I was talking about inside the meter base - the wires from the meter
to inside - which pass through a conduit. The wires MUST droop below
the bottom of the conduit inside the meter base before entering the
conduit. Frm meter to bottom of meter base and back up to the exit
point of the meter base and out through the conduit to the
distribution panel/service entrance box.
Okay, got it. My electric meter is on the side of the house and has a
service line coming down into the top of the meter box, and a service line
coming out of the bottom of the meter box and going down the wall and into
the house to the electric panel.
Water was getting in through the top of the meter box, filling up in the
bottom of the meter box, and then running INSIDE the service cable that
comes out of the bottom of the meter box. I wasn't able to open the meter
box because it requires a special key, and the utility company was unwilling
to come out and open it for me. So, I was never able to see if there are
any drip loops inside the meter box, but I doubt that there could be since
the service line comes out of the bottom of the meter box. I just did a
Google Images search of "electric service meters" and I saw lots of images
of the inside of the meter boxes with no drip loop inside.
To solve my problem, I used clear 100% silicone caulk and I caulked all
around the meter box, especially at the top, and around the front cover and
anywhere else that water could possibly get in. That fixed the water
problem. I have photos somewhere of the meter box, but I can't seem to find
them right now.
On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 10:19:32 AM UTC-5, TomR wrote:
Water in my panel was the main reason that my wife got an $800 bathroom fan.
I had just finished installing a new fan/heater unit in her bathroom,
complete with a timer switch for the heater and a humidity sensor for
the moisture. The fan, the fancy switches, the 12g wire, the 20A breaker,
etc. cost me a few hundred bucks. That was fine, she is worth it. ;-)
What hurt was when I turned off the main breaker to pull the wires into the
panel and then couldn't get the main to reset. I tried about 10 times until I
gave up and called an electrician friend. While I was on the phone with him,
it decided to finally catch. He said to leave it alone and he'd look at it
the next day. After he looked over the panel, we decided that by the time he
found a new main breaker for that old box, which was full and a real mess
anyway, it was probably time to just replace the panel, get more space,
better grounding, etc.
When I took the old main breaker apart, all of the interior contacts were
covered with rust from the water that had gotten into the panel a few years
prior. No wonder I had a hard time resetting it.
That's why I like to say that my wife now has an $800 bathroom fan.
I am currently in the same position. Was going to do the new panel this
last weekend but Mother Nature had other plans. Can't wait to pull the main
breaker and Dremel it open. I'll bet it's grim inside the main breaker.
It's quite a coincidence that both of us are having main breaker troubles.
Mine's well over 30 years old so I suppose it was time. I found what was
alleged to be NOS (new, old stock) replacement on Ebay but I've been burned
by what I call NODS (new old DEAD stock) before. My main breaker seems to
be similarly corroded and I wonder if it was water getting it or just
condensation damage over the years or or perhaps just inherent vice. Won't
know until next week.
Did you do the new panel yourself? Sounds like it from the price. I was
considering doing it myself but now with the new electronic meters Pepco can
tell pretty quickly when you've pulled the meter and they send a crew out to
investigate so it's time to do it all nice and legal like.
At least now I can install AFCIs on the bedroom and kitchen circuits easily
now (weren't enough neutral connections in the old panel). I was thinking
of getting a smart panel but their prices really smart. I've been trying to
keep the panel load as low as possible until the panel is replaced.
Not sure what happens if the main breaker fails but I hope any fireworks are
contained inside the circuit box.
On Tue, 26 Jan 2016 09:59:12 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03
You got off cheap. My panel replacement, including permits and
inspections, came to just over $3000. I went with a Square D QO 32
slot 125 amp panel plus 1 arc fault and 2 2 pole GFIs - and it was
all aluminum wiring - which had to be inspected throughout.
Thanks. I did do the gray duct seal routine back then and, in addition, I
did the clear 100% silicone caulk routine.
Yesterday, I was able to find the old thread that I started here regarding
that problem back in 2013. The topic of the thread was "Unlocking electric
meter box -- water problem", and it was started by me (TomR) on 6/8/2013 at
3:16 PM Eastern Time.
Looking back, I now remember that the water that was getting into the box
was not getting into the wire coming out of the bottom due to the box
filling with water at the bottom (as I wrote above). I know that because in
re-reading the thread I realize that I did put a drain hole in the bottom of
the box and that didn't correct the problem of water gett into the electric
The problem that I had at the time was that I could not open the meter box
to look inside and see what was going on. The box cover had a special
locking mechanism on it that I couldn't unlock. Either the utility company
or an electrician with a special tool could have unlocked the front box
cover. The utility company refused to do that for me, and I didn't want to
hire an electrican just to open the box and look inside.
So, the solution that I was left with was to first just try sealing and
caulking the box completely from the outside, and that worked.
I assume that the water that was previously getting into the box was somehow
running down the wires and into the INSIDE of the cable that comes out of
the bottom of the box. But, since I couldn't open the box, I could not
verify exactly what was going on inside the box. I just know that my
sealing and caulking routine on th eoutside of the box solved the problem.
On Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 10:54:23 AM UTC-5, TomR wrote:
What you describe in your last paragraph is exactly what I did when I had
water coming into my panel. There wasn't exactly a "drip loop" but there
was a dip in the service cable along its run. When I put a small slit in
the outer jacket, water dripped out for a few minutes. I never got water in
the panel again. I eventually fixed the root cause of the water getting
into the cable and put some silicon adhesive on the slit to seal it up.
I understand. I wanted to do exactly what you did -- first put a slit in a
low point, then later solve the primary problem by keeping the water out of
the cable in the first place. But, in my situation there was no horizontal
run where I could even bend it a little to create a dip in the service cable
where I could cut a slit in the outer jacket.
On Fri, 22 Jan 2016 06:20:37 -0000 (UTC), "E. Robinson"
That solves that, but you still could have water entering if a conduit
(pipe) enters behind the breaker panel. Which caulk (silicone preferred)
will seal. This all depends on where and how the pipe enters the panel.
On Fri, 22 Jan 2016 02:44:32 -0600, Paintedcow wrote:
It's a little complicated by the automatic power generator (Generac)
switch which is also attached on the inside of the garage just on
the other side of the meter (which is on the outside) of the garage.
A year or two, at my church we had a light circuit
that instantly tripped the breaker. I worked on it
for awhile. The paid guys stopped by. They took
out the two incandescant filament bulbs, and put in
curly cue CFL. Problem solved. Wish I'd tried that.
Rainy weather, I figured it was wet wires in the
attic. I'd be mistaken.
Yes, a blown bulb can trip breakers.
On Wed, 20 Jan 2016 12:42:43 -0500, Ralph Mowery wrote:
Good suggestion, but, yes, I instinctively did that, but, I just
checked again, and it still flips immediately to the trip position.
Here's a picture of it off.
Here's a picture of it in the trip position.
It's the breaker labeled "R" on the right (4 breakers down from the top).
15 amps. Seems to be "taped?" together with another one, which is
(Why the tape?)
Maybe it's a non-ganged dual unit?
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