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Off topic - Electrical question

ChrisJ
ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,076
So,
Let's say you have a house with a 200A underground electrical service. The service line comes up the side of the house and into the meter.

And, let's say you want to raise this house a foot or two.
Are you allowed to use a junction box, or a device as a junction box BEFORE THE METER to extend the service cable so an entire new length doesn't need to be pulled?

What's the path of least resistance (not electrically speaking) that is likely code complaint in most areas to make this happen?
Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,150
    Worms, canned, homeowners, for the use of. You really need to talk to the power company and the AHJ on that one -- in many jurisdictions that's going to be their call. Checking several different power companies I get different answers.

    But I doubt very much that anyone would be happy with a junction box and splice.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    IronmanChrisJSTEVEusaPAreggi
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,955
    edited April 28
    That’s a local thing. 
    In NY that wouldn’t be allowed. The neutral is solid from the top to the panel thru the meter. 

    Just run new cable
    ChrisJ
  • Robert_25
    Robert_25 Member Posts: 410
    Chris, why can’t you just leave the meter at the current location? It would end up being lower relative to the house, but still same level from the ground - which is typically what the inspector will check.
    ChrisJDave CarpentierIronmanmattmia2
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,076
    Robert_25 said:

    Chris, why can’t you just leave the meter at the current location? It would end up being lower relative to the house, but still same level from the ground - which is typically what the inspector will check.


    I think that's actually what is going to happen, but was looking for other ideas and alternatives.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 247
    There would be a min/max height above ground for the center of the meter, depending on local codes. Running a new entrance lines will be $$ (for the wire) compared to lowering the meter and having electrician change the meter-panel short piece.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
    ChrisJ
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 502
    Only if the utility does it here (Chicago)

    "In an approved utility owned service splice box, where utility sized conductors are connected to conductors that supply
    customers service equipment and are sized to this chapter"
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
    ChrisJ
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,149
    That is a POCO issue. If you go online to your POCO web site and search around for "Service Requirements" you will probably find it. Every power company publishes these, and they are all different.

    Example:

    Some POCOs require conduit from the meter to the transformer at grade level or 10' up the pole if the power lines are overhead.

    Usually, the HO electrician runs the conduit, sometimes the POCO pulls the wire sometimes the electrician pulls the power.

    And then some POCOs will allow direct burial cable with no conduit underground (just sweep elbows on the ends)

    In most cases they will not allow a splice or a JB unless unusual circumstances like a long run to a transformer they may allow a hand hole box
  • JK_Brown
    JK_Brown Member Posts: 20
    The matter is entirely up to your electrical utility. They control everything from the meter out into the system. Likely you'd run into a max/min meter height, which you likely already meet so the meter would stay an a new home run from the meter to the service panel will be required.

    You electrician can advise, but they could put the main breaker outside, often required by current code for fire department access. This is a pro job as it requires proper placement of where the neutral and ground are bonded (if viewing from house side)/split (if viewed from the utility side).
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,356
    I had the opposite happen once. The house stayed where it was and the ground settled pulling the feeders from the meter socket. The utility insisted that the meter height stayed at the correct elevation. The solution was to convert to a tall "all-in-one" meter panel and have the utility splice the wire in their sealed portion of the unit. It is also not uncommon to splice underground utilities when they are accidentally hit.
    I would suggest setting up an onsite meeting with the power company to discuss possible solutions.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    ChrisJ
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,149
    @Zman

    That's the way the utility works. If they make a splice, it's fine. If the electrician tries to do that the answer may be no.

    They usually give you a range for the meter heights
    ZmanPC7060
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,500
    Honestly, this is just one more reason I really hate underground services.... 

    I know they look nice, but are often headaches. Especially when it is below zero and a neutral fails etc. 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,740

    Honestly, this is just one more reason I really hate underground services.... 

    I know they look nice, but are often headaches. Especially when it is below zero and a neutral fails etc. 

    I'm more thinking they have utility on a small lot that you want to get a garage on. I suppose you could also feed the service to the garage and run feeders from the garage to the house.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,624
    edited May 1
    In my jurisdiction the service wires to the meter panel are pulled by the power company at their cost and any sub-panel wires are my responsibility. Talk to your service provider's engineering dept.
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 247

    In my jurisdiction the service wires to the meter panel are pulled by the power company at their cost and any sub-panel wires are my responsibility. Talk to your service provider's engineering dept.

    Same here (Ontario), but only up to a certain length for "free" (there's still a connection charge but its reasonable). I think thats just for new connections though. Rewire due to homeowner changes might be different. Worth the OP checking through, it might end up cheaper than paying the electrician to move the meter base and swap out the meter-panel wire ? Plus refinishing the exterior cladding and trim to finish it, if needed.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,500
    Here in northern Maine, the electrician (me) is responsible for all the conductors in any underground. Overhead is all the poco will give you for free. 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,076
    Here in northern Maine, the electrician (me) is responsible for all the conductors in any underground. Overhead is all the poco will give you for free. 
    That's how it is here as well.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,336
    In many homes there is a externally mounted switch that cuts all the power to the home that the fire department will use. My home is equipped with such a switch. I believe it is because the circuit breaker panel is located inside a closet in the center of the home just opposite the laundry room. Hard to find in an emergency. That said, could you place a switch box where the service cable ends, then add a few feet of service cable between the switch box and the meter box. (or the other way around)

    But this may not be allowed by AHJ


    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,150
    Cedrics home has such a switch. Which annoyed me considerable when it was installed, as it also cuts power to the water pump... which the fire department would like to have... can't reason with the city slickers, though.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,076
    edited May 4
    @Jamie Hall The fire department doesn't have to turn it off.....


    In our case they use the hydrants  not my 3/4" water service.

    The same would go for the house in question which isn't mine.  Luckily my ol house doesn't see much water.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 188
    In many homes there is a externally mounted switch that cuts all the power to the home that the fire department will use. My home is equipped with such a switch. I believe it is because the circuit breaker panel is located inside a closet in the center of the home just opposite the laundry room. Hard to find in an emergency. That said, could you place a switch box where the service cable ends, then add a few feet of service cable between the switch box and the meter box. (or the other way around) But this may not be allowed by AHJ
    Who's responsible for the installation and maintenance/replacement for those things ? Is there any locking mechanism ? 
    Curious as I haven't seen these before and would be wary of having a on/off switch mounted as pictured
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,076
    reggi said:
    In many homes there is a externally mounted switch that cuts all the power to the home that the fire department will use. My home is equipped with such a switch. I believe it is because the circuit breaker panel is located inside a closet in the center of the home just opposite the laundry room. Hard to find in an emergency. That said, could you place a switch box where the service cable ends, then add a few feet of service cable between the switch box and the meter box. (or the other way around) But this may not be allowed by AHJ
    Who's responsible for the installation and maintenance/replacement for those things ? Is there any locking mechanism ? 
    Curious as I haven't seen these before and would be wary of having a on/off switch mounted as pictured
    It's probably not an issue unless you're at Camp Crystal Lake.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    GGross
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 188
    ChrisJ said:
    reggi said:
    In many homes there is a externally mounted switch that cuts all the power to the home that the fire department will use. My home is equipped with such a switch. I believe it is because the circuit breaker panel is located inside a closet in the center of the home just opposite the laundry room. Hard to find in an emergency. That said, could you place a switch box where the service cable ends, then add a few feet of service cable between the switch box and the meter box. (or the other way around) But this may not be allowed by AHJ
    Who's responsible for the installation and maintenance/replacement for those things ? Is there any locking mechanism ? 
    Curious as I haven't seen these before and would be wary of having a on/off switch mounted as pictured
    It's probably not an issue unless you're at Camp Crystal Lake.
    LoL... Never watched it (Google found it)
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,336
    @reggi This was code in my area because the circuit breaker box was not on the wall inside just opposite the meter. There is live service cable running thru the home even if i turn off the main switch at the breaker box. At least that is what my electrician told me. My neighbor, with a different model home, does not have this switch because his breaker box is on the same wall as the meter. Service cable from meter to main breaker is less than 5 feet of actual cable (2 ft as the crow flys). My service cable from the meter to the breaker panel is over 30 feet.

    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • Gary Smith
    Gary Smith Member Posts: 402
    When I had my main panel moved to accommodate a new drain pipe last year, the electrician told me I needed per NEC an exterior disconnect between meter and main panel if the distance between meter and main panel was greater than 4 feet.

    Maybe the answer to that OPs question, as suggested above, is to leave the meter as is, raise the house and install new conductors, and disconnect if needed, between meter and main panel.
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,149
    The 2020 NEC (which some but not all states have adopted) Now requires an "emergency disconnect" or "main service switch" outside the building.

    Thís is for firefighters' access. I believe it applies to single family and two-family buildings.

    Some states have adopted the 2020, MA has

    CT is still on the 2017

    Other states are still on the 2014 or even the 2008

    The question of whether it is an emergency disconnect or a main disconnect has caused untold confusion with the grounding and bonding issues concerning services and sub panels (which the existing panel in the house becomes if a switch is added)

    All because the idiots on the code making panel screwed up the wording
    ZmanSolid_Fuel_Man
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,076
    Are firefighters allowed to pull the meter in emergency conditions?

    I'm going to assume not.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,740
    ChrisJ said:

    Are firefighters allowed to pull the meter in emergency conditions?

    I'm going to assume not.

    I don't really see why not if it is a socketed meter.

    @reggi This was code in my area because the circuit breaker box was not on the wall inside just opposite the meter. There is live service cable running thru the home even if i turn off the main switch at the breaker box. At least that is what my electrician told me. My neighbor, with a different model home, does not have this switch because his breaker box is on the same wall as the meter. Service cable from meter to main breaker is less than 5 feet of actual cable (2 ft as the crow flys). My service cable from the meter to the breaker panel is over 30 feet.

    The nec requires the service equipment be as close as practical to where the service enters the structure. I assume your "switch" is actually a panelboard with an appropriately sized breaker that feeds the other panel as a subpanel. This rule long predates the 2020 change. I would have to look up the exact wording.

    Then there is a house my grandparents had where the power lines were moved from the road to behind the house and it had service cable running through the attached garage to the meter at the front of the house.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,150
    I can see the need for an outside, accessible main disconnect for the fire fighters, particularly if the main disconnect otherwise would be some distance away in the structure as @EdTheHeaterMan mentioned.

    It is, however, an obvious target for tampering so ideally would be locked -- but if it is to serve its function the fire department would have to have a key to a lock on it, but the homeowner would also have to have the same key... it starts to get very complicated!

    In Cedric's case, the nearest fire hydrant is 2 and a half miles away, but the building sprinklers are powered by the water pump which the fire department would turn off when they killed that outside disconnect, which doesn't seem particularly helpful (even my building inspector thinks it's ridiculous, but the local fire marshal -- who's slogan is we've never lost a foundation, required it). Despite there being, 2 feet away also outside, the generator transfer switch, and literally a foot away on the other side of the wall the main 200 amp fuses serving the property.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,076

    I can see the need for an outside, accessible main disconnect for the fire fighters, particularly if the main disconnect otherwise would be some distance away in the structure as @EdTheHeaterMan mentioned.

    It is, however, an obvious target for tampering so ideally would be locked -- but if it is to serve its function the fire department would have to have a key to a lock on it, but the homeowner would also have to have the same key... it starts to get very complicated!

    In Cedric's case, the nearest fire hydrant is 2 and a half miles away, but the building sprinklers are powered by the water pump which the fire department would turn off when they killed that outside disconnect, which doesn't seem particularly helpful (even my building inspector thinks it's ridiculous, but the local fire marshal -- who's slogan is we've never lost a foundation, required it). Despite there being, 2 feet away also outside, the generator transfer switch, and literally a foot away on the other side of the wall the main 200 amp fuses serving the property.

    How many GPM does your water pump do?


    Back to the main disconnect.
    I know very little about the subject, so I might ask silly questions.

    When a house is on fire and there's smoke pouring out from windows etc, do firefighters enter the structure trying to locate the main and shut it off?

    Under such conditions I would hope the firefighters safety is the first priority.


    Are firefighters allowed to, and trained to pull the meter? Because under such conditions it seems that would be just as easy as unlocking a door and hitting a switch next to the meter and it would work on 100% of structures rather than just those retrofitted.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,955
    edited May 5
    Our local departments have volunteers that are electricians, so they pull the meter if needed. In case of a major fire usually the transformers on the pole blow due to the load and puts the area in darkness.
    ChrisJ
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,150
    In answer to @ChrisJ 's question on the water pump -- 20 gpm at 60 psi in the house. The well will produce that for 12 hours (tested). More than enough for the sprinklers...

    The ideal arrangement, of course, would be to have the well pump on a separate circuit, unaffected by the main shutoff. However, that gets surprisingly complicated... and, for historical reasons, wasn't done when the new well was activated in 1960 and the elevated gravity water tank (24,000 gallons) was removed. The original pump was on its own power company drop and meter, about 700 feet away (and was that power line a class A headache...!).

    As with so many things, there really isn't a good one size fits all solution which covers both rural and farm properties and suburban and unban properties.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,955
    edited May 5

    In answer to @ChrisJ 's question on the water pump -- 20 gpm at 60 psi in the house. The well will produce that for 12 hours (tested). More than enough for the sprinklers...

    The ideal arrangement, of course, would be to have the well pump on a separate circuit, unaffected by the main shutoff. However, that gets surprisingly complicated... and, for historical reasons, wasn't done when the new well was activated in 1960 and the elevated gravity water tank (24,000 gallons) was removed. The original pump was on its own power company drop and meter, about 700 feet away (and was that power line a class A headache...!).

    As with so many things, there really isn't a good one size fits all solution which covers both rural and farm properties and suburban and unban properties.


    @Jamie Hall
    Madison Sq garden has a Tank in the ceiling to collect rain water. Its hidden by the center score board. This tank has 3 pumps. 2-electric 1-Steam driven in case of an extended power outage.

    Just a thought! :)
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,149
    You are allowed to lock a service disconnect in the "on" position to prevent tampering as far as I know. All fire fighters carry bolt cutters and an ax and can pull a meter or cut a lock
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,955
    I don’t know about that. LOTO yes, Locked On?

    agreed with grinders and Jaws of life a non issue but seconds count!
    reggi