How to seal Meter Socket

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  #1  
Old 06-30-15, 10:24 AM
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How to seal Meter Socket

I have a 10 year old meter socket that is allowing rain water to enter via the top hub cap plate. What is the NEC approved method to seal this plate?

Note it is a Murray socket and the plate is held in place with a single bolt and wing nut.

Thanks,

Tom
 
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Old 06-30-15, 11:20 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Is this an overhead installation or underground?
 
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Old 06-30-15, 03:10 PM
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It is an underground installation. One knock out in the bottom for service entry and one in the back into the house. I double checked and it's actually a Durham socket, but the top hub cap plate appears to be identical for both brands.
 
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Old 06-30-15, 03:23 PM
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I'm a little surprised the top is leaking as the hole is belled upward to prevent water from getting in under the cap. Is there a down spout, or roof line that is dumping water on the meter? If that is where it is leaking, the repair is straight forward, but extremely dangerous! Unless you get the power company out to shut off your service there is no way to disconnect power to the meter.

That aside, the fix would be to remove the cap, put a bead of silicone around the top hole, and reinstall the cap. While you are in there, look on the back for a screw hole that is missing a screw.
 
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Old 06-30-15, 03:31 PM
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There is no down spout near by and the meter is under a standard gable roof (thus no gutter on that side) that is two stories above it. I discovered the leak during a driving rain storm, the security seal was not on the socket so I looked inside and the leak was definitely coming from the hub cap plate.

You solution is what I thought the fix would be and is what I did, which fixed the problem. BUT my power company said that was not NEC approved?
 
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Old 06-30-15, 03:58 PM
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Maybe somebody else can think of one, but I can not think of any section in the NEC that addresses repairing a leak such as yours. In fact, I am a little surprised that the power company would even say something like that as they are not bound by the NEC. If the power company is/keeps giving you flack, I would suggest contacting your local inspector and see what they say about your repair. If they say it is OK then it is NEC approved.
 
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Old 06-30-15, 05:13 PM
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The socket may belong to the power company so what they say may be what you need to follow. There are blank covers for when a top entry is not used on meter sockets. You may need to go to an electrical supply house. The power company is going to need to be involved since the socket needs to be opened.
 
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Old 06-30-15, 05:51 PM
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Jim.... the pan is already open.

Power company is involved although I can't believe they're more interested in the hub sealing than why the seal was removed.

I've never seen a blank hub cover leak before but I'd silicone it too.
 
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Old 06-30-15, 05:57 PM
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I believe that I would use "dum dum", gray duct seal that comes wrapped like a chunk of cheese, available at your local hardware or big box, slice it off, and roll it into place. I may be wrong, but personally think that it "gives and takes", i.e. expands and contracts better, and has a longer useful life than caulk.
 
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Old 07-01-15, 05:19 AM
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First off thank you all for your detailed replies. Sorry, I left a lot of detail off of my original post for the sake of brevity.

I discovered the leak when I found some water in my breaker box. Further investigation revealed that it was coming in via the hub cap per above posts. Since I was always taught that the meter “box” was the power company’s property and homeowners were not to touch it, I called the power company. They came out on a Monday (while I was at work) and even though they could find no evidence of any water (it had been a few days since the driving rain), their solution was to pull the meter. When I got home and discovered this I got on the phone and after about an hour long argument (them wanting me to get an electrician to replace the entire socket and me wanting to just caulk the cap) they finally agreed to come out and restore the power. It was during the telecom that I was told caulk was not NEC approved – I suspected this was BS and they were just being jerks since they knew they were wrong for pulling the meter AND not calling me immediately to tell me they had done so. When the crew, two great guys BTW, came out to replace the meter I found out that in northern VA the power company freely issues the socket to the contractor for initial install but then it conveys to the homeowner so it is my responsibility to fix/replace it. The crew was very careful not to disagree with management so I could not get a straight answer on what the “NEC approved” fix was – thus the reason for my original post.

I do like the idea of using dum dum but will wait and see if the silicon solution holds.

Before posting I did search the NEC but could not really find anything on this subject. Could someone point me to the section of the NEC that covers water sealing?

Note: Home Depot carries replacement caps (Eaton Large Hub Closure Plate - Metering Accessory-ARP00016CHB - The Home Depot), but I did not discover this until after the socket was resealed and I don’t want to deal with the power company again to break their seal.
 
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Old 07-01-15, 05:31 AM
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I did think of one thing that would make it not NEC approved last night. I don't think silicone is UL listed, and therefore not approved by the NEC. Pedro's suggestion of duct seal is UL listed and therefore would be approved.

However, I have no problem using silicone and that would have been my fix placing a bead under the cover. I would suspect most inspectors would also approve silicone, and if they do, it would now be NEC approved as they are the AHJ.

I do like the idea of using dum dum but will wait and see if the silicon solution holds.
I think this is a good plan.
 
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Old 07-01-15, 07:09 AM
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I can't think of anything in the NEC that addresses water sealing other than non-specifc language like "use enclosures rated for the expected environment", which the meter socket is; "shall be protected from the elements", etc. Silicone caulk seems like a perfectly reasonable sealing method to me, after all it's on the outside of the enclosure, so why would UL or NEC care? It's really no different than painting. Silicone is specifically required to seal the unused plugged holes on bell boxes.

If the socket was rusted through and that was leaking or had been damaged by the water leak, then replacement would be the right approach.
 
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Old 07-01-15, 08:04 AM
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I would also use the duct seal over silicone caulk. If you get into another argument with the power company over this, ask them to point you to the section in the NEC that forbids using duct seal to stop a small water leak in a meter socket.
 
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