Disappearing service drop

What’s Wrong Here? Hint: Disappearing Service Drop

Jan. 11, 2024
Think you know how this installation violates the NEC?

Hint: Disappearing service drop

There may not be any violations in this photo, but with the winter weather bearing down on us, I thought this photo of my neighbor’s electrical service would be apropos. It’s a reminder that the forces of nature can certainly play a role in whether an electrical installation survives or fails. The heavy snowfall here has completely covered the through, the roof mast, and part of the service drop supported by the mast. The deep snow accumulation and melting snow have caused severe ice dams to form on the roof completely enveloping the service conductor drip loops and splices in thick ice. Section 230.24(A) EX. 3 permits overhead service conductors to have a clearance of only 18 inches above the overhang portion of this roof. On a clear summer day, it was easy to see that these wires have the required clearance, but when I took this photo there was no way to tell.

Let’s review a few more applicable rules. Section 230.50 requires service raceways exposed to weather to be listed or approved for wet locations and arranged to drain. Section 230.54(A) requires the service head on the raceway to be listed for use in wet locations. Section 230.54(G) requires service conductors to be arranged so water will not enter service raceways or equipment. The installer of this service did a good job, because it has survived several harsh winters, plus spring rains, summer heat, and fall winds for the past 16 years since I moved into this neighborhood, and it was installed way before my arrival.

About the Author

Russ LeBlanc | Owner

Russ started in the electrical trade as an apprentice in 1985. He worked his way up to become a Journeyman Electrician and then eventually became a Master Electrician and Licensed Construction Supervisor. In 1999 Russ become an Electrical Instructor for The Peterson School of Engineering in Massachusetts where he developed his passion for teaching, and quickly became Department Head of Electrical Instruction. Russ has taught thousands of apprentices, electricians, engineers, inspectors, and other electrical professionals during his career as an instructor. He continues to provide electrical professionals with Electrical Code seminars, Arc-Flash Awareness training seminars and educational material through his LeBlanc Consulting Services in North Reading, MA whose specialty is educating electricians. He has been an active member of the NFPA Electrical Section and has authored hundreds of National Electrical Code proposals and comments which have become Code rules to improve the safety for the electrical industry. Russ is also an IAEI certified Electrical Inspector.

Please visit www.russleblanc.net for more information.

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