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  1. #1
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    Default Service Cable Install

    This service cable runs through a roof detail, beneath vinyl siding, and exits a soffit lower down on the wall above the meter box. Aside from the unorthodox method of installation, is there anything about this install that is hazardous or in need of repair?



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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    The one thing that comes to my mind is whether any chaffing would occur on the sheathing where the line passes through or under surfaces. I'd be recommending that it be corrected.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    It is enclosed in conduit where it exits the bottom soffit. I'm not sure of the rest of the run.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    ..........as with any SEC, there should be a drip-loop where entering the structure. As this is configured, I would guess that water will travel the cable into the wall........Greg.

    Last edited by Gregory Booth; 11-03-2012 at 06:49 AM. Reason: spelling

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    It looks like an old house got a service upgrade. It would be OK here, at least, I have seen similar, sometimes rigid, sometimes flexible conduit.

    I remember hiring an electrician to install a meter and service on a house I was renovating, and that was all he did, clamped some flexible conduit to the wall and filled out a permit form.

    I believe there is a bit of a drip loop.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    That SEC has *entered* the structure by virtue of being behind the vinyl siding. The maximum length of SEC allowed after the "point of entrance" into the structure is limited and the main service disconnect is required to be as close as possible to that point of entrance.

    Most AHJs use between 5 feet and 8 feet as an allowance for the *length of the SEC* from the point of entrance to the point of connection to the main service disconnect device (not even to where the SEC enter the enclosure, but to the terminals on the line side of the disconnect device itself).

    In that photo, the distance from the "point of entrance" to the main service disconnect sure looks a lot longer than 5 feet to 8 feet ...

    Which means, no, that SEC would not be allowed (should not be allowed, apparently it is in John's area, but John is in Canada, so the NEC does not even apply there) to run behind the siding like that.

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That SEC has *entered* the structure by virtue of being behind the vinyl siding. The maximum length of SEC allowed after the "point of entrance" into the structure is limited and the main service disconnect is required to be as close as possible to that point of entrance.

    Most AHJs use between 5 feet and 8 feet as an allowance for the *length of the SEC* from the point of entrance to the point of connection to the main service disconnect device (not even to where the SEC enter the enclosure, but to the terminals on the line side of the disconnect device itself).

    In that photo, the distance from the "point of entrance" to the main service disconnect sure looks a lot longer than 5 feet to 8 feet ...

    Which means, no, that SEC would not be allowed (should not be allowed, apparently it is in John's area, but John is in Canada, so the NEC does not even apply there) to run behind the siding like that.
    With that I am in agreement, Jerry. It would not be allowed nowadays here either, while it may have been overlooked in the past.

    With the proliferation of indoor grow ops, it is too easy for a cunning person to pierce the conduit above the meter to steal power.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    Like John's area, this installation is not uncommon in SE Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area. I see new construction and rehabs in Philadelphia where the service cable enters conduit at the top of the front exterior wall above the 2nd floor windows and the conduit is entirely encased inside the wall cavity. In these cases, the service cable does not reappear until you get to the service panel in the basement and there is no main disconnect up on the 2nd floor level.

    The cable in my pic does have a drip loop. It's just not showing up well.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Like John's area, this installation is not uncommon in SE Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area. I see new construction and rehabs in Philadelphia where the service cable enters conduit at the top of the front exterior wall above the 2nd floor windows and the conduit is entirely encased inside the wall cavity. In these cases, the service cable does not reappear until you get to the service panel in the basement and there is no main disconnect up on the 2nd floor level.

    The cable in my pic does have a drip loop. It's just not showing up well.
    Nick,

    Down here, on I-95, people are going 80 mph all the time ... even though the speed limit is 65 mph in some places and 70 mph in other places - and no area is posted at 80 mph - that does not make it right, does it?

    Same with the practice you stated above - just because it is done does not mean it is correct. The way to affect changes to the 'customary' installations is to write it up and contact local AHJ. Several of us in South Florida did that on many issues and those issues were addressed by the AHJ, and those 'customary' practices were changes to meet the code. The same thing was done in Texas with sediment traps for gas appliances. It is done all over and it works all over, more slowly in some areas than other areas, but it eventually corrects incorrect practices.

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

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    I didn't say it was right or wrong Jerry. I just said it is not an uncommon installation around here.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I didn't say it was right or wrong Jerry. I just said it is not an uncommon installation around here.
    Nick,

    I was clarifying for all readers that just because a practice is a common practice does not mean it is 'right'. Then I explained how we, as home inspectors, can and have affected common practices which were not 'right'.

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    SOME AHJs IN SOME AREAS OF THE COUNTRY use between 5 feet and 8 feet as an allowance for the *length of the SEC* from the point of entrance to the point of connection to the main service disconnect device (not even to where the SEC enter the enclosure, but to the terminals on the line side of the disconnect device itself).

    .
    Jerry,
    I fixed your statement (above) for you.
    Blindly stating that Most ahj allow 5 to 8 feet of unfused cable is why there is some many confused HI out there. It would serve the industry better to say to check with the local electrical inspector/AHJ to find out exactly what is allowed.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Service Cable Install

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    It would serve the industry better to say to check with the local electrical inspector/AHJ to find out exactly what is allowed.
    Ken,

    It would be even better and less confusing if the code stated 'x' feet of conductor was allowed.

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

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