast, but didn't even think of it! FWIW, here it is now, better late than never.)

    ...the other thing is it looks like a copper rod but generally it is a copper coated rod as an actual copper rod is very expensive and heavy.
    Hee hee, I have to admit, when I first started working with copper as a sculptor I bought one of these, not knowing it was plated - no wonder it was such a bargain!

    You didn't trip over a body at the bottom of "that thar electrical hook-em-up" did you?
    Must be buried in the compost pile.

    Jerry, thank you once again for the excellect explanation! I didn't know the grounding system was specifically in case of lightning strikes. I did know about grounding using water pipes, but not that duplication of the ground was part of the system.

    And thank you, too, Mr. Watson, for the valuable information. I will have to research the rings and plates you refer to. It makes sense that there must be duplication when a single "electrode" has greater than 25 ohms resistance (which I gather is a cutoff point), and that multiple factors come into play.

    You all are wonderful! I appreciate your help so very much.

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  24. #24
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    The additional picture shows more that is wrong. Obviously the grounding electrode driven in the window well should be in use. That location is not normally chosen but none the less there should be a grounding electrode conductor clamped to it.

    It would appear that there is a utility meter somewhere above the phone interface shown in your picture. The 'ground' wire your showing is for the phone service not the electrical service. Looks like the individual or individuals who made the 'changes' to the service entrance chose PVC from the meter to the weatherhead and metal conduit from the meter to the interior panel. The metal pipe is likely to be original. The pvc may or may not be allowed ...it depends.

    Is the owner willing to tell you who worked on her homes electrical system?

    At any rate the blue wire nut connections are going to fail ... it's just a matter of when ..but probably sooner than later. If the connection to the white spiral taped wire fails then things could get scary.

    The owner needs to have this whole installation redone. It's pretty lousy work by someone who didn't know much. Typically when I see this type work it ends up being a family member who thinks he understands electrical systems.

    This much I know .. this work was done without a permit or anyone of authority inspecting the installation. Its going to fail any inspection. The person or persons doing this work are lucky to be living if they made those connections while the service was hot.

    Anyway you should contact the building authority for the city or county and see if they will come out and discuss the installation with the owner.

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 12-03-2011 at 12:04 PM.

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    The SEC problem and the grounding issue are at different houses. The old lady with the wire nuts lives a few blocks from me, and I'm going to be sure this thing's resolved. She's a sweetie. She said the elec. co. has been out 2X in the last couple months, and that one of those times her wires were entangled with a neighbors' or something; they must have shut down a bit of the grid to fix it. Maybe the connection was meant to be temporary and they were going to come back to fix it, who knows.

    Anyway...ground. Another (bad) photo if anyone's interested. The rod must have been put in the window well because the surrounding area's paved. The mast is actually metal, just painted - and they did scrape off most of the paint where the ground is clamped. Huh! Should have realized it was coming from the phone service - shouldn't that be grounded like the electrical service anyway, since it's lightning that's the issue?

    What about the conduit to the right of the base of the mast - could that contain the ground for the electrical system?

    (Feel free to ignore any/all questions here...off topic, and I need to read up more myself on this, tho' have been googling)

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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    "The old lady with the wire nuts"


  27. #27
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    OK, I admittedly know very little about good electrical workmanship. But this just seems wrong. Am I right? Is it unsafe, or just crap work, or neither?
    Wow wee! I have seen some haphazard homeowner work and remedies, but this one, wow! That's all I can say. Indeed, it doesn't appear to have been connected by the utility for reasons many already stated here. I agree with the one response that someone should contact the utility.


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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Since the meter is the division between homeowner and power company equipment, what obligation do house inspectors have in this matter. This is not homeowner property.


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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by timjimbob View Post
    Since the meter is the division between homeowner and power company equipment, what obligation do house inspectors have in this matter. This is not homeowner property.
    Timjimbob,

    The meter is NOT the dividing point between POCO and Homeowner.

    The point of attachement to the property is the point of demarcation aka the Service Point.

    The Service Point is the point on the wiring system where the serving utility ends and the premises wiring begins per NEC.

    The utility is granted the authority to institute requirements regarding the meter and its corresponding meter cabinet which the AHJ is compelled by code to enforce.

    The demarcation is therefor the attachment pointof the overhead or lateral serving the premises.

    For an underground service, that point could be the line side of the meter cabinet or in some cases the first means of disconnect if installed before the meter(s).

    As it pertains to Ms. Silber's question regarding determination of the length of the ground rod....

    An inspector cannot determine the specific length of a supplemental or grounding electrode.

    Careful observation however; can provide some insight.

    Look at the top of the ground rod.

    Does it exhibit signs that it was cut-off and reveals tool marks?

    Sometimes, the less swift personnel in the electrical trades will even leave the remaining piece of cut rod there for the inspector.

    In other cases, you will have to look closer at the metal shavings they neglected to clean up.

    The top of the ground rod is usually somewhat mushroomed from being struck by another object but in cases where they have been driven by some percussion type tool, evidence of such may not exist.

    Ground rods should also be driven at less than a 45 degree angle.

    They should be flush with finished grade.

    The connector shall be suitable for weather and the materials utilized such as copper or aluminum.

    If aluminum, that conductor cannot come into contact with the earth.

    There are exceptions to some of the above but generally the above denoted applies.

    This inspector pulls on all ground rods that he suspects are not in compliance.

    It is not uncommon to discover that ground rods are NOT buried eight feet in length as required.

    Additionally, how does an inspector know that the incoming water line can be considered a ground electrode?

    How does one verify that the length of such is ten feet and in contact with the earth?

    Most of the time you can't.

    Then you must choose between an "accepted practice" or interpretation of the code word for word.

    I'm sure some will disagree with the above statement.

    I'm also sure that most electrical inspectors accept the incoming water line as an electrode.

    As replacement of water lines by utilities is almost always performed with some form of plastic water line, the water line as an electrode should be a fading practice.

    Most new construction is all plastic making such unusable.

    The importance of inspecting proper grounding can make a great deal of difference to an insurance company or a howeowner.

    Lack of proper grounding during a lightning strike can cause such fault current to travel throughout the premises resulting in the burning of the small components utilized on circuit boards.

    This could result in significant damage to any and all electronic components that contain these circuit boards. (Stereo, Television, Computer, Air Conditioner, Electric oven, etc., etc., etc.

    I have seen the above occur and it can be extremely expensive.

    Proper grounding is the fundamental basis for a safe service and its correct installation should be an important aspect of any home inspection.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    I don't think I even saw the above post. I would like to have the time to do things like make sure a system is properly grounded, but I don't. There are too many things to look for. The fees I get don't allow it, and we aren't called upon to do so. Plus the homeowner is with me the whole time I'm in a house.

    But back to the original post. I dropped by the sweet old lady with wire nuts' house today. Things aren't fixed. She didn't answer the door. I called the electric company, and the guy said the homeowner is responsible for the actual connection of the service cables to the SECs. The company still has to send someone out to disconnect the lines at the pole so the work can be done, but doesn't do the splice?! Makes no sense!

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  31. #31
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    I don't think I even saw the above post. I would like to have the time to do things like make sure a system is properly grounded, but I don't. There are too many things to look for. The fees I get don't allow it, and we aren't called upon to do so. Plus the homeowner is with me the whole time I'm in a house.

    But back to the original post. I dropped by the sweet old lady with wire nuts' house today. Things aren't fixed. She didn't answer the door. I called the electric company, and the guy said the homeowner is responsible for the actual connection of the service cables to the SECs. The company still has to send someone out to disconnect the lines at the pole so the work can be done, but doesn't do the splice?! Makes no sense!
    Kristi .... If they don't disconnect somewhere then the overhead wires will be hot and not fused. You do not want to work on them hot if you do not work for the utility.

    You've done your civil duty just move on.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Oh, of course I know they have to be disconnected! I just meant that as long as the electric company had to do that anyway, they might as well do the splice while they were at it. I just didn't want this poor lady to have to pay someone again for what should have been done right the first time. It's not just civic duty, I like her, and she's in my neighborhood.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  33. #33
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Oh, of course I know they have to be disconnected! I just meant that as long as the electric company had to do that anyway, they might as well do the splice while they were at it. I just didn't want this poor lady to have to pay someone again for what should have been done right the first time. It's not just civic duty, I like her, and she's in my neighborhood.
    Calm down I know you understand they need to be disconnected ....


    My point was the wires are hot so the utility will pull the drop out fuse on the serving transformer out on the pole. I can't speak for how they do things in your area but around here in most cases the utility makes the service point connections not the homeowner..


    I wonder if she will ever confide in you who performed the work and made those splices in your original picture.

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 12-03-2011 at 11:59 AM.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    And I meant I knew the lines had to be disconnected at the pole (though I didn't know they did it by pulling a fuse) in order to do the splice.

    I, too, thought the utility was responsible for the service point connections. The guy I talked to didn't seem too sure himself, so he may have given me the wrong info. That's why I brought it up again, wondering if that was the case.

    I'm sure the lady would tell me who did the splice if she knows. I'll stop by again one day.

    Anyway, thanks for your responses!

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    I know this thread is a bit old, but that is a completely normal PVC weatherhead. The wires are entering it correctly. They go in the slots. They do NOT have to go through any other punch out holes, unless you have more than three wires.

    The only thing I can say about this is it looks like a newer service upgrade. I would only assume it was a temporary connection. If it has been that way for a while then it may have been temporary that got forgotten or ignored by the original installer. I have seen some crazy temp service connections from expensive bug nuts to regular romex connections used. All to be removed in a matter of days when the POCO makes the final drop splices.
    Many places are moving away from this practice and allow electricians to make the final service drop connections.
    Either way, what is in that pic is NOT correct or safe for a permanent installation.


  36. #36
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    I normally use split bolts for this type of connection. If you use the ones with the plastic snap-on covers it looks like the power company did it.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    The weatherhead wasn't originally the issue - I didn't see a problem with that (thought it's metal, tho'). It's the connections. The house is in my neighborhood, so I checked back after a few weeks and it hasn't been resolved, so they must have been forgotten if they were indeed meant to be temporary. Made a call to the utility (no satisfaction there), talked to the lady again, and she didn't seem interested in the issue. Next week I'll call the municpal inspector and they can deal with it...I hope someone does.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  38. #38
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    OK, I admittedly know very little about good electrical workmanship. But this just seems wrong. Am I right? Is it unsafe, or just crap work, or neither?
    That's definitely not a professional installation. Call the local utility for repair.


  39. #39
    Robert Meier's Avatar
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    I know this thread is a bit old, but that is a completely normal PVC weatherhead. The wires are entering it correctly. They go in the slots. They do NOT have to go through any other punch out holes, unless you have more than three wires.

    The only thing I can say about this is it looks like a newer service upgrade. I would only assume it was a temporary connection. If it has been that way for a while then it may have been temporary that got forgotten or ignored by the original installer. I have seen some crazy temp service connections from expensive bug nuts to regular romex connections used. All to be removed in a matter of days when the POCO makes the final drop splices.
    Many places are moving away from this practice and allow electricians to make the final service drop connections.
    Either way, what is in that pic is NOT correct or safe for a permanent installation.
    I agree with Petey, this is a service upgrade and what you see is the temporary connections made before the POCO came in and made the final connections. I agree that the blue wirenuts will fail over time. Around here it may take the POCO a few weeks to make then final connections after the local inspector approved the service.

    Also if the installation is under the 2008 or 2011 NEC then the installer should have provided intersysem bonding block to connect the CATV, phone, etc. at the meter enclosure.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Sorry - is POCO the power company? I already called the electric co. about it. They send it wasn't their responsibility - the lines, yes, but the splice, no. Sounded ridiculous to me, since they have to come and disconnect the line for anyone to make the splice. Will follow up on it.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  41. #41
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Sorry - is POCO the power company? I already called the electric co. about it. They send it wasn't their responsibility - the lines, yes, but the splice, no. Sounded ridiculous to me, since they have to come and disconnect the line for anyone to make the splice. Will follow up on it.
    Then I would ask them who filed the paperwork to perform this job.
    If the contractor is responsible for these splices (as we are in my area for single family dwellings) then there should be paperwork filed on this job.


  42. #42
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    Post Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    It is not correct, and you have reported it, so there is not much more that you can do. Typically, when I find this type of thing, I let the home owner know that it is both unsafe and improper. The utility company will usually end up getting a call regarding an unsafe service drop. Framing it as "unsafe" usually gets the electrical service company out on site post-haste.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  43. #43
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
    Darrel Hood Guest

    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    To summarize: You saw a defect. You identified the defect to the owner. You identified the defect to the power provider. You do not own the home. You have even followed up.

    You are done.

    You stated the owner appears disinterested. You are done.


  44. #44

    Smile Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Only thing missing is "duct" tape. lol, Good catch, and it's not right. "Chuck in the truck" strikes again.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    I know it's not my responsibility. I also know the homeowner isn't likely to follow up. I think she's kind of depressed. I'm not going to make a big fuss about it, but might contact the city inspector anyway. Someone should do something about it. I don't want a fire in my neighborhood just because I can't make another phone call or two. I've been putting it off, but this thread reminds me!

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  46. #46
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Kristi,
    I heard that one of your neighbor children had not had vaccinations.


  47. #47
    cuba_pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Isn't that the whole purpose of message boards...so we can comment on other people's problems and issues that don't concern us in the least?


  48. #48
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    Default Re: service mast - this can't be right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    Kristi,
    I heard that one of your neighbor children had not had vaccinations.
    Oh no! Which one? Time to call Social Services!

    "Isn't that the whole purpose of message boards...so we can comment on other people's problems and issues that don't concern us in the least?"

    Yes, and tell them what they or someone else has done wrong. Fault finding is your job as HIs, it would be surprising did it not spill over into everything else!

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

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