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homenovice

08:03PM | 07/22/07
Member Since: 07/21/07
12 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
Can you settle something for me? The wires leading downward from the service meter can are exposed (#7). Is this normal? Also the lower part of the wires, that are supposed to be completely covered by the pipe riser are exposed (#4). These wires have become dry and brittle. My sister's husband claims they need to be replaced. Apparently, all the homes in the area, when the masts were installed, covered the wires leading upward from the meter can, but the lower wires, directly above the meter can, were left exposed. Again, the upper part of the service entrance cable is covered and the lower part of the cable is exposed. He claims we should change the mast, as it is a dangerous situation. However, my husband's sister's husband claims these are just ground wires, and we could just wrap them, and there is no electrical danger caused by their exposure and brittleness. So, it is the battle of the brother-in-laws. Who is right?
7433-electrical_mast

Billhart

09:02PM | 07/22/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
With a couple of special cases WIRES should never be exposed.

However there are CABLES that can be exposed.

This is a typical style of service entrance cable, but there are a couple of other styles.

http://www.doityourself.com/invt/u139953

You have two hot conductors surrounded by the neutral and then covered by a protectice sheathing.

If that sheathing is damaged it will allow water to get into the insulation for the hot wires and damage them.

We upgraded the service for a friend a couple of years ago. It was 50 YO SE cable from the meter to the drop.

The meter was moved aside, but still powering the house, as the new meter and mask was being built. The old SE cable started arcing.

" Also the lower part of the wires, that are supposed to be completely covered by the pipe riser are exposed (#4). "

I am not following this. There are several different types of installations. But if it is like what you showed you should have a ridgit steel conduit (pipe) that goes from the meter upto the weatherhead (#2). It has to be heavy to support the drop cable (#1).

That should be threaded into the meter case so that it can't separate.

If you have a metal mast and it is separated that means that it is no longer bonded to the ground electrode system (the "ground") and if there is a failure the pipe can be come electricly hot.

Normally cable is not run inside the mast, but rather individual wires are run.

But if I understand your description, but are problems and need to be repaired.

homenovice

03:08AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 07/21/07
12 lifetime posts
These is our mast. I hope this explains the situation in more detail.
7435-pictures_of_our_mast

Billhart

04:46AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
Yes that definitly need to be replaced.

That missing sheathing also allows water to get into the meter box.

I have never seen any installation like that. And I would not be surprised if you have to continue the mast until it meets the meter. But I know that practices do vary around the country.

I would like to see a picture taken so it shows the meter and the weather head.

homenovice

05:50AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 07/21/07
12 lifetime posts
Also, I am sending another picture of the wires/cable coming below the box. Are these dangerous, too?
7437-here_is_your_picture

homenovice

05:53AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 07/21/07
12 lifetime posts
Dangerous?
7438-the_other_picture

Billhart

06:33AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
I can't tell from the picture, but it does not appear that there is a weahter head or bushing at the top of the mast.

Actually with it being an open pipe used as a sleave it probably does not need a weatherhead (on of the purposes is to keep out water). But it does need a bushing to keep protect the cables at the top where it exits the pipe.

Anyway the damaged cables need to be replaced and possibly other corrections are needed.

homenovice

08:19AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 07/21/07
12 lifetime posts
What is the average cost of replacing the entire mast, bushing, meter box, etc.? Also, we may also update the electrical box inside that connects to this. Apparently, this is a dangerous job, because the power must stay live. So, I assume it is not cheap. I live in metro Detroit Michigan, if that helps.

Thanks, thanks, thanks!

Billhart

10:11AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
Labor rates vary a lot around the country.

And how the power company and the inspestors treat a change (how many service trips and/or waiting) will affect the price. Also the access to the old panel.

But in general for service upgrades (new mast, meter socket, conduit or cabel, and 150-200 amp panel) has been in the $1000-2000 range.

homenovice

10:49AM | 07/23/07
Member Since: 07/21/07
12 lifetime posts
Everything answered, thank you very much!!!!!!!
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