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Grounding


Savoy
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I know this has been hashed out before and I know that I have read about this on a forum somewhere but humor me, look at these photos and give me your thoughts.

On this old home the first photo is of the Service Entrance Conductors. Aside from the lack of a drip loop you will notice that the covering is deteriorated and the wires are bare.

The second photo is a close up of the neutral and you can see that there has been some arching and sparking.

The wires are only inches (Maybe two) above a metal rain gutter. The rain gutter has metal downspouts that are secured to the siding. You guessed it, the siding on the home is also metal and the closest it gets to the ground is maybe 24 inches. I went to an electrician today to ask him about grounding the metal siding. He was not there but the journeyman electrician (I guess he was a electrician in training) did not think it was needed and that the bonding between each panel was probably not sufficient to do any good if it was grounded.

The siding seemed to be secured and each panel seamed to me to have good contact with the panel both above and below.

My questions are:

1. Should this metal siding be grounded, and are the metal siding panels sufficiently bonded to each other?

2. I am used to seeing Federal Pacific Panels everyday with the stab loc breakers. On this same home there is a panel that I have not seen in my area before. It was a Federal and then below it read "Noark". This panel was only rated for 70 amps and was outdated, but is this panel a sister company of Federal Pacific or/and does it carry the same concerns as a Federal Pacific?

Thanks, there is no hurry on the answer, the report is already sent this is just for my info.

Jon

Sorry folks, I accidentally placed this in the HVAC section and don't have a clue how to move it over to the Electrical section.

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Originally posted by Savoy

My questions are:

1. Should this metal siding be grounded, and are the metal siding panels sufficiently bonded to each other?

Jon, my first instinct is to say that the real problem is the proximity of the wire to the gutter, which is a horrible location for a service entrance (that's a very odd looking arrangement to start with). I think I would have gone after it entirely from that angle and ignored any possibilties of adjusting to it (i.e., "Fix it"). If the client were silly enough to stay with it, he'd be on his own.

If I were considering grounding the siding for any reason, I would tend to think it would have enough bond to work for the most part. If you touched a hot wire to one place, I wouldn't want to ground myself in another.


2. It was a Federal and then below it read "Noark". This panel was only rated for 70 amps and was outdated, but is this panel a sister company of Federal Pacific or/and does it carry the same concerns as a Federal Pacific?

FPE was just "Federal Electric" at first, often just "Federal" on the panel. The "Noark" is undoubtedly an ironic name given to a particular series or style, referring to "no arc". Hah! FPE, "no arc"....right. There's a good article over at the "Code Check" site on the subject, written by Douglas Hansen.

Don't worry about the location, I'm sure Mike will take care of it when he sees it.

Brian G.

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From here, it sure looks like the A and B leg have arced to the neutral at some point in the past.

One other comment, and then an additional question.

(Comment) Modern standards call for service drops to have a minimum of 18" clearance from the roof structure, on any roof with a 4/12 or greater pitch. On a flatter roof, the clearance requirement increases to 8 feet (I think).

(Question) Will the local utility company correct this for no cost? I've seen in print many times that the electric company is responsible for the conductors (in residential) up to the weather head.

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Originally posted by Savoy

On this old home the first photo is of the Service Entrance Conductors. Aside from the lack of a drip loop you will notice that the covering is deteriorated and the wires are bare.

The second photo is a close up of the neutral and you can see that there has been some arching and sparking.

I presume that the your first recommendation was to replace the SEC.

The wires are only inches (Maybe two) above a metal rain gutter. The rain gutter has metal downspouts that are secured to the siding. You guessed it, the siding on the home is also metal and the closest it gets to the ground is maybe 24 inches.

And there's a nice, grounded chain-link fence only a few feet away from the siding.

I went to an electrician today to ask him about grounding the metal siding. He was not there but the journeyman electrician (I guess he was a electrician in training) did not think it was needed and that the bonding between each panel was probably not sufficient to do any good if it was grounded.

If there's a requirement to bond siding or gutters, I'm completely ignorant of it. I'm not at all familiar with lightning protection systems, but it might be included there.

BTW, a "journeyman electrician" is a fully qualified electrician, not a trainee.

The siding seemed to be secured and each panel seamed to me to have good contact with the panel both above and below.

I imagine that, if you were to energize the siding and ground it, there'd be sparks everywhere as contacts were made and broken all over the place. Might be an interesting experiment. . .

My questions are:

1. Should this metal siding be grounded, and are the metal siding panels sufficiently bonded to each other?

I doubt it either way. I'll stick my neck out and say there's no requirement for bonding. If you did want to bond the siding and gutters, you'd have to attach a wire to every piece. The snap-together connections were not designed for their electrical properties.

The overarching point, of course, is the deteriorated SEC. Once it's replaced, the siding discussion becomes moot.

2. I am used to seeing Federal Pacific Panels everyday with the stab loc breakers. On this same home there is a panel that I have not seen in my area before. It was a Federal and then below it read "Noark". This panel was only rated for 70 amps and was outdated, but is this panel a sister company of Federal Pacific or/and does it carry the same concerns as a Federal Pacific?

Same beast.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Thanks for the information.

This was really an easy inspection. The home was located in a small coal mining town and is a repo. I was contacted by the bank to find out what type of condition the home was in and provide a photo log and report.

The electricity was off at the home at the time of the inspection and while I was there the local gas company came and placed a notice that if the bill was not paid they would shut the gas off by the 11th. When they came through the home and saw that it had been trashed and vacated they allowed me to run the furnace through a cycle and then shut the fuel off early. Saved them a return trip.

While I was on the roof looking at the Service Entrance my mind just got to looking at all the metal around and wondered if grounding all this metal would be appropriate or if it is required. I could picture some ugly things happening. I do have to admit that while I was looking at all the metal I did overlook the obvious that Konrad referred to, the clearance above the roof.

Thanks

Jon

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