Problem With PVC Housing Wires to Outside Electrical Box

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Old 10-05-14, 02:22 PM
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Problem With PVC Housing Wires to Outside Electrical Box

My wife and I recently bought a home in the Houston area and an inspector made us aware of a potential problem with the PVC pipe housing the electrical wires outside of the house running to the electric box. The PVC pipe has separated at one joint due to upheaval in the expansive clays in Houston. We were told that if the ground settled further pulling the PVC more it might damage the electric box.

So we dug a hole to try to loosen the PVC from the ground to try and reconnect the PVC. Unfortunately we are unable to unearth the entire length of the pipe in the ground to loosen it sufficiently and are unable to reconnect the PVC pipes.

Here are two pictures of the problem.

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I am new to being a homeowner and do not know how to fix this potential problem or whether it even is a problem. Are the wires in these pipes typically tight to where settling 6 or so inches would result in pulling the them from the electrical box and causing damage?

Any advice as to who to call (an electrician?) / whether to fix this problem would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
 
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Old 10-05-14, 02:44 PM
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This is something I see quite often.

You'll need to call an electrician. The meter will have to be pulled to see the amount of spare wire. He may have to call the power company to disconnect that line at the street so he can disconnect the wires at the meter and replace the short PVC pipe.

Water getting in the pipe won't hurt the wire but if it keeps pulling it could short in the meter.
 
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Old 10-05-14, 02:47 PM
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It looks like an expansion joint needs to be installed. The power company is going to need to get involved.
 
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Old 10-05-14, 03:56 PM
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Thank you both for the quick responses. That is what I guess (and had feared). It is good (and unfortunate) to know that it is a common issue. I will get an electrician to look at it soon.
 
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Old 10-05-14, 04:50 PM
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Is it just me or does that look like a sweep ell coming out of the ground. If so no way it can be buried 18".
 
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Old 10-05-14, 06:44 PM
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Is it just me or does that look like a sweep ell coming out of the ground.
It's not just you, Ray, the PVC conduit is not deep enough to satisfy code, but I would leave it alone. The OP needs to be aware that if doing any landscaping he should call for locates before digging especially now that he knows the service lateral is so shallow. In my area, expansion joints are required under a meter socket like that one. I am surprised the power company in Houston doesn't require them as well.
 
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Old 10-05-14, 07:11 PM
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Never seen an expansion joint here but never really looked. May be because the frost line is only a few inches.
 
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Old 10-05-14, 07:23 PM
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I've only seen the expansion joints required by inspectors here for like five years.
 
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Old 10-05-14, 08:15 PM
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IIRC Arlington has a slip fitting that connects directly to the socket enclosure.

Found it.
http://www.aifittings.com/catalog/mi...riser-fitting/
 
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