Elec. Service Cable Insulation

Re: Elec. Service Cable Insulation
I installed the Elec. Service system on my little brick bungalow 20 years ago. Works OK, but ...
The outside wires are above-ground. The elec. utility's wires connect to my pigtails which connect to a big aluminum cable that runs down the wall to the elec. meter. Problem is, the outer insulation on the big cable is disintegrating. The insulation on the hot wires inside the cable is intact, but is exposed to the sun and will probably deteriorate much faster.
Is there some kind of all-weather tape that I could maybe wrap around the big cable? I checked a few stores and didn't see anything. What would you do in this situation to avoid ripping everything out and replacing the big cable (a lotta, lotta trouble!)?
Apologies if this sounds trivial, but it's bothered me for over a year. Load off my mind if I can figger how to fix it.
Thanx, Puddin'
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I don't know where you're located, but in most places all of the wiring from the utility to the meter is the utility's responsibility. I'm not real clear on why they would terminate their line at your "pigtails" instead of at the meter... this would be highly irregular in my neck of the woods.
Don't mess with deteriorated live feeds from the power company... let them figure it out.
Jake
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jake wrote:

In my neck of the woods, I had to supple the cable to the top of the mast and make the original connection. They then came out, inspected everything and removed my connectors (they were the $30.00 worth some years ago and the ones they specified) and put their own on. Even with that, they own and maintain everything up to and including the meter. Anything new is their responsibility.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Not in the Chicago area. The customer is responsible for providing the masthead, and feeder wires. ComEd provides the overhead wire only.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John Hines wrote:

Obviously something that can change from supplier to supplier, and even from muni to muni. Last time I had occasion to check into it, it was very similar to yours. Rain head with 3 * 3' pigtails was my responsibility (and all below, including the meter base). They did the attachment to the house, strain relief, and the bugs to attach my wires to theirs. Inspect and then pop in the meter.
--
TP / Network Man __________________________________
If u want the races for free,
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You have a good reason to be concerned over this situation. If any moisture gets inside of the conductors it will lead to rapid degradation of the aluminum conductors and possibly heat generation between them.
I don't know of any type of repair covering for this and if I did I don't think I would recommend it. The conductors may be brittle from their exposure to the sun and weather. Any disturbance would cause the insulation to crack and possibly break off. You don't want this to happen while they are live.
The only solution that I know of is replacement of the service entrance cable. For better protection and longevity, you may want to consider installing conduit such as rigid metal, intermediate metal, or rigid PVC (Schedule 80).
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Strange if you use the correct cable Type SE or type USE, there shouldn't be a problem. Both types have the same outer jacket and are supposed to be sunlite resistent. One of the responses said you should replace it and I agree. water entering the jacket can work it's way into the meter and cause corrosion and it can also follow the wires back to the panel and cause corrosion there. Seeing that you did the original install you shouldn't have any problems replacing it. Sorry to say that replacement is you best and safest option.
Bill
BTW when you have everything apart check for corrosion. Replace any suspect parts
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Yeah, I'm 99% certain it's like Chicago here in St. Louis MO (sure was 20 years ago).
On Thu, 20 May 2004 13:03:06 GMT, "John Grabowski"

Thanks. Its not all the way thru except in a spot or 2. No heat detectable on the deteriorated cable.
On Thu, 20 May 2004 11:10:21 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (... ...) wrote:

You are likely less surprised than I. No discernable markings on the cable but the bill sez "4/0 4/0 4/0 AL SEU". The supply house is still in the phone book, so it wasn't a fly-by-nite.

I pulled the cover off the service panel. Looks OK inside.

I was 20 years younger and considerably crazier back then! :-) Now I gotta funny back ...

I guess I'll have to in the long run. If/when it happens, I will take John's advice and look at PVC (Schedule 80) conduit.

Good advice.
I could still use a short-term suggestion (tape or ?).
Thanks to all.
Cheers, Puddin'
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Puddin' Man wrote:

I don't think SEU is sunlight resistant. SE is sunlight resistant and flame retardant, SEU is for direct burial.
In another message you asked about friction tape. It is weatherproof.
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
040519 1918 - Puddin' Man posted:

Maybe you could just take the cable clamps off and gingerly move the cable away from the house and begin taping with some friction tape from the bottom up to the top. You can get friction tape about 1" or 2" wide. Taping from the bottom up will give the proper overlap so that water running down it will go over the edges and not settle and enter the taping. At the top, you can use a ty-wrap or some kind of waxed string to secure the last wrap to the cable.
Another method would be to take a piece of PVC conduit and slice it in half, the length from the top of the meter box to as high as you can get it, and then fasten it over the riser cable to protect it from the elements. At the top you could then seal it so that water and snow will not run down inside.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

--- snip ---

Is friction tape exterior functional? I figgered it was "interior only" but I dunno. I may put a sample out to see what the Hot Summer Sun does to it ...

Interesting idea. How to cut the PVC? Maybe I could build a jig onna table saw. Hafta see if I can find suitable clamps ...
Thanx, Puddin'
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't think either of these jury-rigged solutions are particularly wise (let alone code). The electrical tape will probably accelerate deterioration, and the split pipe will potentially cause serious trouble with the insides of the meter base or even the main panel (condensation etc).
It strikes me that it'd be best getting an electrician to come, and simply rework the existing riser into a proper conduit installation - mast head, drip loop etc. Material-wise, this is fairly cheap. Shouldn't take more than an hour of labour. Get quotes.
If you know how to install the conduit properly, the only reason you'd need an electrician is to deal with disconnecting/reconnecting the live service. Your electrical company might do that part for free.
You may or may not be able to save the existing wire. If you can't reuse it, install a new mast/conductor set in parallel, and just get the electrical company to come over and switch the feed over (on both ends of the riser).
Ask your local permit office how to proceed.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.