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Service conduit attachment


Chris Bernhardt
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344.30 Securing and Supporting

RMC shall be installed as a complete system in accordance with 300.18 and shall be securely fastened in place and supported in accordance with 344.30(A) and (B).

(A) Securely Fastened RMC shall be securely fastened within 900 mm (3 ft) of each outlet box, junction box, device box, cabinet, conduit body, or other conduit termination. Fastening shall be permitted to be increased to a distance of 1.5 m (5 ft) where structural members do not readily permit fastening within 900 mm (3 ft). Where approved, conduit shall not be required to be securely fastened within 900 mm (3 ft) of the service head for above-the-roof termination of a mastid="brown">

As far as I can decipher, it doesn't need any supports as long as the conduit isn't longer than 10' from the meter up the wall and thru the roof.

Most homes I see aren't close to this length. Maybe a two or three story multi-family building would have a 10' or longer conduit.

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lol....thanks for the call Chicago. Got me while watching American Idol...lol

Actually I figured while it was at a commerical I would pop on and elaborate....if the piping system we are speaking of is Rigid conduit is 3' or 5' depending but as home inspectors I would not worry about code actually and just make sure you see a support within 12" of the mast head and within 3-5' of the meter enclosure.

and other than a thru the roof mast setup.....lets say it is just a side of the house design that is lets say EMT as well then it would be the same technically...remember 3' is minimum but 5' is allowed in specified allowances but again HI's should steer away from code so basically 3-5' would be considered safe.

If you are talking about PVC running up the side then support it within 3' of the meter enclosure and supporting depends on the size of the PVC.....

Basically the long and short....see that it is supported within 3-5' of the meter enclosure and then every 3-5' up to the mast head and within 12" of the mast head and you should be fine.

Ok...back off to American Idol

P.S. If you are speaking of SE Cable then support within 12" of the meter enclosure and every 30 inches and 12" from the connection point on the mast cap.

P.S.S - Let me know if you would like me to get more technical on a specific support length...for the vert. supports between the points i have already listed.

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Well I guess I have another question.

If the mast has been without proper attachment for 30 years and weathered wind storms and earthquakes and has otherwise stood the test of time, any course of action after educating the client that attachment is recommended under the electrical code should be looked on as an improvement not a safety hazard, right?

Is it in need of immediate attention so to speak or can it just be suggested to improve it as part of planned maintenance and upgrading so to speak?

Chris, Oregon

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I guess that question comes down to the HI itself, The support requirements are a safety standard as it would be also for GFCI on the counter top as a safety suggestion. No one dies from electrical shock UNTIL they actually die from electrical shock.

A house stands for decades until it burns down......all kinds of things like that.

This is why I gave the supports from the meter enclosure and the support at the mast within 12" is basically because of the safety element of the mast coming down if the messenger pulls loose...you have to account for that a well.

If they have poor supports but DO have the 12" one and the proper support from the meter enclosure then I would not elevate it higher than marginal but think about the situation if their is no support at the meter enclosure and it is SE Cable....if it pulls away it could BIND the SE Cable and cause a short...whats actually protecting that SE from the inside OCPD to the pole...not MUCH....

Personally I think improper supports are a CHEAP fix and a needed one regardless of the age.

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This is one of the problems that frustrates me in this business. Many things take time to develope and can be easily caught during a normal home inspection but somethings particularly electrical can fail for reasons not even proximate at the time of the inspection.

When they do fail it can be castastrophic and serious damage or injury can occur or even death.

Something as simple as an attachment strap could be all that stands in the way of some unfortunate event.

What I stuggle to find is appropriate language to educate the client without scarying the holy be geebuz out of them.

I wrote it up like this

At the left side of the garage the service conduit is without any attachment straps and the service drop connection was made above the weather head. Both conditions should be repaired now by an electrician to restore a measure of safety that the electrical code intended.

What do you think? too soft?

Chris, Oregon

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Nothing really wrong with that statement. I would probably leave off the part about the intent of the electrical code but your message is given and as we know...at this point it is up to the client to make that choice down the road as to IF they want to have it fixed.

SO in the end you did your job, make them aware in a manner you clearly stated was needing to be addressed NOW...without causing overdue alarm and you did it in a tactful way...

Sounds fine to me.

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Hi,

Simply put, it's classic inspectorspeak gobbledygook. Plus, you don't say how far the connections are from the weatherhead. They can be above the weatherhead if they are within 24 inches and you've got a drip loop.

Say something like:

The service conduit above the electric meter at the (cardinal direction please) side of the garage isn't securely attached to the house. It could be damaged or might short out in the event of a storm. Have a licensed electrician correct this now.

If it's more than 24 inches from the connections, say something like:

At the (cardinal direction please) side of the garage, the point where the service conductors attach to the house is too far away from the weatherhead and the service conduit above the electric meter isn't securely attached to the house. This is a concern because, by regulation, the attachment point must be within 2 feet of the weatherhead and the conduit must be secured to the house at proper intervals. So this won't be damaged in a storm, have a licensed electrician correct both of these issues now.

Paul, I think you meant to say "undue" alarm. I think inspectors need to stay away from worrying about whether what they say is going to cause alarm and should stick to the facts.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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It was determined that, through no fault of his own, and having been subjected to years of abuse at the hands of techno-jargon babbling engineers, that Mr. Bernardt liked to write in inspectorspeak. It is recommended that he keep practicing.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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So, there was no immediate support problem & you still find the need to report a deficiency. The current code requirement is nice to know for current standards of practice, but if it has stood the test of time & shows no signs of deterioration why report? I'm not a code historian & do not know if this was accepted practice at the time of construction. Reciting code is dangerous because you don't want to give the appearance of being a code guru. My advice would be to keep it simple & avoid overinspecting. My question would be (to all others), what if the service entrance conduit failed tomorrow (with no signs today), would I be at fault that I didn't note it's noncompliance with current safe building practices? There is a lot of grey area in Home Inspection, I assume this is another example. I'm still new to this arena, forgive my ignorance.

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The requirement to securely attach the conduit/mast to the structure is not a new one. The "test of time" argument will do you no good when it was supposed to be properly attached decades ago. To answer your question - if it failed tomorrow due to the lack of a bracket, and you didn't note it in your report, any lawyer you consulted would tell you to fill out two checks - one to the injured client and one to the lawyer for the 10-minute consult.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Originally posted by NewInspector

So, there was no immediate support problem & you still find the need to report a deficiency.

There's no support. That's a problem.

The current code requirement is nice to know for current standards of practice, but if it has stood the test of time & shows no signs of deterioration why report?

Because it's unsafe?

I'm not a code historian & do not know if this was accepted practice at the time of construction.

You don't have to be a code historian to see that a piece of conduit waving in the breeze isn't adequately supported.

Reciting code is dangerous because you don't want to give the appearance of being a code guru.

You don't want to do anything in your business that gives the impression that you're something you're not. That said, there's no reason why you can't judiciously cite code sections now & then as references to back up your opinion. The notion that doing so will cast your soul into a pit of liability is pure bunk. It comes under the heading of "useless crap that they feed you in home inspection schools."

My advice would be to keep it simple & avoid overinspecting. My question would be (to all others), what if the service entrance conduit failed tomorrow (with no signs today), would I be at fault that I didn't note it's noncompliance with current safe building practices? There is a lot of grey area in Home Inspection, I assume this is another example. I'm still new to this arena, forgive my ignorance.

I don't see this as even a little bit gray. There's a mast with no support. If you say nothing and it falls, I call that gross negligence.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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