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#92397 03/15/05 08:18 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,294
A local inspector told me that he wanted me to protect (with conduit) a #2 Grounding Electrode Conductor that I ran about 4' on the outside of a house. He insisted that anywhere it was visible, it was subject to severe physical damage.
After I asked him if PVC80 would be OK with him, he told me that PVC40 would be fine, or if I preferred, Nonmetallic Flex or ENT (smurf tube) would be good.

I thought he was nuts at first.

What do you make of it?

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#92398 03/15/05 08:24 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
Schedule 40, OK. Smurf tube, never. It is not approved for exposure to UV.

Here is the 2002 NEC on the subject: "250.63(B) Securing and Protection from Physical Damage.
A grounding electrode conductor or its enclosure shall be securely fastened to the surface on which it is carried. A 4 AWG copper or aluminum or larger conductor shall be protected if exposed to severe physical damage. A 6 AWG grounding conductor that is free from exposure to physical damage shall be permitted to be run along the surface of the building construction without metal covering or protection where it is securely fastened to the construction; otherwise, it shall be in rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, rigid nonmetallic conduit, electrical metallic tubing, or cable armor. Grounding conductors smaller than 6 AWG shall be in rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, rigid nonmetallic conduit, electrical metallic tubing, or cable armor.

#92399 03/15/05 08:38 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 494
Just write this guy off as another ALARMIST. that conductor is no more subject to severe physical damage as the 999999999999 KABILLION other conductors that have been in service for longer than he has been alive!

He is another one of those GODS who probably gets a kick out of scaring little old ladies with unlikely scenarios that he has dreamed up...

i say he is more of a hazard than the wire.

just for kicks, i would use a section of 3/4" RIGID mounted on some unistrut!



[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 03-15-2005).]

#92400 03/15/05 09:24 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline
So being "visable" is subject ot physical damage? Maybe if it were subject to vandelism, or traffic.... If he's OK with smurf tube for this, he just might let you slice it down the side and slip it on too.

New Inspector?

Electure, you'll love this.... Here in the land of "we wrote our own book", and no its not actually written down in there either. Most commercial services say 600a or more, in say a limited access indoor room is considered subject to physical damage, you'll get the demand for EMT or rigid steel, with "steel threaded or compression fittings". (As die cast or set screw fitting allow un-nessesary impedance in the conductor. All fifteen of them took the same grounding seminar years ago, and no-ones heard the end of it yet.) I have learned to have the book in reach if done other-wise. Sometimes I just do it to avoid the 20 minuite debate about it. As you have said once or twice before its design vs. code, or something to that effect.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
#92401 03/15/05 10:28 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233
Just my 2 cents, but if was on a residential house, I don't see the big deal, however if it was in a public area (Street or park or building open to the public) Then I might consider it. I have seen where kids (who were bored) ripped apart a beautiful wooden shack (that they used to get in from the cold when ice skating), and use it for fire wood piece by piece until the town had to knock it dowm. Now the town doesn't allow and ice skating there anymore.

#92402 03/16/05 01:11 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 167
By his own statement he contradicts himself. If it is subject to severe physical damage, then the only one ( of the ones mentioned) that is ok is sch 80.

meanwhile back to reality, stapled (secured) out of the way - no problem

down low where the grass is up by the house, then we might have a problem with trimmer

unfortunately, it is a SUBJECTive call. sorry about the pun

What about when you open the panel?? it's now visible. Do we have to protect it?

Larry LeVoir
City of Irvine, CA
#92403 03/16/05 05:20 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,044
Tom Offline
I've always hated statements such aas "exposed to...." This requires judgement on the part of the inspector and since some of them don't have much, if any, backround in electrical work, they can go overboard. Unfortunately, I'm not clever enough to come up with more positive language.

If the GEC is secured in place, I wouldn't worry about severe damage, after all, anything that can cause severe damage to a #4 or larger copper conductor is likely to damage the structure also.

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
#92404 03/16/05 07:46 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,294
My stance was the same as the rest of you.

The inspector is an old pro and an IAEI member that's always seemed reasonable before.

He explained the reasoning, and I was more than happy to comply. Like I said, at first I thought he'd gone nuts.

This is in a not-so-good neighborhood. Any visible piece of copper is stolen nearly as quickly as it's installed. Ground rods are cut off in the belief that they're solid copper. The wooden moldings are torn off of utility poles, and the ground wires are cut off.
"If that isn't severe physical damage", he asked, "then what is?"
His solution to this is to sleeve any exposed copper with conduit so that it appears to be "doing something", and doesn't offer recognition to the thieves. Apparently it has worked, because he said the buildings that have been done this way haven't had the GECs ripped off. [Linked Image]

How are you gonna argue with logic like that? I think it's a great case of thinking "outside of the box", and suits the purpose just fine!

(I didn't use smurf tube......just because of UV [Linked Image])

[This message has been edited by electure (edited 03-16-2005).]

#92405 03/16/05 08:40 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline
Yeah, now I can see it! Simular things happen here (in certain neighborhoods) with just about all kinds of things getting stolen, or just plain messed with. Motion sensor lights usually get hit with a bat. An exposed water shut off is an invitation for someone to shut it off. Likewise for main cb's.

As for copper theft... I did a stint in Somalia, and not a single piece of wiring was left in any building there. We did our own 480, 208/120v and field phone distribution on poles and they would climb up at night and cut them down live. So we buried it, and they would dig it up. Copper is like gold in some countries. (For that matter so is a tin roof)

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
#92406 03/16/05 08:58 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 494
Ok so he may not be an alarmist..but i would say that vandalism is a job for the police!

Maybe a sign that says DANGER! High Voltage! Oh that would not work for anyone who cant read ...maybe a pictograph?



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