AC unit wired directly to Electric Meter

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  #1  
Old 07-31-11, 01:42 PM
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AC unit wired directly to Electric Meter

My air conditioner quit working. I called a repairman out and he said that he thought it was the capacitor or the motor but he can't work on it because who ever installed the AC unit wired it directly to the electric meter. So now we have to have some kind of disconnect installed so that he can turn the power off to the unit before repairing it. Is this something that a do it yourself person can do. I have a friend who does maintanence work for an apartment building but he is not a licensed electrician. Can't afford any of this so I am trying to figure out the cheapest way to go about this. Especially since the highs this week are supposed to be between 105 and 110. Need any kind of advice available!! Thanks!
 
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Old 07-31-11, 01:54 PM
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Do you really mean to the meter or to the breaker box. Very different problems. Shut off the main breaker. Does the AC stop? With the main breaker still off take the cover off the breaker box and post a clear picture of the inside. If no main breaker post a picture of your breaker box with the cover on and door open. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...your-post.html
 

Last edited by ray2047; 07-31-11 at 02:09 PM.
  #3  
Old 07-31-11, 02:01 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Like Ray, I doubt it is wired directly to your meter. There's no provision for this in a meter base. What you need, we can guide you correctly and inexpensively enough. Do as Ray suggested and send us pix of the breaker panel and the outside unit and the wiring. No close ups, please. We know what wire looks like.
 
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Old 07-31-11, 02:08 PM
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Maybe it's rigged on the utility side of the meter to avoid paying for it.
 
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Old 07-31-11, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by drooplug View Post
Maybe it's rigged on the utility side of the meter to avoid paying for it.
I was trying not to jinx him by even thinking that.
 
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Old 07-31-11, 05:18 PM
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Who is stupid enough to do something like hooking something to the utility side? You'd have to be really good or really lucky not to get killed. How would you access the utility side without removing the meter, and how would you attach it safely?
Can't wait for the pix.
 
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Old 07-31-11, 06:04 PM
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How did they even get into the meter in the first place? They wouldhave had to cut the seal(s).

Maybe it's rigged on the utility side of the meter to avoid paying for it.
A few people in my area are stupid enough to do that. I got a story an ec told me but ill wait.
 
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Old 07-31-11, 06:12 PM
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It is not hard to cut a seal. I do it all the time. In my area you do not have to call out the PoCo to pull the meter and do our work. WORKING IN THE METER IS NOT A DIY JOB!

To by-pass a meter is stupid and illegal. There is also no overcurrent protection.

I think a picture would be handy in this situation.
 
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Old 07-31-11, 06:14 PM
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AC unit wired it directly to the electric meter. So now we have to have some kind of disconnect installed so that he can turn the power off to the unit before repairing it.
Of course, we won't know for sure unless we get to see pictures, but I am thinking it's not really wired directly from the meter or there would need to be more than just a disconnect installed. Even the a-c technician would know that. That being said, I wouldn't be highly surprised either if it was wired from the meter, utility or customer side.

How would you access the utility side without removing the meter, and how would you attach it safely?
That's the point, there would be no safe way to do it, but I have seen a lot of things crazy people have done to get free electricty and nat gas. (NOTE: Not accusing OP of stealing electricity) The most common I have seen was simply...........never mind, no need to give anyone ideas.
 
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Old 07-31-11, 06:19 PM
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How did they even get into the meter in the first place? They wouldhave had to cut the seal(s).
I have yet to see a seal that could not be opened and then later closed and left looking as though it hadn't been touched. A lock on a meter is an entirely different matter. Legitimate contractors often cut seals for service work and then just call the power company to have the meter resealed.
 
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Old 07-31-11, 06:44 PM
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Original post at 1:42. Mom then logs off. First response 12 minutes later. I'll be surprised if Mom even returns.
 
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Old 08-01-11, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
How did they even get into the meter in the first place? They wouldhave had to cut the seal(s).
I haven't had a seal on my meter for at least 26 years. My electric is provided by the small municipality I live in, and evidently, meter seals aren't a priority. I have to read my own electric and gas meters, as my backyard is privacy fenced, and city policy prohibits meter readers from entering backyards with privacy fencing. Something to do with encountering unfriendly dogs.
 
  #13  
Old 08-01-11, 08:27 AM
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so the tap off the meter is unprotected from a direct short and bigtime fire hazard..now the question is it on the house side of the meter or the utilility side the receiver plate the meter locks into has no room for external wires...love to see a pix of this meter as it stands..if its on the utlilty side you have been clipping free power from the service company...:NO NO NO: if a licensed sparky comes in and sees that he will report it to the power company and not touch it so get ready
 
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Old 08-01-11, 08:38 AM
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I haven't had a seal on my meter for at least 26 years. My electric is provided by the small municipality I live in, and evidently, meter seals aren't a priority. I have to read my own electric and gas meters, as my backyard is privacy fenced, and city policy prohibits meter readers from entering backyards with privacy fencing. Something to do with encountering unfriendly dogs.
Lucky.
Our meters are self-reading and the poco knows immediately if the power fails, where it is, etc. An electrician told me when he pulls meters, they are there 5 minutes later to check it out.
 
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Old 08-01-11, 09:09 AM
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I'm betting one post and never heard from again. A shame because this is a very interesting post.
 
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Old 08-01-11, 09:41 AM
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There is also the possibilty that Mom is located in an area with an off-peak / demand response meter for the AC unit. Perhaps it goes directly to its own meter which may include some type of disconnect the repairman is not familiar with.
 
  #17  
Old 08-01-11, 03:46 PM
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Ooooh, Ben may have hit it. A demand meter for the A/C. Haven't encountered one in years, but very possible.
I sent a PM. From what I have read this is like cattle at a feeding trough and no feed.
 
  #18  
Old 08-01-11, 05:16 PM
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After I saw that Holmes on Homes episode with the grow house, anything is possible. For those who didn't see it, they bored through a poured foundation to reach the utility side of the meter on an underground service. Ran a billion electrical circuits from there to power their pot growing operation. This was a rental home. Turns out if the electricity was in the owner's name, she would have been responsibly for a fine of like $40,000.
 
  #19  
Old 08-01-11, 06:01 PM
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After I saw that Holmes on Homes episode with the grow house, anything is possible. For those who didn't see it, they bored through a poured foundation to reach the utility side of the meter on an underground service. Ran a billion electrical circuits from there to power their pot growing operation. This was a rental home. Turns out if the electricity was in the owner's name, she would have been responsibly for a fine of like $40,000
The episode was titled"Gone To Pot".
 
  #20  
Old 08-02-11, 05:13 PM
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I was thinking the same as ibpooks, separate demand meter.

In the house I grew up in all of the electric baseboards, the AC, the water heater, and electric furnace heater elements were on a second meter that was charged a different rate for usage.
 
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