Help; power lines to house

Page 1 of 2  
Hi, My wife and I just bought our first house. It's a great house but needs some attention here and there (what else is new, right?). It has a full basement with a crawl-space under an addition. Getting to the point: I found where the power lines come into the house from the pole (it's a farm house). They come into the crawl-space through a short conduit but the conduit ends and the lines are just laying on the dirt. I know this isn't great but I know where to cut the power at the pole so I can run them through more conduit before entering the fuse box. My question is this; there are six lines running into the crawl-space, three of which go to the fuse box and three just laying on the dirt, no caps or anything, just chopped off flush and laying there. The box is 100 amp and the previous owner said there is 200 amps coming into the house. How can I tell if the cables lying on the dirt are hot? Why are there six lines, does that make 33-1/3 amps per line? I would like to run one or two of these unused lines to my garage (to it's own panel). Thoughts? Comments? Panick attacks?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Okay, sorry, brain-fart. I'm assuming one of the lines running into the box is for the ground bock. So that would be 50 amps per line?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

How about the inspection by the city, what did they say. Call them.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

How about the inspection by the city, what did they say. Call them.
What city is it that inspects electrical wiring at farmhouses?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The one that collects the TAX on the property. The same one that inspects it for safety and sale. So thats all of them.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
ransley wrote: ...

That would be none...not in a city jurisdiction and the county doesn't have inspections so that would negate "all"...
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

The one that collects the TAX on the property. The same one that inspects it for safety and sale. So thats all of them.
I've never heard of such a thing. In the suburb of NYC where I live, there's no government entity that does anything like that. If you want something inspected, you hire yourself an inspector
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Rural farmhouse and NYC are oxymorons. For the rest of the country they dont come out and inspect even in the rest of NY state.
Jimmie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
ransley wrote:

Snort. In the parts of the country where I have had contact with inspectors, once you are outside city limits, the inspections, if any, are drive-bys. Some of the 'stupids' I found in the addition to this place definitely would not have passed a real inspection. Around here, as long as they get their cash for the permit, and recognize the name of the person doing the work, they are happy.
-- aem sends...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, it may have required an inspection IF a permit was pulled for whatever was done, whenever it was done, which could have been decades ago. But given that the wires are laying cut off on the dirt, doesn't sound like a permit was pulled.
Other than that, even here in suburban NJ, with a sale, the municipality does a very basic check before issuing a CO. They look for smoke detectors, missing railings on stairs, fire extiguishers, illegal basement bedrooms, etc. But they don't do anything approaching an electrical inspection.
For the OP, sounds like you didn't have a home inspection done before the purchase. Even a monkey of an inspector would have flagged this. I'd start with getting one now, followed by an electrician to take care of the line problems. If you have to ask here how to determine if those lines are hot, I recommend not screwing around with it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You have to see how or what they're connected to on the outside of the house.I would suspect there is a meter outside, but not necessarily. A typical 120/240 volt service will have three wires coming in, two hot legs and a neutral. A larger service can have parallel conductors, two sets of hot legs and one set of neutrals, however the smallest allowable size conductor that can be in parallel is #1/0, which would probably make it more than 200 amp. Because of the variety of unknowns in your situation, I would have a local electrician stop over and check it out, and give you all the details and possibilities. Good luck with the new house
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mac wrote: ...

a) I'd simply pick the cable up and use cable clamps to run it across the joists -- don't see any real need for the conduit. Can if want, but for what purpose?
b) The six wires are two sets of two 240V feeds or, more likely a pair of feeds and a spare/future expansion pull. I'd guess the cut-off set aren't hot, but I'd certainly not count on that until I had measured the voltage on them or traced them back to the other end to make sure they're either not hooked up at the other end, too, or on a pulled fuse or a thrown breaker at the pole/meter/whereever.
240V service consists of 2 "hots" and a neutral; that's the three of each set.
What service is rated for depends on what the meter size and the service wire size(s) are. It sorta' sounds like he had two 100A drops made but only hooked up one.
Again, I'd not trust that conclusion until verified it.
You _CAN_ measure the voltage carefully w/ a VOM/DVM whatever you have, but you need to be _dxxx_ careful as you do it. The voltage is "only" 240V max, but there's a lot of current behind it if it is hot and not just a 15 or 20A breaker for a "little short" to trip. If you're not comfortable around power and used to doing such stuff (and it doesn't really sound as though you are), I'd follow the recommendation of the other poster and get an electrician to tell you what you got.
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Okay, so I shouldn't stand in a puddle of water and grab ahold of the bare wires, got it. I don't mean to be flip, I know a of of folks with a lot of drive and little sense. Fortunately I'm not one of them. Life's been pretty tough lately, I don't want to make it worse....or over. My first thoughts were that the lines couldn't be hot but I checked the breaker on the pole and it is a 200 amp breaker. Of course everything is hidden in conduit so I can't see if it's hooked up. I suppose I need to cal an electrician to access the box at the pole. Thanks everyone, -Mac
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mac wrote: ...

The point was more that w/ a loose wire probing the ends in a crawl space is likely a good chance to have a set of leads cross or other "woops!" event. That would likely be nothing but a spark a tripped breaker on a service circuit; on a main feed it could weld you to the line and be fatal. It's just a iffy thing to be doing w/o a _lot_ of care and w/ the questions asked and usenet being what it is, one doesn't know to whom one is suggesting something. Hence, caution must rule... ...

Unless that box is at the top of the pole and/or tagged by the utility as a meter, don't see why you can't do that. But, again, it's where if you need to ask and/or have doubts, one hesitates to suggest...
I'd say still given the tenor of the question and response the electrician _is_ probably the wiser choice.
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There are a few possibilities. If the wires are on the ground they most likely dead, but check anyway. There are simple testers that you can touch to the wire end and it will indicate power.
I don't know your abilities, but if you don't know how to test them you probably should call an electrician that can do the test and show you how. Better to spend a few bucks that risk a jolt. As for running them to the garage, that depends on what, if anything, they are connected to.
Aloe, no, they are not 33 1/3 or 50 amps per line, Two are 120V each and one is neutral in typical home wiring. If it is a farm that had heavy equipment, it is also possible that there was/is three phase power.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Are the cut-off cables the SAME as the three going to the fuse box? If not, it's likely they are abandoned cables - that NEW cables were added later and pulled through the same conduit.
As for them laying on the dirt: I would LEAVE them alone unless you plan to USE the space thereby exposing the cables to potential damage. That is, of course, assuming the space is perfectly dry. Then again, if they are suitable for direct burial, laying on the ground shouldn't hurt a thing.
The recommendation to clamp them to overhead joists is a good one but there might not be enough slack to do so.
For not a WHOLE LOT of $$ more than ordinary conduit, you could enclose them in "split duct" which would allow them to remain in service while being enclosed. This would provide excellent mechanical protection allowing them to STAY laying on the ground. Good luck!
--
:)
JR

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Yes, they are exactly the same. This fact along with the seller's claim that 200 amps are running into the house but only 100 hooked up tells me that they are either hot or just need to be hooked up. I have a multitester so can test them fairly easily. I'll take all precautions. Thanks for the split-conduit idea. I would still kill the power at the pole but at least I wouldn't need to unhook from the panel. -Mac
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Only a person who doesn't understand electricity could make such a statement.
You can only have 200 amps running into a house if you have enough power consumption to cause such a current draw.
A house could be wired to handle 1000 amps, but unless you turn something on, there'll be *zero* amps running into the house.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 19 Feb 2009 23:24:52 -0600, AZ Nomad

However, the description is correct. The house has 200 amps of capacity , but only 100 amps of capacity connected. The house has "200 amps at the stack" and only a 100 amp panel and a 100 amp main breaker.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Feb 20, 7:36am, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Yes, I thought it was very clear what he's talking about too. It's the total capacity that the seller stated.
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.