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Old 04-23-2009, 02:07 PM   #1
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We spoke with an electrician yesterday about running cable from the meter that's on a pole (200A) into the house and to the service panel. He said that the code requires to use 4/0 URD cable - 4 wire. The way he explained it to me was that this wire goes all the way to the panel box.
I don't know much about electrical, but I couldn't find anything directly mentioning URD in the NEC code. If I understood right, URD is made up of USE cables twisted together. I was under the impression that USE cable was not to be used to enter the house? I'm confused. Any help will be appreciated.

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Old 04-23-2009, 03:14 PM   #2
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Where is the panel? I would see the URD being installed underground, up a PVC sleeve outside the building, and then into a LB , a nipple, then the panel.

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Old 04-23-2009, 04:03 PM   #3
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URD cannot be used within the structure. You could set disconnect gear outside and bring your URD up to it in conduit, but anything that enters the structure from the gear will need to be sheathed service entrance cable.
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Old 04-24-2009, 08:47 AM   #4
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Bob - The service/breaker panel is in the basement. We're out on an acreage so our meter is on the yard light pole. We need to run Bout 100' underground cable to the house, run the line up to the rim joist and then it is about 15 ft to the panel itself.

Thekctermite - that is what I thought when I read the code about the USE cables. The law here in Iowa just changed to a new licensing program, and enforcing NEC state wide, and the electrician said that using this URD was a new requirement. So it should be URD from pole to ext of house, then connect to a sheathed se wire for the interior part of it? I'll ask the electrician again about the cable. Maybe I misunderstood, but I'm pretty sure he said he would run the cable to the panel but that it would need to be in conduit inside the house. He said that's what the state inspector told him at the last meeting.
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Old 04-24-2009, 08:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
..., but anything that enters the structure from the gear will need to be sheathed service entrance cable.
Cable is not required. It can be conduit. But I am sure this is what you meant.


I have never, ever, EVER heard of an installation failing because URD was brought into the main panel inside a house. We do this ALL the time and so do most electricians. If an inspector wants fail it because of that he is a nit picker or has it in for the contractor.


Boontucky, is there a disconnect on the pole? If not then you DO NOT need four wires. You only need or want three. There is simply not need for, or any place to terminate a fourth conductor.
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Old 04-24-2009, 08:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boontucky View Post
The law here in Iowa just changed to a new licensing program, and enforcing NEC state wide, and the electrician said that using this URD was a new requirement. So it should be URD from pole to ext of house, then connect to a sheathed se wire for the interior part of it? I'll ask the electrician again about the cable. Maybe I misunderstood, but I'm pretty sure he said he would run the cable to the panel but that it would need to be in conduit inside the house. He said that's what the state inspector told him at the last meeting.
I am also curious as to your motives here. If an electrician is doing this installation what is your reason for questioning it?
It seems as if he is trying to do the right thing.
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Old 04-24-2009, 09:42 AM   #7
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Thanks Speedy Petey - It's more of a thing that I'm confused and need clarification for my own peace of mind, since what I read in NEC led me to believe that USE cables were not to enter the house.
My reasoning for questioning is that up until a few weeks ago, we had planned on tackling the wiring ourselves, so I've been reading up on the NEC quite a bit. On march 1, Iowa began to enforce the new law in that I can't do squat in my new house, hence now i'm talking to a licensed electrician. The program is so new that the electrician wasn't sure about a bunch of questions because the inspector said some things that were totally different than what has been common practice (and common sense) in the area. I'v heard from others about how anal one area inspector is about things being to code, so I'd like to avoid misunderstandings.

Yes, there is a disconnect on the meter box at the pole.
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:18 AM   #8
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The fact that the inspector might note the code violation just means that he's correctly doing his job of enforcing the NEC, not being "nitpicky" as Petey stated. Calling an inspector nitpicky is a weak argument and is a poor defense for work that doesn't meet the minimum standard set forth by code. If it is in the book then I don't want to hear about whether or not the inspector is being nitpicky.

As for the OP questioning his electrician's methods, good for him. He's advocating for himself and the truth is that many many many contractors do sub-par work and definitely don't advocate for their customers. I commend him for protecting his interests and ensuring that he's getting a code-compliant job. No reasonable contractor would have any trouble sitting down with their customer and a code book and demonstrating that the work meets code.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:26 PM   #9
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I don't see bringing a URD cable into the back of an interior panel mounted on an outside wall as a violation. A URD cable can't be banjoed across the rafters for 100' into a panel, that's true. But really, if you consider the wiring space of a panel as being interior to the structure, then you have to consider the wiring space of an exterior panel as being an exterior space. In other words, it would be illegal to run romex into an exterior mounted panel. We know this is bunk.

If, let's say, someone came out of the ground with URD, sleeved it in PVC and used an LB to nipple into the back of an interior panel, then connected the URD to the panel lugs, I wouldn't consider that a violation.
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Old 04-24-2009, 01:42 PM   #10
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InPhase277 - my question comes from the fact that my panel is not on an exterior wall. The meter panels is on a pole 100ft away, and the service panel in the house is in the mechanical room which is not adjacent to an exterior wall so the cable once it's in the house will travel about 15 ft. from the exterior walls before it gets to the panel. My main concern is that NEC 08 section 338.12 (B) says the following:

(B) Underground Service-Entrance Cable. Underground
Service-Entrance Cable (USE) shall not be used under the
following conditions or in the following locations:
(1) For interior wiring
(2) For above ground installations except where USE cable
emerges from the ground and is terminated in an enclosure
at an outdoor location
and the cable is protected in
accordance with 300.5(D)

To me that means it does not enter the dwelling at all.

Thekctermite - that is exactly why I ask questions and spend hours trying to at least understand what code is, because when I was going to do it myself, I wanted to do it to code. Now that I'm paying someone to do it, by golly they better know what they are doing. Like you said, unfortunately, there have been way too many times with other types of projects where I knew more about a subject than the person I'm trying to hire to do it.

And if a contractor gets testy because I question his methods and pick his brain for his knowledge, I find someone else who does not mind my 1000 questions.

Thanks for the replies.
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Old 04-24-2009, 02:50 PM   #11
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I would recommend an extra disconnect on the exterior. Run the URD into a PVC sleeve with a slip sleeve. (this allows for ground movement). Then use service cable for the interior. 15' is stretching it a bit for an inside disconnect. This makes a safer job from a fire safety point.
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Old 04-24-2009, 04:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
The fact that the inspector might note the code violation just means that he's correctly doing his job of enforcing the NEC, not being "nitpicky" as Petey stated. Calling an inspector nitpicky is a weak argument and is a poor defense for work that doesn't meet the minimum standard set forth by code. If it is in the book then I don't want to hear about whether or not the inspector is being nitpicky.
You can drop the holier than thou crap.
It is not "weak" or a defense. I know my work is compliant, and so does the inspector.
If you think bringing 4-5 feet of URD inside conduit into a main panels is serious violation then fail the job. I'd fight you on it until the end of time.

Inphase know what I am trying to say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
No reasonable contractor would have any trouble sitting down with their customer and a code book and demonstrating that the work meets code.
I have NO problem with this...to a point.
If someone does not trust me to do the right thing after being reassured that I do they can find someone else to work for them.
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Last edited by Speedy Petey; 04-24-2009 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
You can drop the holier than thou crap.
If you disagree with an inspector's interpretation of the code (which I might add is literal in this case) you call it nitpicky. If I disagree with your interpretation you call it holier than though. Exactly where do you stand, or is this just hypocricy?

It isn't a serious violation. But it is a violation nonetheless. You could fight the inspector for correctly calling it, but on what code-based argument would you substantiate the fight? The OP's talking about pulling it well into the building, as he made clear...Not popping it through the wall right into the panel.
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Old 04-25-2009, 05:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boontucky View Post
InPhase277 - my question comes from the fact that my panel is not on an exterior wall. The meter panels is on a pole 100ft away....
You said meter panel here. Does the meter box contain some sort of disconnecting means or circuit breaker?
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Old 04-26-2009, 01:09 PM   #15
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I'll very likely be blasted to bits for this, but I'm passionate enough about electrical safety to take the risk.

Which of the following installations presents the least possible hazard;

A) URD from a breaker on a pole run underground to a 3R J-box fastened to the outside of a building. Then, SE cable spliced in said J-box and ran through an interior wall to a panel.

B) URD from a breaker on a pole run underground to a 3R J-box fastened to the outside of a building, then THWN spliced in said J-box, run underground, and stubbed up in conduit inside of an interior wall to a panel.

C) URD from a breaker on a pole run underground and stubbed up in conduit inside of an interior wall to a panel.

Which of the above is code-compliant? (Hint; it isn't C!)

It seems to me as though the code-compliant methods result in a slightly more hazardous installation. Is it possible that blind compliance with written rules and regulations isn't always the best possible way?!??

This is just one example of where rigid enforcement of the code results in increased hazard, there are others as well.

Rob

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