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#206232 - 06/08/12 01:20 PM Taped Service Entrance Wire  
Flux  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 14
NJ, USA
Hi,

Is it normal for a house to have a taped up service entrance ? The service entrance both below and above the meter housing is taped on a house I'm trying to purchase. The owner says that her electrician finds no fault with the installation.

-John


2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides

#206233 - 06/08/12 02:17 PM Re: Taped Service Entrance Wire [Re: Flux]  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
While ECN doesn't muck like "how do I do it" type threads, you're instead asking 'does this sound right?'

I've done plenty of service installations. Whether the new or the old one I was replacing, the only places I've ever seen 'tape' (meaning rubber with adhesive) is around the roof jack boot and the splice connection to the power company wires.

If by 'tape' you mean the perforated metal strapping that plumbers use, I have yet to see a power company specification that would allow you to use it. Things need to be firmly anchored directly to the building structure.

Trying to purchase, and the owner says ..... Gee, a property owner talking out their ***? Even lying, maybe? What is this world coming to?

When I was looking at houses last year, the tales I was told would make a statue blush. I was shown houses with major structural failures that 'just needed a little work.' I was shown properties whose titles were defective. I was shown properties where the listing did not match the legal description of the property.

And. yes, I've know 'sweet little old ladies' who had all the ethics of a rabid pit bull with AIDS.

That's why there are 'home inspectors.' For all their faults, there is a real need to have an informed opinion.

BTW ... bet her 'electrician' is lacking in such minor things as licenses. Tell her: Names and numbers, please.


#206234 - 06/08/12 02:25 PM Re: Taped Service Entrance Wire [Re: Flux]  
HotLine1  Offline


Member
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,833
Brick, NJ USA
Good afternoon & WELCOME to ECN.

A deteriorated jacket on SEU is an issue, and should be addressed. Wraping it with tape is IMHO not a 'fix'.

Your house inspector should pick this up on the home inspection & write up same.

Depending on what utility company area this is located in, the utility inspectors have the authority to deem it unsafe and inform the owner that replacement is required or the electrical service will be terminated by them.

As an AHJ, I would inform the HO that it is 'unsafe' and requires attention of a NJ Lic EC, along with a permit & inspection.

As it sounds (by your words) that it is old, you may also want to look at the grounding & bonding, and more than likely the panel.

This is not something that should be addressed by 'an electrical handyman', but a licensed professional.



John

#206235 - 06/08/12 02:26 PM Re: Taped Service Entrance Wire [Re: Flux]  
HotLine1  Offline


Member
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,833
Brick, NJ USA
Reno:
You typed faster than me.

I think he means the outer jacket of old SEU.



John

#206236 - 06/08/12 02:46 PM Re: Taped Service Entrance Wire [Re: Flux]  
gfretwell  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,087
Estero,Fl,usa
Put that on the punch list of things you want fixed correctly before you buy the house. That is a contractor job, not a handyman job since they will need a permit to cut the meter seal in most places. It is not a huge deal fixing it but a failure is a fire. There is no overcurrent protection on those wires and nothing to stop the arcing until the power company arrives.


Greg Fretwell

#206237 - 06/08/12 03:41 PM Re: Taped Service Entrance Wire [Re: Flux]  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Having worked a large part of my life in real industry, having learned the trade in Chicago, having worked for decades in Reno, Nv ....

What is SEU? laugh

I completly forgot that most places allow it; I've never done a service that wasn't in real pipe. Even now, relocated to NE Arkansas, I just couldn't do my own house with anything but pipe.

The inspector had never seen a GEC in pipe before, either, and I had a very hard time finding pipe wrap tape .... but those are other stories ... smile


#206238 - 06/08/12 04:29 PM Re: Taped Service Entrance Wire [Re: Flux]  
Flux  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 14
NJ, USA
Thanks for the welcome, longtime listener, first time caller.

It sounds like the home owner is not receptive to the idea. But I have to keep pushing it as a concern. The issue that I'm having is that I'm not sure if anyone will flag this as an issue (legally, even though you would think otherwise), but at the same time I'm concerned for the safety issues and want it fixed.

The main panel board is new(er) and does not have any evidence of an electrical inspection. It's only bonded to the water service past the meter towards the street. The water heater does not have a proper jumper installed either and there is no ground rod installed anywhere on the property.

I was looking for an opinion from the forum on the state of this and I'm very appreciative of your responses. The property is thought to be late 50's early 60's construction and there has been obvious updating that was done on the down low. While it all looks neat and orderly, it's like they missed major updates to the codebook.

Thanks again for your responses, they are greatly appreciated.

I also have had the house inspected and the inspector did mention the electrical in his findings while doing the inspection but kinda glazed over it a little. One of these, (Well it works) kinda attitudes. I'm still waiting for his official report.

Last edited by Flux; 06/08/12 04:33 PM.

#206239 - 06/08/12 04:38 PM Re: Taped Service Entrance Wire [Re: Flux]  
George Little  Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,489
Michigan USA
For the opposing view, I'd argue that if an electrician re-applied the insulation via tape, I'd be hard pressed to write a violation. There is no shock hazard, the water can't get into the meter box through the SE cable and albeit a patch job it's safe.

I would not do it only because it would be a reflection on my standard. If the insulated conductors within the cable showed signs of damage, then I would be more concerned.

The safe bet would be to replace the cable for sure.

What is SEU cable? My understanding is that a long time ago (back in Greg's Time) SE cable used to have an armor on it to prevent people from stealing electricity. It evolved to an un-armored cable hence: SEU (Service Entrance Unarmored)


George Little

#206240 - 06/08/12 05:18 PM Re: Taped Service Entrance Wire [Re: Flux]  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
We've got two discussions going.

On the technical side, you've had responses as to the suitability of the service.

More important is the 'business' side. This is where electricians run from realtors; we know all too well that the 'horrible' things we find will become perfectly acceptable the moment a deal is struck.

The seller isn't about to fix anything; for them, it's all about price- and time. Otherwise, no promises, no guarantees, and complete ignorance will be claimed over every unpleasant surprise. Yup, it's perfectly reasonable to expect YOU to live in a house that's falling down.

Indeed, the discussion begins to resemble the Monty Python skit about the dead parrot ("He's not dead, he's sleeping" ... "But he's nailed to the perch!")

You have to face every flaw with two questions:
1) Is it a deal killer?: and,
2) What's it worth to me?

You need to keep in sight YOUR goals, and be ever ready to WALK AWAY. Right up to the moment when you hand over the check.


#206241 - 06/08/12 05:49 PM Re: Taped Service Entrance Wire [Re: Flux]  
HotLine1  Offline


Member
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,833
Brick, NJ USA
Flux:
Please send me a PM or email with the town that this is located in.

Also, if you have a pic of it, put it up here in the photo gallery.

I'll be unavailable here till Saturday nite.

Last edited by HotLine1; 06/08/12 05:50 PM.

John

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