Main service cable - cracked sheathing

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  #1  
Old 07-31-07, 12:53 PM
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Main service cable - cracked sheathing

Hi - We're buying a house and recently had an inspection done. The inspector made a note about the main electrical service cable sheathing being cracked along its entire length outside. Inside, in the electrical panel, there was some evidence of corrosion. The seller has had an electrician look at this and the electrician has said there is no problem. My question is this - is a cracked sheathing on the outside cable a big deal? Would the entire cable need to be replaced and is it a big job (in other words, is it expensive)? Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 
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  #2  
Old 07-31-07, 01:08 PM
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Is there any way you can upload pictures to a file sharing site like yahoo pictures? This is something I would need to see before I could give advice.

If you can visually see metal through the cable insulation, then it absolutely needs to be replaced. Some surface cracking in the outer jacket may be normal. If only the service entrance cable needs to be replaced it is probably not a big job; however the wire itself may be rather expensive depending on the total length and material (copper or aluminum). Due to the nature of the live power connection, the replacement should only be done by an electrician.

When you say there was evidence of corrosion in the main panel? How much and where? A little surface rust on the metal box is no big deal unless it was caused by a bigger leak which may have also damaged other components. Corrosion or arcing on the bus bars, on the other hand, is a really big deal.
 
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Old 07-31-07, 01:39 PM
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From your description I would say you need a whole new service.
I come across this all the time and it is a very typical situation for older services. Cracked SE cable insulation and corrosion/rust inside the panel.
The cable becomes a "wick" for water and it flows into the panel/breakers.

The electrician who said it is no problem is a fool.
 
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Old 07-31-07, 02:07 PM
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Hi - Thanks for the replies. I didn't see the cracked sheathing myself because I hadn't arrived yet (and unfortunately I was the one with the camera) - so I don't have a picture. From what I understand, there is metal visible in the crack, but my boyfriend believed it to be part of the sheathing, not the electrical wire itself (although he's not an electrician). I do have a picture of the panel, however, where the corrosion is:

http://s102.photobucket.com/albums/m117/number7fan/?action=view&current=IMG_1437.jpg

Our inspector had the same thought - water has possibly seeped in through the crack and made it to the panel.

Thanks again.
 
  #5  
Old 07-31-07, 02:24 PM
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Address this issue now. Work it into the purchase offer and be willing to negotiate. If the seller won;lt pay for it to be fixed, offer to split the cost with him or her. Do this by offering more money as part of the purchase price, with a requirement that the work be done.
 
  #6  
Old 08-03-07, 11:27 PM
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The cracked sheathing is a symptom of isulation breakdown and is potentially dangerous. I don't care what that that electrician said, If I were you I wouldn't buy the house until it is replaced by a qualified licensed electrician. Why is insulation breakdown dangerous? Because it is corroding from the inside out. There is moisture between the wire and the insulation and over time it is cooking, causing the insulation to become brittle alas the cracking and flaking off which leads to exposed wires the potential of touch one another and you wouldn't want that to happen. Why do I say don't listen to their electrician? Because 1) The seller is too cheap to spend the money to replace it and is not concerned for your safety and 2) That electrician isn't the one sleeping in that house and may not be an electrician at all.

Trust the home inspector on this one and don't commit until the problem is corrected, by qualified licensed electrician with a filed permit for an inspection by code enforcement. People selling a house can be schiesters and would pay a crack head to do it because he's cheap and will attempt to hide the mess.

Last thing, trust your instincts. If you noticed the damage then that should be a sign. Like the saying goes " If it quacks like a duck" Pass on it if they refuse and continue your search for a safe home.
 
  #7  
Old 08-03-07, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kjb0710 View Post
The seller has had an electrician look at this and the electrician has said there is no problem.
Reading this over again, this seller has lied to you and I would recommend that if you really want to buy this house, you should have a reputable electrician survey and inspect this home for hidden hazards that a home inspector would miss by being outside his scope of expertise. If it's a service change it should run about $1000.00 to $2000.00 depending on the needs and requirements. As a licensed master electrician, knowing the consequences, I don't understand why one would fathom the thought of compromisiing their family as well as themselves well being and personal safety. Their shouldn't be any negotiating this, either correct the problem properly or loose the sale. Never trust a seller, you hired a home inspector for a reason, for yours and your families safety. If sellers were honest, there would never be home inspectors.
 
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Old 08-04-07, 05:31 AM
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I don't think I would condemn the whole home, and the seller, over this issue. I think calling the seller a lier is a bit presumptuous.

Other than the main breaker the panel actually looks in good shape. This is not to say I would not replace the whole panel. If the main got wet chances are the other breakers did as well, along with all the outside equipment.

To be honest, if this were me I'd buy the home as it is and not ask the seller to fix anything. Look at your inspection report and see if there is anything else that raises an eyebrow.
As Racraft said, try to work out a deal for part of the cost to replace the service and have your own electrician do the work.
 
  #9  
Old 08-04-07, 12:53 PM
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Speedy is right, my comment was rude and un-called for. I was out of line and would like to apologize for my statement. I mean no disrespect. Where I live, there is a lot of deception taking place as far as the electrical goes. Once again, I apologize for coming off as a jacka$$ to anyone I may have offended.
 
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