Power Line to Home Ripped Off Walls

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  #1  
Old 12-10-13, 10:07 AM
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Power Line to Home Ripped Off Walls

Hi All,

Not sure where to post this, but thought this was the most relevant forum.

My home is located in Maryland and at 4AM on Sunday evening heard a loud crash during the ice storm and lost power. Turns out that a large tree branch had fallen on the power line from the pole to our home, knocking out only our power. Upon investigation in the morning I discovered that the anchor had been ripped right from the outer wall of our house and the line was just hanging, draped over our garage roof.

The damage was relatively substantial. A good-sized hole (four feet long by one foot wide) in the side of our house where the original wood walls, foam insulation sheets, and vinyl siding were ripped off. A shutter was torn off the side of our house, and the line to the meter was also nearly torn off.

We have a contractor coming out later this week to repair the hole and siding and then have to have an electrician install a new anchor and hook-up the power meter. Finally, the electricians have to get a permit from the county and contact the power company to work with them to install new lines and get us power again.

Long story short, after getting the main power line ripped off of our house, we're looking at at least 4 or 5 days without power and the coldest nights this area has seen in a couple of years approaching. 13 degrees, 11 degrees, and 15 degrees are forecasted overnight the next 3 nights.

Without power for that length of time I'm worried about plumbing etc. Is there anything we can do to warm up the home or prevent issues in the meantime? Has anyone else experienced this before?

Thanks so much for any help/advice! Pictures at bottom.

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  #2  
Old 12-10-13, 10:28 AM
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If you have oil or gas heat you could wire in a small generator to run the blower on the furnace and have heat as per normal. Other option would be kerosene heaters and fireplace. Last option would be to drain pipes
 
  #3  
Old 12-10-13, 11:56 AM
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Please be careful - this is dangerous

I like the SMALL generator idea. However be careful not to overload it and please be careful to run it OUTSIDE. That exhaust gas KILLS!!!! I've also had the good fortune of a good neighbor with an outside outlet where I could connect a heavy duty extension cord.

Tony
 
  #4  
Old 12-10-13, 01:37 PM
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Where are you in Maryland? In my experience you could temporarily tie the service drop to part of the structure and would still have power.

A generator needs a transfer switch or interlock device unless it is powering things using extension cords.
 
  #5  
Old 12-10-13, 01:49 PM
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How did you come up with the 4 or 5 days?
Is there still power on at the house? If so leave it on, do the repair first.
I've done 2, that looked just like that on old houses, both where repaired in one day better then they where before.
Sure looks like just attached it the old 1 X 6 sheathing, not into a stud or some form of blocking .
There should also be a siding block where it attaches to the side of the house not just through a hole in the siding.
 
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Old 12-10-13, 05:03 PM
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Is there still power on at the house? If so leave it on, do the repair first.
The OP said:

Turns out that a large tree branch had fallen on the power line from the pole to our home, knocking out only our power.
Pcboss has the best temporary solution, better and safer than a generator.

pcboss

Where are you in Maryland? In my experience you could temporarily tie the service drop to part of the structure and would still have power.
Almost all power companies will work with the electrician to get the homeowner temporary power when extreme weather conditions exist. Meanwhile, the power companies do not usually have the responsibility to trim or remove trees endangering the service drop to a house, that's usually the homeowner's responsibility. I'd suggest you also get a tree company out there to be sure you don't have another unexpected outage.
 

Last edited by CasualJoe; 12-10-13 at 05:39 PM.
  #7  
Old 12-10-13, 05:10 PM
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In a situation like that, I'm sure you can find a reputable electrician who will do the work and follow up with a permit. Many locales will allow that kind of work to be done, especially since it's just a repair (and not new construction).

Has the POCO come out to look at it? After Sandy, the power company was doing temporary installs for people as they fixed their infrastructure. They would do their permanent connection to the house and let the electrician come back later and fix the actual service drop.

As another temporary alternative, how close is your neighbor? Some heavy duty extension cords might get you a little power (but be careful to not overload them).
 
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Old 12-10-13, 05:17 PM
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Around here if the POCO sees a service disconnected from the house they will kill it..... period !
Doesn't matter if the electrical part is connected still ...... if the hook is out..... they shut it off.

Ask your electrician if he can supply you with a generator. I do it for my customers if my generators aren't all out. I actually bring a generator with every service change.
 
  #9  
Old 12-11-13, 09:04 AM
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Your repairs should include an upgrade to a well anchored rigid mast & weatherhead. It costs more but the idea is to have the utility's wires break rather than rip out your wall.
 
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Old 12-11-13, 09:30 AM
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The SE cable is widely used in that area and serves well. The issue was the lack of structure holding the anchor point. A branch could still rip a mast of the wall without enough support.
 
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Old 12-11-13, 06:06 PM
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Your repairs should include an upgrade to a well anchored rigid mast & weatherhead.
I'll have to agree with Pcboss on the use of SE cable, it is perfectly acceptable by the NEC and widely used in many areas. I prefer a conduit riser, but a riser is not necessary to meet code. A riser can be EMT conduit, IMC conduit or PVC conduit and doesn't have to be rigid conduit.
 
  #12  
Old 12-12-13, 07:14 AM
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You guys don't feel that a rigid riser can offer more support than the typical single glass insulator?

This same thing happened to me a couple years ago & I could see that the SE cable could cause a fire if one of the clamps was solid enough to bite through the insulation.
 
  #13  
Old 12-12-13, 07:27 AM
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It all comes down to the amount of strength the underlying structure can support. One utility would require mast anchors to be into bracing inlet into the studs. Hard to do with a finished wall in place.
 
  #14  
Old 12-12-13, 08:08 AM
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Hi All,

Thank you so much for your responses! For some reason I didn't get any emails about them coming through and am just reading them now.

I will definitely be sure to get a well-anchored rigid mast & weatherhead. Electrician is out there today doing the repairs.

The biggest pain in this whole thing was the coordination required: insurance company, contractor to do the outside work, electrician to do the mast & weatherhead, inspection by the county, tree removal, and power hook-up.

One of those things where I didn't really think about the line to the house until it was taken out by the storm. I'll want to do everything I can to make sure it stays in next time, so I'm having the tree removal company remove the entire tree instead of just the branches.

Been very cold here, but got to say my insurance company was awesome in getting everything approved quickly (without even seeing estimates first), covering up for weather, and covering lots of different issues.
 
  #15  
Old 12-12-13, 10:11 AM
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You guys don't feel that a rigid riser can offer more support than the typical single glass insulator?
The riser doesn't support the service drop, it's supported by the insulator (house knob) or just by a hook by some power companies. The total support depends on how the insulator is installed, but as Pcboss already mentioned, additional bracing is hard to do with a finished wall. That being said, if this were a rigid conduit mast through the roof, the mast would provide the support.
 
  #16  
Old 12-12-13, 10:17 AM
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Given that the picture looks like the service point is already well above the clearance requirements from the ground there is no real reason to go through the roof.
 
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