Moving elec drop to replace siding. Any cautions?

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  #1  
Old 04-06-11, 09:20 AM
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Moving elec drop to replace siding. Any cautions?

I've posted the following in another forum but additional input is always a good thing.

I'm preparing to install vinyl siding and soffits which will require me to temporarily move the electrical drop. I'd like to know what is considered safe practices for this operation? I have an extra wedge clamp and there looks to be enough room to attach it to the messenger aft of the one currently installed. At that point I can easily block-n-tackle it free keeping it at the same height while also swinging it a couple feet away from the corner of the house giving me room to comfortably install the siding. This should allow it to be done with no more contact of the drop other than that of the messenger and wedge clamp but I'd still like to know how wary I should be of getting anywhere close to the conductors prior to the point where they're insulated by wrap?

Should also ask while I'm at it -- Anyone know what would be the recommended method of reattaching the insulated portion of the drop to the vinyl siding might be? Re-installation of the galvanized hook anchor poses no water barrier or expansion concerns unlike that of the vertical anchoring points.

Cheers!

 
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Old 04-06-11, 03:41 PM
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You would probably have to have an electrician temporally disconnect this in cooperation with the power company. Moving that drop is not DIY job. By the time the line fuses burnt through on the primary side you would be fully cooked.... if they even burnt through.

Please note your post has been moved to the Electrical Forum.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-06-11 at 06:29 PM.
  #3  
Old 04-06-11, 04:53 PM
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That's a big time risk.....STAY AWAY.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 05:13 PM
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I have had the power company come and partially drop the loop while the siding was replaced.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 06:27 PM
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Thanks for all the replies!

Yikes! Cautions galore! It seems to be consensus that this isn't a DIY procedure. I did call the POCO today and was advised that for $427 they'd come by and provide me a 4 hour window to get the siding/soffits replaced. Was hoping for more time than that considering this is my first vinyl install which also includes wrap and windows.

Should also mention it was pointed out to me that I have the older three wire drop and it would be wise to request the POCO upgrade to a single conductor. I mentioned this to them in hopes that I could cut costs by killing two birds with one stone but all they offered is that they are in the process of upgrading the older drops in the county but stopped short of making a "deal". Guess I'll call around to some local electricians and see if any will do a temp relocation giving me a day or two to get the vinyl work done.

Cheers!
 
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Old 04-06-11, 06:34 PM
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Should also mention it was pointed out to me that I have the older three wire drop and it would be wise to request the POCO upgrade to a single conductor.
If you had a single conductor you would have no power. Do you mean cable. The cable would still have 3 conductors. But I have never heard of cable being used for a drop. Do you mean underground?
 
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Old 04-06-11, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
If you had a single conductor you would have no power. Do you mean cable. The cable would still have 3 conductors. But I have never heard of cable being used for a drop. Do you mean underground?
Oops! You are correct, good catch. Yes, the house does run on AC not DC.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 07:09 PM
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I think the OP means they have 3 separate conductors instead of the newer triplex cable. On older drops you had a 3 insulator anchor for the drop from the POCO.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 07:10 PM
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Anyone know what would be the recommended method of reattaching the insulated portion of the drop to the vinyl siding might be? Re-installation of the galvanized hook anchor poses no water barrier or expansion concerns unlike that of the vertical anchoring points.
Galvanized hooks aren't used in this area. Here the typical installation is to have the wedge clamp hooked on an insulator with a lag screw securely lagged into the framing or in some cases, a lead anchor in masonry.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
I think the OP means they have 3 separate conductors instead of the newer triplex cable. On older drops you had a 3 insulator anchor for the drop from the POCO.
But his picture shows triplex.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 09:58 PM
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And to clarify (as best I can) it was only explained in as much as I'd have only one point of attachment (possibly conductor cables run all the way to the box ?) as opposed current triplex setup (2 conductors (spliced)/1 messenger). Not 100% sure of the particulars.
 

Last edited by golem; 04-06-11 at 10:23 PM.
  #12  
Old 04-06-11, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CasualJoe View Post
Galvanized hooks aren't used in this area. Here the typical installation is to have the wedge clamp hooked on an insulator with a lag screw securely lagged into the framing or in some cases, a lead anchor in masonry.
That quite possibly could be what they are incrementally migrating to. This housing development is c.1965 and a quick peek at neighboring homes show they have the same galv hook connection. Hopefully we'll see very soon what the latest code is.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 11:11 PM
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Hopefully we'll see very soon what the latest code is.
The drop isn't governed by NEC. It is the power company's rules. The messenger is a conductor. The two insulated wires are the 240v supply to your house.
possibly conductor cables run all the way to the box ?) as opposed current triplex setup (2 conductors (spliced)/1 messenger). Not 100% sure of the particulars.
Not really relevant to your original question but if you want to know the particulars read on. The messenger is a grounded conductor from the center tap of the transformer that supplies the 240v. The grounded conductor or neutral as it is usually called is used with either one of the 240v conductors to provide 120v.
 
  #14  
Old 04-07-11, 01:45 AM
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Thanks for the insight ray2047!

Good to know that what I assumed was simply a guy wire for support, the messenger (aka ground/neutral), is actually an integral part of the AC circuit. I was aware of the two separate 120v but in error reverted to my DC ways, simply thinking earth ground. This additional insight gives me pause in any attempt to tackle this myself. After seeing it performed once with all the proper precautions I might think it DIYable but feel leaving the unfamiliar to the pros, for now, a wise choice.

It's very likely that after seeing the job done it will have been in reality quite simple and straight forward that I'll be a bit miffed at myself for paying hundreds of $$$ for such an easy job. That said, I do realize that one "naive" mistake could mean unimpeded amperage having it's way. A wise man knows when he's worth more alive than dead!
 

Last edited by golem; 04-07-11 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 04-07-11, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
But I have never heard of cable being used for a drop.
I never did either.. Until I saw my neighbor's drop made of old fiber wrapped SE... Gives me the heebies knowing the poco hooked that up.
 
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Old 04-07-11, 09:06 AM
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That is an outrageous price for what they're doing, but the power company really must do the job. In my area only the power company can modify the drops, not even an electrician, but they do it for free. The major safety issue here is that the service drop line has no fuse or breaker so any kind of accident with that line will end in an arc fire.
 
  #17  
Old 04-07-11, 12:09 PM
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Something I forgot to mention earlier is that while talking to the POCO yesterday and mentioning I might do it myself because of their "outrageous" price not a word was said to the effect that I could not (legally) nor should I not attempt it for safety concerns alone. Guess they figure it's idiots beware!

Anyhow, I called around this morning to some local electricians and so far the best price for temporarily moving the service drop and placing it back a day or two later is $175-$195 via phone estimate.
 
  #18  
Old 04-07-11, 03:25 PM
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The major safety issue here is that the service drop line has no fuse or breaker so any kind of accident with that line will end in an arc fire.
Especially if you live where lots of houses are on 1 xfrmr, the drop will melt at my house with the xfrmr feeding 14 houses.
 

Last edited by Justin Smith; 04-07-11 at 03:37 PM. Reason: correct # of houses
  #19  
Old 04-07-11, 06:03 PM
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But I have never heard of cable being used for a drop
I've seen it using tray cable, but it wasn't utility wiring. It was outside plant wiring feeding a construction trailer city.
 
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Old 04-07-11, 07:57 PM
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I've seen it using tray cable, but it wasn't utility wiring. It was outside plant wiring feeding a construction trailer city.
I hate when I see that, but sometimes I can't help but laugh. Why not something like sow?
 
  #21  
Old 04-08-11, 05:04 PM
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Don't think SOW would be approved for industrial cable trays or stringing overhead between poles. Tray cable seemed to fit the bill rather well.
 
  #22  
Old 04-11-11, 10:03 AM
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Thanks again for the additional replies!

The saga continues...
Since last posting I've had 2 Cert Master Electricians come by to bid on temporarily moving the drop and both have declined the work. Each stated that the wiring looks too brittle at the weather-head to attempt any movement. It was suggested I go with the POCO disconnect service for $427 due to safety concerns.

Now, here is where I'm not sure which way to deal with them. I currently have an old style fused service panel in the home and probably should go with a heavy-up replacement. Do I do this upgrade and try and work-in the siding replacement when the POCO comes to splice in the heavy-up OR, based on the pictures I attached, might I have another avenue.

As can be seen the service drop is much too low. Over the lawn area it is barely 9' clearance while over the middle of the public street it clears by 13'1". Due to these below-code heights the drop has been hit on numerous occasions by passing bucket trucks, the POCO once even had to come and re-secure the hook. This has me wondering, should I attempt to convince them that it is due to those instances that the service lines are in such poor shape at the head? Even if this is possible could I be opening a can of worms? I fear the only way to gain additional clearance would be through the installation of a service mast meaning much more work.

Any opinions or insight appreciated.

 
  #23  
Old 04-11-11, 12:05 PM
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Let's see some pictures of the meter and how the existing conduit (or is it SE cable?) connects. There are just too many problems with what you currently have to suggest an easy fix. I think that the least expensive would be to have an electrical contractor remove the existing from the service drop to the meter and then install a proper conduit through the roof (with appropriate flashing) and a proper backstay and then have the utility re-connect to the new mast/conduit. A competent electrician should be able to accomplish this in a half-day or less. It would most likely require a permit and inspection from the governmental agency overseeing electrical work. It is possible (but perhaps unlikely) that this could be accomplished with little actual power outage depending on the accepted practices of the utility and electrical contractors in your area.
 
  #24  
Old 04-11-11, 12:28 PM
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Wow that's a really bad service drop. It's obviously too low over the street and yard, it may be too close to the second floor window, and that tree is growing right into it.

I would consider moving the drop to the right corner of the house (near the phone/CATV drop) if you can get good enough ground clearance; or put a rigid mast up through the right corner of the roof and lash the drop to that. You can then run the rigid pipe down the right corner of the house, under the second floor cantilever, and right into the existing meter/panel setup. The meter may need to be moved depending on the power company policy.

I'm surprised the drop survived a truck hit.

added:

3' clearance any direction to an openable window
10' ground clearance to the lowest point of the drip loop or attachment
12' ground clearance over general residential property, walks or drives
18' ground clearance over public roadways
 

Last edited by ibpooks; 04-11-11 at 12:34 PM. Reason: added clearances
  #25  
Old 04-11-11, 02:33 PM
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Appreciate the feedback!

I've attached a picture of the fiber-sheathed SE cable before and aft of the meter which is located just inside the carport.

The tele/CATV cables were at one time also anchored next to the service drop but they decided, after numerous repair re-installs, to relocate appropriately. As for the possibility of deciding to mast, considering I intend to remove all the existing Masonite siding in prep for vinyl it could make access to an in-wall install simpler as only the sheathing would require removal. In lieu of this I'd have no problem with the drop being relocated to the other side of the 2nd story and having conduit run as required. ...Just happy to entertain all options.

Cheers!
 
  #26  
Old 04-11-11, 05:49 PM
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I would personally replace it, If my poco would crack all of the fiber off, they would probably tape it with dollar-store tape or say it is your problem.
 
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Old 04-11-11, 05:55 PM
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or [PoCo would] say it is your problem.
Good point and they might refuse to reconnect.
 
  #28  
Old 04-13-11, 07:53 AM
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Like the guys above said, if somebody from he electric company sees that your SE cable is beyond what tape can fix then they may disconnect you and call the wire inspector. In that case you will be forced to spend more money. Your equipment has to be safe in order to get power and since two electricians said it wasn't then I would bet that your power company will agree with them. They should be able to raise that drop from the street for free since that's their problem.
 
  #29  
Old 04-13-11, 10:57 AM
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If in your area it is common for electrical contractors to disconnect and re-connect to the utility's service drop (it isn't in my area) then it would be a simple matter for contractor to disconnect the type SE cable from the service drop and remove the SE cable. Then they would install a proper conduit mast from the top of the meter box through the roof (with proper roof flashing) and a proper weather head with new service conductors. This would need a permit and inspection.

In your area it may be that some contractors are authorized to re-energize service drops without first obtaining the proper inspection although a subsequent inspection will take place in a few days. After the inspection the utility will then raise their service drop wires and such should be done at no charge in my opinion but your utility may still have a fee.
 
  #30  
Old 05-12-11, 07:39 PM
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Hey guys! Thanks for the additional replies. Sorry for not responding earlier but have unfortunately been sidelined for a bit.

I've not made any further inroads towards resolution but thought I'd address a couple of your helpful followups.

@Justin Smith
I shutter to think they would all be the same, but.......I'm beyond being surprised.

@ray2047
Good point (back at ya!). Definitely something to contemplate.

@JA1982
I'm not sure the local electricians deemed it "unsafe" (as is) as much as "unwise" to do any major manipulation of the weather weary cabling. But I am a glass half full type of guy.

@Furd
From what I have gleaned the power can only be interrupted by the POCO. My biggest unknown at this point is what it'll take to gain ground clearance spec. Local suggestions have run the gamut from "get the POCO to simply pull the line tighter" to "relocation" and/or "mast installation". I'll be sifting through these options in the coming weeks.


Again, much appreciate all the insight provided. I'll be sure to post an update upon decision/completion.

Cheers!
 
  #31  
Old 05-13-11, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by golem View Post
My biggest unknown at this point is what it'll take to gain ground clearance spec.
As long as your attachment point meets code (10' - 12') the rest should be the power company's problem. They can mount it higher on the pole or pull it tighter if necessary. Also I'm not sure if it's optical distortion in the picture or is that pole really bent that much toward your house? The bend may account for so much sag in the service drop. The pole may very well need to be replaced too, but again that's their problem.
 
  #32  
Old 05-13-11, 04:18 PM
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As for the possibility of deciding to mast, considering I intend to remove all the existing Masonite siding in prep for vinyl it could make access to an in-wall install simpler as only the sheathing would require removal.
I doubt the power company would allow unmetered power to be enclosed, most won't. Besides, I wouldn't want unprotected service entrance wiring inside my wall.
 
  #33  
Old 05-13-11, 04:22 PM
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Joe is correct. Code will not allow unfused wires inside the wall of a building. (With the exception of the shortest route to the main overcurrent device.)
 
  #34  
Old 05-14-11, 04:57 PM
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Thanks again for the replies!

@ibpooks
Good astute eye there! I really hadn't payed much notice to the pole lean. Just went out and measured a 5 tilt after the point of bend. Estimate it to be 18"-24" at the point of attachment. This does provide me additional ammo if I choose to open up the POCO can-of-worms.

Can also add that the weatherhead is at 13' while the anchor point is 13'5".

@CasualJoe & Tolyn Ironhand
I hadn't researched much about mast installations and made my assumptions based on casually viewing pictures. Appreciate the learning! Out of curiosity & additional knowledge - "If" a mast were needed at the present location (though unlikely) would it be possible to keep the conduit confined to the soffit and above while having only SE run the remaining length to the meter or would the conduit have to extend the full vertical length of that portion of the service?

Cheers!
 

Last edited by golem; 05-14-11 at 06:01 PM. Reason: sp
  #35  
Old 05-14-11, 06:22 PM
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I think the mast must go all of the way to the meter pan. After the meter pan you can switch to se cable.
 
  #36  
Old 05-14-11, 07:32 PM
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Can also add that the weatherhead is at 13' while the anchor point is 13'5".
You are plenty high, it's a power company problem now. They can either fix their pole or set another pole closer to your house.
 
  #37  
Old 05-16-11, 07:29 PM
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Thanks guys!

Gonna make some calls this week and see if we can't get the ball rolling...again.
 
  #38  
Old 11-13-11, 10:31 AM
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Update!

It's been a couple months since I finally had the electrical work completed. Since then I've been busy installing the siding & windows, having the chimney rebulit, and performing a complete renovation of the lawn hence my delay in updating.

Instead of paying my PoCo $425 to turn off the power (for their predetermined 4 hour time frame) I hired a local licensed electrician to perform a 200amp heavy-up for $1500 parts & labor (The local big name elec companies wanted $3600+ for 150a and $4200+ for 200a). After the inspector signed off the PoCo stopped by 3 weeks later and replaced the service drop. With that replacement they also managed to get the drop from the old droop height of 9' to a code height of over 13' by simply adjusting tension.

The upgrade allowed me to comfortably shift the SE/weatherhead out of the way so I could install the vinyl siding and soffit. Made all the difference being able to move it when and for what period of time I required. In the image below the SE's not yet 100% secured to the house as I still have some soffit work to do on the lower areas.




Thanks again for everyone's input, cautions and guidance.
 
  #39  
Old 11-13-11, 11:28 AM
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Glad it worked out. Your solution was really the best. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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Old 11-14-11, 09:12 AM
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Looks good! Glad you got it all done before winter.
 
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