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#180810 - 09/11/08 02:54 PM SER Cable  
George Little  Offline
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,489
Michigan USA
As an inspector, have you ever had a person want to install SER cable in conduit - underground? I wrote this up and the contractor insisted that first of all, he has never been written up on that before and secondly that the conductors were Listed XHHW so what's the problem?

So he offered to remove the jacket. Now we have a bare aluminum EGC in conduit in the ground.

Comments are invited.

George Little

2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides

#180813 - 09/11/08 03:45 PM Re: SER Cable [Re: George Little]  
KJay  Offline
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
I’m not an inspector, but I can understand your frustration. I swear to god we must have covered this in every code cycle seminar I’ve been to for at least the last ten years. I have seen guys do this before, but not for many years. I guess the word still hasn’t gotten out to everyone.

Here is what the 2007 UL White book has to say:

Type SE— Indicates cable for aboveground installation. Both the individual insulated conductors and the outer
jacket or finish of Type SE are suitable for use where exposed to sun. Type SE cable contains Type RHW,
RHW-2, XHHW, XHHW-2, THWN or THWN-2 conductors.

#180814 - 09/11/08 03:51 PM Re: SER Cable [Re: KJay]  
Ralpha494  Offline
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 73
338.12 Uses not permitted
(A)SE Cable
(2) Underground with or without a raceway

#180817 - 09/11/08 05:11 PM Re: SER Cable [Re: Ralpha494]  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Which brings us back to stripping the cable off ....

Assuming the conductors are individually marked as to the insulation type, there's no violation. Nor is there any requirement that the ground wire be insulated.

However, it's likely that the individual wires are not marked - just the outer jacket. Remove the jacket, remove the listing.

Then there is the matter of aluminum in contact with the earth. Not allowed by code ... but is 'in the pipe' the same as 'in contact with earth?'

#180819 - 09/11/08 06:57 PM Re: SER Cable [Re: renosteinke]  
EV607797  Offline
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
Fredericksburg, VA, USA
Excellent subject resurrection. I've butted heads with inspectors in my younger days about this, but now that I've matured a bit, I see where I was wrong. My last argument with an inspector yielded the most logical answer. I couldn't seem to understand the harm in running 6/3 Romex in a conduit for a short distance to a detached garage.

His answer was fairly simple and it certainly shut me up on this subject forever. A conduit in the ground is never dry and Romex is not approved for wet locations. People really do go around with the misconception that glued PVC is water-tight. Nothing could be farther from the truth.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."

#180820 - 09/11/08 07:03 PM Re: SER Cable [Re: EV607797]  
sparkyinak  Offline
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,328
I can see the both sides of the argument. SE is not for sub subsurface use, xhhw is. What a paradox. smile

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa

#180822 - 09/11/08 08:24 PM Re: SER Cable [Re: sparkyinak]  
KJay  Offline
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
Just to be sure, I went and stripped off about 3-feet of jacket on some aluminum SE and SER cables I have in stock and I couldn’t find any markings on the individual conductors, not even a voltage rating.

It seems that stripping the jacket off SE cable and using the unmarked conductors in that manner would be on par with stripping the sheath off NM-B cable and using the unmarked conductors for wiring up a #2 fuel oil pump, because we are sure they are gas and oil resistant THHN insulation. laugh

#180824 - 09/11/08 09:54 PM Re: SER Cable [Re: KJay]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,142
If you set the way back machine to about a year ago you will see a thread I started about this. The #2 copper SER we had was marked THWN conductors on the jacket, nothing on the conductor. (I still have about 20-30' left over)

I am not sure what we decided here but the inspector didn't even blink. We were OK and off we went.

Greg Fretwell

#180826 - 09/11/08 10:46 PM Re: SER Cable [Re: gfretwell]  
KJay  Offline
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
Greg, I read the old posts. It sounds like something right out of a Three Stooges skit, with the golf cart and all the pushing and pulling.
I think maybe that inspector should hang up his spurs and go back to sawing roast beef at Arby’s. Around here, he would have gotten the “Paper Hat” award for letting that one slip by. laugh laugh

#180831 - 09/12/08 05:42 AM Re: SER Cable [Re: KJay]  
SteveFehr  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
Chesapeake, VA
Sounds rather like the health dept people who will let you add bedrooms to a house on septic, but you can't have any closets in the bedrooms.

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