First, I am not a sparky. I do my own electrical work, as we are
allowed to do here. I follow the relevant Code provisions, pull
permits, and submit it for inspection. I am in perfect agreement with
any pros who look down on homeowners who do careless electrical work,
as about 50% of that which I've seen is questionable and 10% is
Okay. At present, I am upgrading my service from a relatively nice 60A
fuse box to a 200A CH series panel, which is a new job for me, and the
usual practices around here leads me to wonder about some things.
First, around here, cable electrical services are usual. It is also
common to run the SE cable in a short length of conduit below the meter
socket, through an LB into the house, because the lower length is prone
to physical damage, from cars if on a driveway, from the wild hedge
trimmer if not. Theoretically the PVC is Sch 80 but frankly a lot of
houses have whatever Big Blue or Big Orange carry.
Here's the problem: SE cable is not the greatest thing for use inside
If the raceway is big enough, the code allows it, but it's stiff and
hard to pull and certainly
not as suitable as, say, XHHW. Unfortunately, I can't use that...the
local AHJ doesn't want
raceway leading right from the meter pan to the box, because it's too
easy for water to get in.
I suppose my own question is answered...stop the raceway just inside
the wall & pull in the SE cable. Sigh. I just don't like it. Has
anybody else run into this problem?
What I would really like to do is run a Sch 80 PVC mast with XHHW
conductors, and Sch 80 conduit from the meter pan to box.
Unfortunately they look at you like a madman when you ask for XHHW
around here and suggest THHN for use in a conduit mast. I will
probably have to go with the cable, which does not make me happy...not
because I hate cable. The cable's fine. It's the watertight connector
that bothers me. You're not supposed to trust these to actually *be*
watertight, and you are to press sealant around them to keep water out.
Alas, this sealant never lasts long -- from expansion or sun or
whatever, it tends to dry out and not stay stuck to the cable and
connector, and seems just like a major kluge to me. And right
below the watertight conn. the nice aluminum conductors run to the
nice lugs, with a coat of Penetrox to keep the aluminum from attempting
to return to nature. Urk. And this is supposed to last for 30 yrs.
without maintenance...and frankly, it usually works very well,
but...the whole business makes me very unhappy.