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  1. #1

    Default Service Box & Wire

    Take a look at the photos and let me know your thoughts. I am putting this in my report on this home but i am struggling with the words???
    Any help would be appreciated.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    How about: Sheathing is damaged on the power feed above the outside panel - replacement is necessary.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Use of the proper terminology in a report is crucial.
    " The insulation on the SE cable between the electrical meter and the weather head is deteriorated and needs replaced"


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    How about: Sheathing is damaged on the power feed above the outside panel - replacement is necessary.
    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Use of the proper terminology in a report is crucial.
    " The insulation on the SE cable between the electrical meter and the weather head is deteriorated and needs replaced"
    I don't see any insulation deteriorated, I do see where the sheathing (outer covering is not insulation) is either deteriorated or missing.

    "Use of the proper terminology in a report is crucial." I Completely agree.

    Was SE cable ever made without that outer covering (sheathing)?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    I was more concerned with the service cable outside covering being gone and the exposed wiring that is not UV resistant.

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    [QUOTE=Jeff Zehnder;192353]I was more concerned with the service cable outside covering being gone ... /[quote]

    That's what we are all referring to.

    ... and the exposed wiring that is not UV resistant.
    That would be the least of my worries, I'd just write it up for replacement - problem solved.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Aside from the sheath being gone (looks like remains of a woven sheath on left side sticking out from the back) the condition of the cable allows moisture to run down the wire and into the meter housing. And, since the thing is a Zinsco anyway replacement of the entire service would be a good idea.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    To all,

    I appreciate everyone's comments...
    I was concerned about the condition of the cable and the Zinzco box and was looking for any help on wording since i know this will create anxiety from my customer. Thanks

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
    http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/
    http://carolinahomeinspections.com/

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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    Aside from the sheath being gone (looks like remains of a woven sheath on left side sticking out from the back) ...
    I thought that was just some of that white from the face of the brick?

    ... the condition of the cable allows moisture to run down the wire and into the meter housing. And, since the thing is a Zinsco anyway replacement of the entire service would be a good idea.
    Yep.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    I'd call it a jacket rather than sheathing.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by neal lewis View Post
    I'd call it a jacket rather than sheathing.
    334.116 Sheath.
    - The outer sheath of nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall comply with 334.116(A), (B), and (C).
    - - (A) Type NM. The overall covering shall be flame retardant and moisture resistant.
    - - (B) Type NMC. The overall covering shall be flame retardant, moisture resistant, fungus resistant, and corrosion resistant.
    - - (C) Type NMS. The overall covering shall be flame retardant and moisture resistant. The sheath shall be applied so as to separate the power conductors from the communications conductors.

    But "jacket" still describes what you are referring to.

    I just remembered - we are talking about SE cable, not NM cable: Strange that the SE code section describes USE and not SE for construction.
    - 338.100 Construction.
    - - Cabled, single-conductor, Type USE constructions recognized for underground use shall be permitted to have a bare copper conductor cabled with the assembly. Type USE single, parallel, or cabled conductor assemblies recognized for underground use shall be permitted to have a bare copper concentric conductor applied. These constructions shall not require an outer overall covering.
    - - - FPN: See 230.41, Exception, item (2), for directly buried, uninsulated service-entrance conductors.
    - - Type SE or USE cable containing two or more conductors shall be permitted to have one conductor uninsulated.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    At least one manufacturer refers to it as a jacket.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by neal lewis View Post
    At least one manufacturer refers to it as a jacket.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    But "jacket" still describes what you are referring to.
    Works for me.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Zehnder View Post
    I was more concerned with the service cable outside covering being gone and the exposed wiring that is not UV resistant.
    What leads you to conclude the individual insulated conductors are not UV resistant? Do you suspect the assembly is USE, NM or UF for example?

    Although SE outer JACKET or FINISH and the INDIVIDUAL INSULATED CONDUCTORS offer little resistance to Animal destruction, RODENT CHEWING, ABBRASION, DAMAGE, Power tools, rotozips, re-pointing tools, etc.

    Presuming that really is modern Type SE Cable.

    UL Wire Marking Guide (2005 as an example):

    Type SE - Indicates cable for aboveground installation. Both the individual insulated conductors and the outer jacket or finish of Type SE are suitable for use where exposed to sun.

    Types USE and USE-2 - Indicates cable for underground installation including direct burial in the earth. CAble in sizes 4/0 AWG and smaller and having all conductors insulated is suitable for all of the underground uses for which Type UF cable is permitted by the NEC. Types USE and USE-2 are not suitable for use in premises or above ground except to terminate at the service equipment or metering equipment. Both the insulation and the outer covering when used, on single and multiconductor Types USE and USE-2 are suitable for use where exposed to sun.

    Submersible Water Pump Cable -- Indicates a multiconductor cable in which 2, 3 or 4 singleconductor Type USE or USE-2 cables are provided in a flat or twisted assembly. The cable is Listed in sizes 14 AWG to 4/0 AWG inclusive, copper, and 12 AWG to 4/0 AWG inclusive, aluminum or copperclad aluminum. The cable is tag marked "For use within the well casing for wiring deep well water pumps where the cable is not subject to repetitive handling caused by frequent sevicing of the pump units."
    The insulation may also be surface marked "Pump Cable" The cable may be directly buried in the earth in conjunction with this use.

    "Based upon tests which have been made involving the maximum heating that can be produced, an uninsulated conductor employed in a service cable assembly is considered to have the same current carrying capacity as the insulated conductors even though it may be smaller in size.

    The basic stanard used to investigate products in this category is UL 854 "Service-Entrance Cables."

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-11-2012 at 10:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by neal lewis View Post
    At least one manufacturer refers to it as a jacket.
    As does UL - in the White Book, the Marking Guide, and the Standard (Ul. 854)

    Its an outer "jacket" or "finish".


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Jacket or sheath, but not sheathing.

    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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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Jacket or sheath, but not sheathing.
    Modern Type NM (Art. 334) are Sheathed, UL 719 "Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cables"

    Types SE & USE (Art. 338) are Jacketed or Finished, UL 854 "Service-Entrance Cables."


    Protection from damage or deterioration insufficient.


  18. #18
    David Stoffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    How about: Sheathing is damaged on the power feed above the outside panel - replacement is necessary.
    My suggestion is to write it up as possibly damaged and not installed properly and have it evaluated by a Licensed Electrical Contactor for safe and proper operation and correct as needed.

    I personaly do not think ANY home inspector should or has the power to demand something be replaced.
    Again I think we are there to evaluate and recommend but when we say it has to be replaced are YOU really quailifed to do or say it.

    When your repair or repalce does not actually fix the problem then do you get your check book out and cover the cost that the Licensed Electrical Contractor says needs to be done.

    Rxcuse the spelling but you should know where I am coming from


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Possibly damaged? That cable is way past it's lifespan and needs to be replaced. The lack of the sheathing is also allowing water into the meter socket as someone else has already pointed out.

    It looks like the cable was originally installed correctly, age has just taken its' toll.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Zehnder View Post
    Take a look at the photos and let me know your thoughts. I am putting this in my report on this home but i am struggling with the words???
    Any help would be appreciated.
    I would also agree that this should be replaced. We are a Licensed Electrical Contractor in the State of OH and see this often. We can not enforce a HO to change this as it is still being used,the only thing we tell the inspectors is to have us make suggestions this way homeowners feel that it comes from someone who is licensed.This will get the inspectors out of any kind of situation. We have a local Inspection company that will tell the customer it has to be done or else he wont come back to give it his ok. I guess that relieves him from responsibility.I don't know if that's a correct response?


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by David Stoffer View Post
    My suggestion is to write it up as possibly damaged and not installed properly and have it evaluated by a Licensed Electrical Contactor for safe and proper operation and correct as needed.
    The home inspector "evaluated" it, the electrical contractor needs to "fix" it.

    I personaly do not think ANY home inspector should or has the power to demand something be replaced.
    No home inspector can or does "demand" that something be replaced, but every home inspector SHOULD be willing to write stuff up as needing to be replaced.

    If a home inspector is not willing to do that for their client, they have no business being a home inspector.

    Again I think we are there to evaluate
    See my first response, yeppers ... you are there to evaluate it ... the contractor then fixes it, and that will only happen if you are willing to write it up as needing to be fixed.

    and recommend but when we say it has to be replaced are YOU really quailifed to do or say it.
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the home inspector writing it as needing to be replaced ... "has to be replaced" if anyone writes that up that way, but I doubt they do. The home inspector can only state that it needs to be replaced, which is often taken as "it has to be replaced" because it does have to be replaced, but the home inspector cannot FORCE anyone to replace or repair anything - the home inspector's CLIENT CAN, and if you don't do your job or writing it up so the client can do that, you have not done your job.

    If a home inspector is not willing to write something stating that it needs to be replaced for blah, blah, blah reasons - that home inspector needs to turn in their man-card (a female home inspector would need to turn in their WOman-card ) and go work for an agent writing superficial reports which make sellers think their houses are perfect.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
    Bill Hammons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Also what about the gutters and splash blocks.


  23. #23
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    I don't see gutters and splash blocks. What are you asking about?


  24. #24
    Robert Rolleston's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Almost every time I try to get someone to let me replace something like this the idiots tape it up thinking it will help. Once that neutral wire corrodes away you are in for some big trouble.

    I would also write it up as a required repair. If it was to corrode enough to break the connection what's left of it could become live along with the meter socket enclosure.


  25. #25
    Phil Brody's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Typically wouldn't you see that in conduit and extend through the roof to create a drip point prior to the weather head ? It's not protected by over current protection and should be protected from damage.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    That application of SE cable is used all the time without a problem. Why do you think it would be subject to damage several feet above ground?

    A mast may not be needed if the proper clearance above the ground can be met.

    There is already a drip loop on the conductors leaving the weatherhead.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  27. #27
    Phil Brody's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service Box & Wire

    Well the manufacture states it's sunlight and moisture resistant. When left expose we have seen deterioration in 8 years. Since it's very popular climbing route for rodents we install the sec in conduit to avoid failure and possible hedge trimmers and the like. You are right about the drip loop, when I see the shadow it is very clear it exists.


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