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SEC splice


Wayne Gardner
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In a 31 year old house, I found this SEC splice lying on the garage ceiling, in the attic, right next to the pull down attic access.

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The IRC says...

E3505.3 Spliced Conductors. Service-entrance conductors shall be permitted to be spliced or tapped. Splices shall be made in enclosures or, if directly buried, with listed underground splice kits....

It appears they came up about 6-8 feet short of getting to the panel. Just wondering what the repair choices are? Will they need to have a new SEC installed which makes it all the way to the panel or is there an enclosure which can be installed in the attic (junction box?) to enclose the splice....or, have I got this all wrong.

Thanks for your help.

Wayne G

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Is the panel the service equipment? Because that's the way you seem to be describing it and, if so, both the NEC and IRC require it to be "nearest the point of entrance of the SECs". Even without the air-splice (right next to the attic hatch...sheeesh!), you can't run service entrance conductors across a garage or attic to the panel.

Now if it's SE cable being used as a feeder from outside service equipment to an interior panel, then I believe that would be OK, but the appropriate splice would have to be made inside an appropriate box. And the cable needs to be moved away from the hatch where people are likely to be tossing crap or stepping on it.

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Is the panel the service equipment? Because that's the way you seem to be describing it and, if so, both the NEC and IRC require it to be "nearest the point of entrance of the SECs". Even without the air-splice (right next to the attic hatch...sheeesh!), you can't run service entrance conductors across a garage or attic to the panel.

Now if it's SE cable being used as a feeder from outside service equipment to an interior panel, then I believe that would be OK, but the appropriate splice would have to be made inside an appropriate box. And the cable needs to be moved away from the hatch where people are likely to be tossing crap or stepping on it.

Richard,

It's the feeder from the meter to the panel, running through the attic. I appreciate your help. I will recommend an electrician review and properly stow/cover the splice in an appropriate enclosure. Thanks.

Plummen - Thank you.

Wayne G

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Wayne, please review Richards posr regarding the difference between an unfused service cable needing to be "as short as practical" and a feeder cable that can run hundreds of feet in a dwellling.

When you said from the meter to the panel it sounds like a service cable.

Either way the splice needs to be made in a properly sized junction box.

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Wayne, please review Richards posr regarding the difference between an unfused service cable needing to be "as short as practical" and a feeder cable that can run hundreds of feet in a dwellling.

When you said from the meter to the panel it sounds like a service cable.

Either way the splice needs to be made in a properly sized junction box.

Right Jim; service cable. Wrong term used. Sorry for the confusion and thank you for the response.

Wayne G

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What Wayne is describing is common in older homes around here; I've never see a service cable splice in an attic.

I question whether that splice is original , which makes me wonder what someone was doing up there. Maybe some smart individual tapped in at this location with the idea they wouldn't be charged for the extra use of electricity? Hey, doesn't that mean there was a grow op. on the property?[:-party]

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Wayne, please review Richards posr regarding the difference between an unfused service cable needing to be "as short as practical" and a feeder cable that can run hundreds of feet in a dwellling.

Hi Jim,

Hasn't "as short as practical" always been up for each AHJ's interpretation? Is there a FPN or commentary for this code by chance?

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There is no clear definition of Near as possible in the NEC. It is up to the electrical inspector to determine that.

There could a number of reasons that cable was spliced. Could the panel have been moved from the original location? Possible rodent damage ?

Regardless of why it was spliced, the splice shall be in an approved junction box of trhe proper size to accomodate the splice.

Just some FYI for you :

Any FPN (fine print note) or commentary in the NEC is not enforceable as it is not part of the code. This is explained in the National Electrical Code ( NEC) Article 90.5 © - Explanatory Material

Plummen -Not all locations utilize conduit on the services. In my part of the world it is perfectly exceptable to just use SE cable exposed. Different parts of the country uses different methods. There is no code requirement to pipe a residential service in the NEC. It may be a local admendment or local practice.

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I'd call for listed direct burial connectors and a bucket o' dirt.[:-dev3]

As far as the length of SEC cable inside the building, you're going to have to call the local AHJ of the utility for that. Despite what is in the codes there is significant variance from place to place. In Erie County, NY no more than six feet of SEC is allowed inside, but two hours east and you routinely find several times that. It would be oh so nice if it were simple, but that's why get the big bucks, right?

Tom

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There is no clear definition of Near as possible in the NEC. It is up to the electrical inspector to determine that.

There could a number of reasons that cable was spliced. Could the panel have been moved from the original location? Possible rodent damage ?

Regardless of why it was spliced, the splice shall be in an approved junction box of trhe proper size to accomodate the splice.

Just some FYI for you :

Any FPN (fine print note) or commentary in the NEC is not enforceable as it is not part of the code. This is explained in the National Electrical Code ( NEC) Article 90.5 © - Explanatory Material

Plummen -Not all locations utilize conduit on the services. In my part of the world it is perfectly exceptable to just use SE cable exposed. Different parts of the country uses different methods. There is no code requirement to pipe a residential service in the NEC. It may be a local admendment or local practice.

what kind of protection does that provide?
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what kind of protection does that provide?

Definitely not as much as conduit and I can't say that I like the stuff, but it is, and has been, allowed by the NEC unless "subject to physical damage". That last bit, like too much of the NEC (IMO) is open to interpretation and I'm sure that different AHJ's have their own rules on the stuff.

The NEC describes SE cable as...Type SE. Service-entrance cable having a flame-retardant, moisture-resistant covering.

The bottom line is that exposed type SE cable is allowed, whether you like it or not, unless specifically prohibited by the AHJ.

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Around here they used to allow recessing the meter sockets into the exterior walls behind the siding with the meter and access cover exposed for servicing,but it still had to be in emt or rigid pipe depending on whether or not service drop was supported by the mast.

Now a days we are not allowed to have nonfused wire inside a wall whether its in pipe or not all service wire to meters has to be mounted outside of exterior of structure

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I opened up a 60's meter main today to find melted insulation on one of the wires run between the meter and equipment lug. The conductor was verrry close to contacting the panel. I told my client that it wasn't safe, and that it needed to be fixed ASAP.

An hour later the agent told me he called it in as an emergency to PG&E, who sent someone out quickly. It looked worse once the guy pulled the meter socket. One of the connection points was discolored and misshapen; it looked like the poor connection was at the socket. The only thing he said was "it's amazing the house hasn't burned down yet".

If this wasn't a meter main and the wire entered the wall it could have been bad.

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  • 2 years later...

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