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Old 12-19-2015, 02:25 PM   #1
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3m 2228 Tape for entire run of overhead service wires on workshop?


I have a workshop behind my house that has a 100 amp service running to it. The power comes from the pole on the street to the house then from the house to the workshop. The shop has itís own meter and a sub panel located next to the meter with itís own power disconnect switch. After doing a bit of electrical work in the shop I decided to take a close look at the overhead service wires that run to the workshop . Upon inspection I noticed that there are some small cracks in the insulation. I cannot see the copper wires and there is no missing insulation but there are spots where there are little splits and I can see a bit of white oxidation on the outside of the cable. Makes me think a bit of water is able to make it in.

The wires are probably at least 40 years old and look like your standard service wire. Copper covered with a black plastic insulation. Two hots and a ground. All insulated. The wires run to the shop separately and are not warped or twisted together as they travel between the shop and house. They each have their own mounting point along the fascia and remain about 3 inches apart as they travel between the house and shop. The distance overall is roughly 25 feet.

Iím considering using either 3M 2228 Scotch Moisture Sealing Electrical Tape or Scotch Cable Jacket Repair Tape 2234 to put all three wires together (after their mounting points) and wrap the entire 25 foot run. This would hopefully keep the moisture out and overall extend the life of the insulation.

I understand in a perfect world I would replace the drop. Really canít afford it now and doubt it is necessary given the circumstances. I do know the power needs to be off for me to be touching these service wires! As mentioned above there is a sub panel with disconnect switch after the meter that makes the overhead wires dead.

Would this be acceptable? Any issues with this? Is there a better product for me to use? Thank you for any help or advice.
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:02 PM   #2
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If you pull those 3wires together, they will probably short thru the deteriated insulation. It's more of a question of when it happens, not if.

You may significantly shorten the life of the wires, instead of increasing it.

BTW, that 3rd insulated wire should be a neutral, not a ground.
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:14 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. You're probably right. I didn't think the cracks looked big enough to short out but I guess it's possible and that would be bad.

What are my other options? What about wrapping each wire? They are pretty accessible from the roof and ladder.

Yes the other wire is a neutral. That makes sense.

Also is there anything I can use to space the wires apart along the run? Now they just hang there roughly 3 inches apart and swing around in the wind. Is there some kind of a spreader used in this situation to keep them apart and more secured?

Last edited by Mustang67; 12-19-2015 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:22 PM   #4
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Leave them be. Even if they were bare, they would work fine. Copper or aluminum only gets surface oxidation and does not hurt the integrity of the wire.
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:51 PM   #5
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So it's no big deal if the insulation is cracked? If I check you tube there are all kinds of videos, home inspections etc. making a big deal about cracks in overhead service wires.

I would love to be able to leave as is (shouldn't have looked - ha ha). Now that I looked I want it to be as good as I can make it without replacement.
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Old 12-19-2015, 04:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang67 View Post
So it's no big deal if the insulation is cracked? If I check you tube there are all kinds of videos, home inspections etc. making a big deal about cracks in overhead service wires.

I would love to be able to leave as is (shouldn't have looked - ha ha). Now that I looked I want it to be as good as I can make it without replacement.
Stop watching people on youTube and home inspectors, most of them are hacks.
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Old 12-19-2015, 04:14 PM   #7
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+ 1 on you tube &home inspectors
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Old 12-19-2015, 05:37 PM   #8
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Are the wires in question upstream of the meter? Do you get a separate electric bill for the shop? Those wires may belong to the electric company.
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Old 12-19-2015, 05:50 PM   #9
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The wires are after the meter and run from the house to the shop so they are my responsibility.
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Old 12-19-2015, 06:25 PM   #10
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Leave them alone. Sounds like it's open wire secondary and if they are insulated odds of them slapping together and flashing on each other are rare. If it was bare copper it would have a chance of getting and flashing over, but not insulated wire. They do make spacers for open wire, but you could simply use some rigid plastic of your choice and cut a couple notches and tape it to the wires with electric tape to keep them apart. If it was me though, I wouldn't bother with it.


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Old 12-19-2015, 07:01 PM   #11
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If the shop has its own meter then it is not a sub panel but a second main panel.
It is a separate service from the house.

I believe the wires you are describing belong to the POCO since they are before the meter. So if they are a hazard to you then call the POCO for inspection and replacement.
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Old 12-20-2015, 12:39 AM   #12
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Leave them alone. That old hard drawn copper will outlast what they are attached to. There is no need to insulate them if they are separated. I am not sure why they ever insulated them other than to protect from incidental contact.
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Old 12-20-2015, 04:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
If the shop has its own meter then it is not a sub panel but a second main panel.
It is a separate service from the house.

I believe the wires you are describing belong to the POCO since they are before the meter. So if they are a hazard to you then call the POCO for inspection and replacement.
He said the wires are after the meter.
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Old 12-20-2015, 09:26 AM   #14
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He said

Quote:
The power comes from the pole on the street to the house then from the house to the workshop. The shop has it’s own meter
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Old 12-20-2015, 09:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
He said

The meter for the shop, is mounted at/on the house. He said:

Quote:
The wires are after the meter and run from the house to the shop so they are my responsibility.
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