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DIYnewbie 05-26-2007 01:04 PM

Electricity cable on outside wall - how safe?
Hello everyone,

We just bought a 1920s house and noticed that our house has got the electricity cable attached onto the outside wall, right underneath the guttering. Neighbouring houses have the cable attached higher up, on chimneys. We looked at it and thought it looked a bit dangerous, but maybe someone with more knowledge can put our minds at ease...???

Many thanks!

glennjanie 05-26-2007 01:19 PM

Welcome DIYNewbie:
Your service connection appearnatly has worked for however long electricity has been available. However, it scares me to look at it. Electrical codes have since been proliferated and we now have a National Electrical Code.
A few of the things about an entrance cable are:
1. If it crosses a street or highway it must be 18 feet off the ground.
2. If it crosses a driveway on your lot it must be 14' off the ground.
3. It should be sufficiently anchored to the building (lookin good on that one)
4. It should enter a weatherhead and conduit running to a meter base.
5. The conduit should continue after the meter base to the electrical panel inside.
Your local electric company will be happy to work with you, or an electrician with a license can remedy the situation for you. You will probably feel much better if you have the whole house rewired and updated.

DIYnewbie 05-26-2007 01:25 PM

Thanks so much for your quick reply.
Do you have any idea what it costs to get the electricity on a house rewired totally?

And if electric cables should be up to a certain standard, would that be something for me to pay for or should that be paid for by the electricity company whose main electricity pole it is?


speedy petey 05-26-2007 01:33 PM

First off, is this the main entrance coming in off the road? There are only two wires so this would only be a 120v service. If this is so then the whole thing is outdated and you should seriously consider a service upgrade.

That entrance looks like a sub-feed to a garage or something. It is directly entering the structure. If it were a main there would be a meter somewhere.

To address a few of Glenn's points. This is from the NEC. Local codes may supersede:

1) Public streets, roadways, and areas subject to truck traffic: 18'
2) Residential driveways, etc: 12'
These two dimensions are set by the height of the point of attachment and the point of connection to the utility pole.

4&5) Conduit is not mandatory. Service cable is permitted from weatherhead to meter pan and from meter pan to panel.

I'm not sure how it can be determined from the one picture that the whole house should be re-wired.

How about giving us a bit more detail about this installation. Better pics would be a help.

DIYnewbie 05-26-2007 01:48 PM

Here are some extra pictures:

1. Cable from pole to house
2.The electric cable is entering the house on the left side - bedrooms are on that side.
3. street with poles

We are located in Scotland, so as Glenn said, not sure if te national Code is the same overhere (but should be similar I think). Also, we haven't got the keys yet, so these are all the pictures I have at he moment.


speedy petey 05-26-2007 01:56 PM

Oooooh. That makes a huge difference.
I do not know the codes at all for over there so I will refrain from any further advice. Your setup may be perfectly typical. I have no idea.

Sorry about that. I thought Aberdeen was in Texas.

glennjanie 05-26-2007 08:35 PM

Thanks Petey, I made the same mistake until I read their introduction thread.
I have to admit, it has been a few years since I have had to use the NEC, so I am a bit fuzzy on it. The conduit deal must have been in a local code; I never considered running entrance cable any other way. Egg on my face; thanks for the help.

speedy petey 05-27-2007 08:54 AM

NO, no egg. I just wanted to make sure we were on a level field.
It happens quite often when folks are used to a certain local code that they are unaware that it is not a national standard.

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