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Old 06-26-2009, 11:38 AM   #1
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


I am putting the overhead service for my house underground and I am getting ready to trench and assemble the conduit. Since my old service panel is a top entry, flush mount box with the meter at the top, it looks like I need to get a new service panel with service entry at the bottom.

I am required to use 2" pvc conduit with 36" sweeps. All elbows have to be 36" radius. I believe this includes any offsets I may add. Flexi-conduit is not allowed. One mystery is how I mate the conduit with the new flush mount panel. I expect the conduit will come up just outside the wall, then it will transition thru the siding between the joists and just under the box itself. This requires an offset of around 3 or 4" but no more than 36" radius.

Are such conduit offsets available?
Is bending a conduit (with a heat gun or other) allowed?
Are flexible rubber couplings like that used on plumbing ever used on electrical conduit?

This 2" stuff is very rigid. If I use a threaded male adaptor to attach to the box, I'd have to attach it before I buried the conduit or install the box after the conduit was in place, otherwise I'd never be able to bend the stuff enough to insert the threaded end. The other method would be to use a threaded female adaptor and thread in a nipple from inside the box. Is there a completely different method/coupling I am unaware of?

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Old 06-26-2009, 11:59 AM   #2
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


A heat gun is one method. A torch can also be used. You have to heat a big area in order to prevent kinking, and don't dwell too long in one place or you will burn the conduit. You may be able to rent a pipe heat box from a tool rental place.

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Old 06-26-2009, 12:20 PM   #3
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


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Are such conduit offsets available?
Two 45's = an offset.

Concrete slab I assume?

If you use two factory45 degree ells back to back, the conduit will be exposed quite a bit just above grade.

I'd chop out some of the floor/stem wall/foundation so the first 45 doesn't stick out.
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Old 06-26-2009, 01:50 PM   #4
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


You've made this extremely difficult to provide good workmanship with a flushmount and meter. I'd like a bit better picture of what your doing.

The meter and panel are the same assembly/enclosure and it is flush mounted in an outside wall?

Can you take a picture and post it?

What area/state do you live in? Is it rural or in the city?

Who is your power company?

I'm asking to see what options you have for meter sockets and the panel type.
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Old 06-26-2009, 05:11 PM   #5
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


S Cal. Concrete slab and very visible location on front corner of house.
Right now I have a Murray JA110 surface mount combo panel, which is fine, but now I need bottom entry for the service. I don't really need 20 positions or 200A, but that seems to be the closest upgrade. If there were a box that were 150-175A with say 15positions, that would do it. It would need to be surface mount and fit the joists (<15").

Maybe I should bite the bullet and notch the foundation. I can get a concrete saw and jackhammer, and I am not afraid of the work, but I don't know if I'd need extra permits to do that work and patch it up properly.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:12 PM   #6
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


Supply and demand may lead you toward a 200 amp service. I never see anything smaller around here.

The last "semi flush" I installed was a SqD Homeline. It fit between the 16" studs. I had to search for it as most everything here is surface mounted.

Notch the concrete a bit and plant a shrubbery to hide the balance.

You could also form around the exposed conduit, pour concrete and put a potted plant on it.


***********************
On second thought, just surface mount the damn thing. You are still going to see the panel. The riser isn't that much worse. 36" of conduit? Come on.

Or maybe relocate the panel to a less obtrusive location?

Last edited by 220/221; 06-26-2009 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:28 PM   #7
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


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S Cal. Concrete slab and very visible location on front corner of house.....
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Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
Or maybe relocate the panel to a less obtrusive location?
Best advice. I put my Meter with 200A breaker on the front corner of my house and the main CB panel about 4" away on the side of the house.
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:51 AM   #8
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


I would remove the existing panel and meter. Cover the hole with whatever your house is made of. Like it never existed. Then install a surface mount 200 amp meter main. This way the PVC can come straight up into the bottom with no bending required. I would also exit the back of the meter main for a sub panel inside. This sub will supply all the branch circuits inside and the meter main outside can supply all of your outdoor branch circuits.

Last edited by J. V.; 06-27-2009 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 06-27-2009, 02:06 PM   #9
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


Surface mount is not acceptable. This is an 'L' shaped house with the garage in the front. The meter location is on the garage wall, which you pass on the way to the front door. It has to be flush or semi-flush.

Moving the meter would make for a much bigger digging job, and require a lot of rewiring. I do like the idea of a separate meter main with the load panel on the inside wall of the garage. A perfect solution would be a single flush or semi-flush combo box with a meter main on the outside wall, and load breakers accessed from the inside wall. Does such a thing exist?

If they end up being two separate boxes, do they have to be joined by conduit?

I was told that creating a custom bend in conduit is not that hard to do. I think I will do some digging first to see how much conduit is exposed and how difficult it would be to notch the slab.
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Old 06-27-2009, 02:23 PM   #10
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


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Originally Posted by tns1 View Post
Surface mount is not acceptable. This is an 'L' shaped house with the garage in the front. The meter location is on the garage wall, which you pass on the way to the front door. It has to be flush or semi-flush.

Moving the meter would make for a much bigger digging job, and require a lot of rewiring. I do like the idea of a separate meter main with the load panel on the inside wall of the garage. A perfect solution would be a single flush or semi-flush combo box with a meter main on the outside wall, and load breakers accessed from the inside wall. Does such a thing exist?

If they end up being two separate boxes, do they have to be joined by conduit?

I was told that creating a custom bend in conduit is not that hard to do. I think I will do some digging first to see how much conduit is exposed and how difficult it would be to notch the slab.
I was going to suggest a meter main with inside panel but you sounded like you were stuck with flush outside. I don't know of any meter mains that also have a breaker panel that is accessed from inside. You can have the meter main outside and flush then a 4 wire feeder to an inside main lug panel if that works. No you do not have to use conduit unless local codes require it....I wouldn't think so. SER cable should be fine from the main breaker outside to the panel inside. You need to check with the poco and local codes if they allow this set-up and what meter mains they allow/approve. I would think it would be fine. You can look at the milbank meter sockets web site for examples of meter mains. Or find out what meters your poco uses...there is usually a list of compliant companies they accept if it matters to them..


http://www.milbankmfg.com/Products/M...aker/index.asp
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:02 AM   #11
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


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Surface mount is not acceptable. This is an 'L' shaped house with the garage in the front. The meter location is on the garage wall, which you pass on the way to the front door. It has to be flush or semi-flush.
Who says? It's purely aesthetic. If my meter had to be passed to get to my front door I would MOVE it. No one said this would be easy. You can do what you want. Good luck finding a NEMA 3R meter main that can be be flush mounted.
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:57 PM   #12
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


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Originally Posted by tns1 View Post
Moving the meter would make for a much bigger digging job, and require a lot of rewiring. I do like the idea of a separate meter main with the load panel on the inside wall of the garage. A perfect solution would be a single flush or semi-flush combo box with a meter main on the outside wall, and load breakers accessed from the inside wall. Does such a thing exist?
Never used one, don't know if it'll work for you:

http://www2.sea.siemens.com/NR/rdonl...ck_To_Back.pdf
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:33 AM   #13
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


That looks just like what I was thinking of. I found that Eaton also makes these.

One thing I noticed is that the local HD and Lowes carries load centers and meter combo panels. They only have a few options but they are far less expensive than similar models thru other distributors. What is the difference between a 200A meter combo box with a 2040 configuration costing $150 and the same configuration costing $2000? Is this difference just markup or is there a real quality difference?
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Old 06-30-2009, 01:17 AM   #14
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


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Old 06-30-2009, 05:59 AM   #15
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PVC conduit - custom offset or bending


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A heat gun is one method. A torch can also be used. You have to heat a big area in order to prevent kinking, and don't dwell too long in one place or you will burn the conduit. You may be able to rent a pipe heat box from a tool rental place.
Both of these are code violations. 352.24 says "Field bends shall be made only with bending equipment identified for the purpose."

You need to use a heat blanket, hot box or other identified equipment.

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