wire size

cappo11August 4, 2012

So my electrician upgraded my home from 60 ampere to 100 ampere service. Inspector failed it because of the size of the wire outside. Said it should be #2 instead of the #3 that my sparky used. Inspector explained that although the power company uses #3 (alum.) wire for their drop, I have to use the larger #2 (copper) because it is in conduit (the mast).

Does this make any sense? I have the best electrician and he was surprised by this.

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bus_driver

I find no NEC provision that supports the position of the inspector. NEC 2011, Article 310.15(7), Table 310.15(B)(7) shows that #4 copper is acceptable for several insulation types. #3 is certainly permitted for 100 amp service. I would appeal the inspector's ruling.
What the power company uses is not relevant to the NEC.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:44AM
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brickeyee

The NEC does not actually apply to most power drops.

They are distribution equipment.

QA drop between buildings you own IS covered, bt not a drop from the POCO (and in many places the POCO supplies the drop down to the meter).

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 10:04AM
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cappo11

thanks for the info. I found out that this guy is substituting for the regular inspector who is on vacation. I will appeal this decision and if necessary get the regular inspector to look at it when he returns.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 2:58PM
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terribletom

It's unclear to me on the basis of the OP whether the #3 your sparky used is aluminum or copper.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 9:36PM
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econo

#3 copper which the inspector said would not be large enough

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 12:11PM
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terribletom

If it's copper, I think the inspector is all wet.

(OTOH, if it were AL, there's at least a decent argument that the POCO can use #3AL in free air, but it'd be undersized in conduit to deliver 100A.)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 4:03PM
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brickeyee

The NEC does not apply to distribution wiring.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 4:35PM
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terribletom

The NEC does not apply to distribution wiring.

Yeah, I've heard that. Maybe a hundred times, in fact.

So why not just use a hunk of #10AWG or whatever's on your truck? That's a lot cheaper, ya know.

(Please note that I did not mention the NEC. My guess is -- although I am not sure -- that the concept of ampacity is not entirely dependent on the NEC. Naturally, I could be wrong.)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 5:36PM
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btharmy

Inspector is wrong.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 6:57PM
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hexus

"The NEC does not apply to distribution wiring."

I wouldn't call the wiring up the mast "distribution wiring". Also this is completely locale dependent.
on an over head service here, I am responsible (and the inspectors hold me to the NEC) for the wiring all the way up the mast, through the weather head, and until the power company actually makes their connection.
Just because it's not that way where you live, doesn't mean it is that way everywhere.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 8:56AM
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bus_driver

The original post mentions the power company. Distribution wiring is owned, installed and maintained by the power company. Distribution wiring is not governed by the NEC nor by the local inspector.
The original post is about what the NEC calls "Service Conductors".

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:44AM
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brickeyee

"The original post is about what the NEC calls "Service Conductors". "

Not if they are before the meter and hooked to the POCO lines.

The NEC does apply if you run overhead service lines after your main disconnect.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:38AM
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bus_driver

brick, look at page 70-78 of the 2011 NEC, Article 230.1, top of the right hand column and tell us what the conductors are called.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 12:35PM
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brickeyee

They are distribution wiring if they are before the meter.

Tell me about the OCD that protects them.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 4:31PM
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hexus

You're right brick. I'll start writing letters to all my inspectors letting them know they are wrong and we've been doing it all wrong all these years. I better stop running the service drop up the mast too. I'm sure the power company will be more than happy to do it for me. I better write them a letter too though telling them how to do their job.
Obviously some guy on the internet knows how things are to be done and there is no possible way it could be different from how you think it should be done.

good lord can you even find a hat that fits that giant head of yours?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 7:54PM
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cappo11

probably should have mentioned I'm in Chicago. Our power service company is ComEd. My electrician explained things like this. ComEd is responsible for the drop from the pole to the point of connection to the wires in the mast. I must pay for the mast, wires, meter box and assorted hardware to bring the service into the house.ComEd gets their old meter and will supply a new one after inspection/approval.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 8:39PM
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saltcedar

"Just because it's not that way where you live, doesn't mean it is that way everywhere. "

Best comment I've ever seen on this forum!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:41AM
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brickeyee

" I'll start writing letters to all my inspectors letting them know they are wrong and we've been doing it all wrong all these years."

Sure sound slikt it.

The NEC is VERY explicit on not covering distribution wiring.

POCOs have their own rules covering the sixe of lines and drops all the way to the meter.

The NEC covers masts and weather heads since they MAY be present as private wiring after a main, but before the main, and especially before a meter, is NOT NEC land.

If they are claiming such they better have a talk with the code authority and the POCO.

It sounds more like the POCO does not want to bother since it might actually cost them money.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 10:49AM
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hexus

or... maybe you should just pull your head out and stop pretending you're the internet know it all, god of all things electrical, and stop telling everyone how to do their job? You've been wrong MULTIPLE times in other threads but you're worse than a child and just keep arguing and arguing trying to justify yourself. You've been blatantly flat out wrong and basically told someone to go against the NEC (remember the little garage door opener GFCI thing? I do) Please feel free to call my state division of building and safety and let them know how wrong everyone is here 800-839-9239. I can't believe the entire state hasn't blown up yet since we're obviously doing everything wrong here. Thank god you're here to set us all straight through and show us the way oh great electrical god.

I've made it 20+ years in business without someone on the internet trying to tell me how to do my job, I think can manage without your BS of how everything needs to be done to your opinion or it's wrong.

PS - for the love of god please install a spell checker

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 7:33PM
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kurto

Hexus,

While I agree with your spell checker statement, I otherwise find brickeyee's current statement accurate. Certainly there are nuances like "responsibility for the engineering vs. responsibility for payment" that may still be in question. Brickeyee may enjoy a good debate, but I have always found his posts to be quite professional.

Let's not reduce this site to a personal attack site where no one wants to contribute.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 8:41AM
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lbpod

The 'Almighty Brick' has spoken.
Let it go.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 10:17AM
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kalining

up here the inspector is right and we have to supply the wire
from the weather head to the meter box. Also the mast,
meter box, and weather head.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 10:58AM
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cappo11

I have since spoken with the head building inspector and stated that I have reason to believe the electrical inspector is in error. He said that he never reverses a decision from his inspectors. However he says if I will wait till the regular inspector returns from vacation he will send both inspectors to my house again at no charge to me. Then whatever they both agree on, that will be the final word on the issue.
Guess that is the best I can get

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 4:30PM
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bus_driver

They never admit mistakes? Not much hope for improvement or learning for them, is there?
I would ask the inspector to interpret 310.15(7).
The statutes no doubt provide for appeals to levels above the local inspection department and even to the courts.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 8:52PM
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alan_s_thefirst

Cappo, as the spouse of a teacher, I can understand the Chief's position (no correspondence will be entered into, inspector's decision is final, otherwise they'd be plagued by complaints/requests and the Chief would end up doing all the inspections.)

I doubt, however, his position is legally tenable.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 3:21PM
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alan_s_thefirst

Do let us know what transpires, we all wait with bated breath. It's kind of an electrical soap opera.

In one way, surely, the problem is your electrician's, not yours, since one would assume the job isn't done until the permit goes through.

As for specs, you the homeowner's not really expected to know or care about the rules, you depend on your Sparky to do that for you.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 3:24PM
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cappo11

well both inspectors came out with the head building guy and they didn't admit a mistake but just said "what you have is ok". My sparky was going to fix it for free but I'm glad he won't have to do it now. Thank you all for the advice on this

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 8:48AM
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bus_driver

My first post to this was prompted in part by my own experience with unknowing inspectors. When the inspector fails to pass an installation, or flatly fails it, the electrician is made to look incompetent or dishonest-- as some are.
One inspector refused to pass my residential rough-in based on his position that multi-wire branch circuits are permissible only in commercial buildings. When I learned of it, I made a list of the applicable code Articles and took it to his office. Offered to pay for a phone call to the Chief Inspector for the State. It took 8 days to get it passed-- with no changes necessary to my work. Inspector apologized-- and was fired a few months later because of recurring problems. But I was made to look bad to the customer. And the entire job was delayed at considerable cost. I will leave it at that example. But there are more.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 4:40PM
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