Replace weatherhead without turning off service?

Users who are viewing this thread

jwood1

New Member
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Points
0
The weatherhead where the service comes into my house (at the top of a pipe about 4' above the roofline) is broken and the top piece is missing. The round insulator that the service lines pass through is still intact. I got an estimate today for $725 to replace it because, since the new weatherhead is a continuous cast "ring" that fits over the pipe, the electrical service needs to be shut off, and the wires disconnected, and threaded through the new weatherhead and re-connected. Of course all of this involves working with the utility company to shut off power at the pole, and then inspection after the job is done. This seems ridiculous to me, and I have two questions:

1. if there were a two-piece weatherhead to clamp over the down pipe, the service lines would not need to be cut and it would be a 10 min job to attach it. Do you know of anyone who makes this?

2. If I could find such a weatherhead, would you consider it dangerous to do this without shutting off the power? I could do it without even touching the service lines, but would nonetheless wear heavy insultaed gloves.

Thanks for your help
 

Billy_Bob

In the Trades
Messages
419
Reaction score
0
Points
0
As a general rule, I don't touch any electrical lines unless the electricity is off. (And then I still use gloves just in case!)

The electric company does the same when they can. Also they will attach ground wires to be darn sure there is no stray electricity on the lines before working on them. Of course there are situations where they need to work on live lines.

Anyway if you *can* shut off power and can work more safely, then it is a good idea to do so.

As to working on the service wires, insulation on the wires can be old and cracked. The insulation on some old wires falls off if you bend the wire just a little.

Sometimes when pulling wire through a metal pipe, some of the insulation will be scraped off. So there could be a bare place on a wire inside the pipe. Then you move the wires around replacing the weatherhead and a bare spot could touch the metal pipe.

Then sometimes there are bare connections from the service wires to the line wires. It would be possible to try to loosen a rusted screw/bolt on the old weatherhead, put a lot of effort into it, then wrench slips off nut and your hand/arm goes flying into a bare connector. Etc.

Bottom line, I am not going to risk being zapped if I can avoid it.

Note that you could probably rent a generator to power the fridge/freezer while the power is off. Don't plug in any electronic gizmos as generator power is "dirty" electricity. You need a power line conditioner/UPS, etc. for electronic stuff.
 

Igor

New Member
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Oregon
The risk is more than just being "zapped." The POCO transformer can supply a very large amount of current, perhaps 10,000 amps, in the event of a fault. If you've ever seen an arc welder at work, that arc is only about 100A. If your service wires short while you're working near them, you may be spending a long time in the burn ward.
 

hj

Master Plumber
Messages
33,510
Reaction score
956
Points
113
Location
Cave Creek, Arizona
Website
www.terrylove.com
wires

1. Those wires are the property of the utility company
2. The only fuses on those wires are at the transformer, and if you short them out, they will blow, but only after you are dead.
3. Often times working on those wires will subject you to a major financial penaly.
4. Unless your power head was a two part one with a removable top, there would be no replacement that would fit.
5. Call the utility to have them remove the wires, then replace the head and have them reconnect the wires. You could probably do it while they are still there.
 

Jimbo

Plumber
Messages
8,919
Reaction score
12
Points
0
Location
San Diego, CA
hj has summed this up rather nicely for you. I was just going to say "Are you out of your bleeping mind??"
 

Bill Arden

Computer Programmer
Messages
584
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
MN, USA
Website
www.billarden.com
I tend to work on live power as part of my job...

But a cracked head is something that I would have the utility fix.

The way I see it. Something caused the head insulator to crack.

Cutting power opens a big can of worms in that you might have to have the replacement head inspected before the utility will reconnect power.
 

Cass

Plumber
Messages
5,947
Reaction score
6
Points
0
Location
Ohio
In this area of the country an electrician can do the job as the weather head belongs to the home owner and cutting the power is his job.
 

hj

Master Plumber
Messages
33,510
Reaction score
956
Points
113
Location
Cave Creek, Arizona
Website
www.terrylove.com
?

He is allowed to break the seal on the transformer fuses and pull them to kill the power to the building? Must have a very liberal electric utility. Most electricians around here do not even have the necessary poles to do it.
 

Cass

Plumber
Messages
5,947
Reaction score
6
Points
0
Location
Ohio
no, the power is cut live at the weather head drip loop. I have done it more times than I care to think about. When doing service upgrades and the work is complete a temporary connection is made. Here there would be 2 inspections 1 from the county or town and 1 from the power company before the incoming line will be changed and they make the final permanent connection. I have seen it take 3-4 weeks from the time an upgrade is completed and the power company comes to change the incoming line.
 
Last edited:

Speedy Petey

Licensed Electrical Contractor
Messages
1,108
Reaction score
9
Points
38
Location
NY State, USA
In WAY more places than not the weatherhead, and all other service equipment (except the meter itself), is customer owned and maintained.
 

hj

Master Plumber
Messages
33,510
Reaction score
956
Points
113
Location
Cave Creek, Arizona
Website
www.terrylove.com
True

Yes, but the service wire and meter are the utility's and you are not allowed to work on them. IF they allowed electricians and home owners to work on those areas, they would quickly find people installing wildcat connections to their garages and so forth ahead of the meters. Here, any work done on the wires prior to the meters, or disconnecting the meter for any reason, is a $25,000.00 fine, for the same reason, namely, people removing the meters and inserting jumpers between the meter reading dates.
 

Speedy Petey

Licensed Electrical Contractor
Messages
1,108
Reaction score
9
Points
38
Location
NY State, USA
Well, the service drop is the POCO's, not the service conductors.

I think most areas do have some form of contractor program. Here we must be approved to be put on this list. We can work on single family dwellings.
We cut the taps, replace the service, re-make the taps with approved connectors, and reinstall the meter.
There are NO problems with this program since no one wants to lose their permission to do this.
The old method of having the POCO come out and cut taps and wait for them to come back is archaic and stupid for simple one family single meter dwellings. THAT process had more problems and was more troublesome than anything.
 

Chris75

Electrician
Messages
607
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Litchfield, CT
In Connecticut, we have a cut and reconnect policy, here is a link if anyone is interested ( CL&P ) Its section 2, and homeowners are not allowed to do this.
 

Bill Arden

Computer Programmer
Messages
584
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
MN, USA
Website
www.billarden.com
Here, any work done on the wires prior to the meters, or disconnecting the meter for any reason, is a $25,000.00 fine, for the same reason, namely, people removing the meters and inserting jumpers between the meter reading dates.

My utility has a policy where homeowners can call them before cutting the seal and temporarily removing the meter.

The utility has a AMR(Automatic Meter Reader) system that sends your power usage back to the utility every day over the power line. This means the utility knows every time the meter looses power and what your minimum and maximum peak demand is for that day.

The utility will latter come out after you tell them you are finished and re-inspect everything before putting on a new seal.

Edit: back on topic...
If you end up replacing the head it would be a good idea to check the end of the pipe to be sure it does not have any sharp edges on the inside.
 
Last edited:

KD

New Member
Messages
207
Reaction score
0
Points
0
In my area, the electrician gets a permit and calls for inspection. The next morning PGE disconnects the power. After inspection, PGE reconnects the power the same day. I have the homeowner ask a friendly neighbor to borrow electricity for refrig. If there are no friendly neighbors, put a bunch of ice bags in the refrig. or get a generator. I would charge about $300 for the job. My advice is to get more estimates.
 

Marv

New Member
Messages
24
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Northern Illinois
In my area: My son bought a house with an inside meter and 4 fuses for the house. I added a new weather head, meter head, service panel and 6 new circuts. I stuck two hacksaw blades into the meter head with a piece of cardboard marked "live 5-10-07". I climbed up to the weather head and cut (in this order) the old black, black, white (capping each as I went). I then spliced into the new weather head in this order: white, black, black. He was out of electricty for 15 minutes. All this was on the advice of the electrical inspector.

I then called for inspection, passed, and he called for hookup by Com Edison. They came out three weeks later and respliced and added my meter. All very legal.
 

Speedy Petey

Licensed Electrical Contractor
Messages
1,108
Reaction score
9
Points
38
Location
NY State, USA
I SERIOUSLY DOUBT hack saw blades were recommended.
If they were I'd like to know who was stupid enough to actually speak the words. :mad:
 

Marv

New Member
Messages
24
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Northern Illinois
The truth is, the electrical inspector told me to do it that way. He also suggested I could use #8 bare copper flattened at the ends. (I think it was #8, it was a year ago).
 

Marv

New Member
Messages
24
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Northern Illinois
I SERIOUSLY DOUBT hack saw blades were recommended.
If they were I'd like to know who was stupid enough to actually speak the words


What would you do if no meter was available...wait for three weeks for electric company?
 
Top
Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

It looks like you're using an ad blocker. We get it, but (1) terrylove.com can't live without ads, and (2) ad blockers can cause issues with videos and comments. If you'd like to support the site, please allow ads.

If any particular ad is your REASON for blocking ads, please let us know. We might be able to do something about it. Thanks.
I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks