Safety at power service entrance

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Old 07-17-11, 04:28 AM
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Safety at power service entrance

Hi,

I'm painting the exterior of my house and would like to SAFELY wedge the 2 drop loops of the insulated power cables out of the way while I work at the ridge end facia where the insulator is connected. Calling the power Co. to cut off power seems awful expensive and inconvenient for this rather small job. I'm not making light of the dangers, just asking if it can be done safely. Thanks for your input!
 
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Old 07-17-11, 07:30 AM
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Sure, it usually can be done safely, but it's impossible for us to see what you are up against without some pictures to see exactly what you have.
 
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Old 07-17-11, 10:05 AM
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Wish I could do pictures but don't have the means. Simple attachment of the tension wire to the roof peak facia board and 2 insulated and 1 ground drip looped down in the way of the uppermost slats that need to be painted. Drip loops to the grey cable which run down the facia board and down the siding to the meter. Not very complicated but just need advice on the right equipment to move the drip looped cable in case of insulation failure. Thanks
 
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Old 07-17-11, 10:11 AM
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As long as the insulation is in good shape and the connectors are well insulated, I'd think that a 1x4 slipped behind could move them out of the way a few inches. I'd also be sure to use a fiberglass or wood ladder, and I'd probably also attach the paint brush to the end of a stir stick so my hands don't need to go near those wires at all.

All that said... I probably wouldn't go near them regardless. I've been "bitten" by a 15A 120v circuit before, I have no interest in feeling what a 240v 2000A (or whatever the transformer is fused at) feels like!!!
 
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Old 07-17-11, 12:39 PM
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Do heavy rubber gloves/ boots and a fiberglass ladder provide any added protection? Insulation looks good but you never know. My idea is to take some 1X3 about 15 inches long and and cut a notch in it and wedge it between the siding and each wire giving me about 15inches to get a roller up there. Right now I have only about 6" of clearance.
 
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Old 07-17-11, 01:01 PM
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Any advice on this forum aside from calling the POCO to release the power is dangerous, especially if you don't do it for a living. Expensive??? So what? They could use the savings to bury you, I guess. Coordinate with them and they won't have to make a return trip.
 
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Old 07-17-11, 01:17 PM
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How much do they charge for that? I thought they did that as a courtesy. I had the option to have it shut off when I had my service upgraded, but my electrician said he didn't need it. No one ever mentioned a fee for it. Him, the POCO, or the local building dept.
 
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Old 07-17-11, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by montrose View Post
Do heavy rubber gloves/ boots and a fiberglass ladder provide any added protection? Insulation looks good but you never know. My idea is to take some 1X3 about 15 inches long and and cut a notch in it and wedge it between the siding and each wire giving me about 15inches to get a roller up there. Right now I have only about 6" of clearance.
DO NOT USE any non-rated rubber gloves or boots as they will give you a false sense of safety. Since rated gloves and protectors (the leather gloves that MUST be worn over the rubber gloves) are fairly pricy AND need to be periodically certified no homeowner is going to buy them.

Your service is only 120 volts to ground or 240 volts between the two insulated conductors. There is no way that the electricity is going to "jump" any distance, even 1/4 inch at that voltage. I personally would just use a ladder and paintbrush and BE CAREFUL when painting close to the wires.
Then again, I used to work in a power generation facility and had to work near energized 26,000 volt transmission lines on occasion.
 
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Old 07-18-11, 01:11 PM
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Some power companies will do a disconnect/hookup for free as long as you have a good reason (you do). It would be worth giving them a call.

A fiberglass ladder is always a good idea. Gloves can't be relied on protect yourself touching live conductors, but they won't hurt either. I would avoid directly touching the wires. Many people who get shocked contact through an arm, back, shoulder, head, etc (not the hands) because they are not aware of where their body parts are. Gloves don't help with that.

You can use an insulating material to manipulate the wires like a piece of PVC pipe. Be cautious and attentive and you will be fine.
 
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