Inspection of the Electric Meter and Service Entry Cable
Let's start the steps of inspecting a building's electrical service at the meter and SEC cable. What can se see that is important, without touching or testing anything? Quite a lot.
Pay special attention to water entry at the service entry cable, at the top of the electric meter enclosure, and at the wall penetration where the SEC enters the building as these conditions can send water into the electrical panel where corrosion creates unreliable equipment and water is a hazard.
These electrical inspection suggestions are not a complete inventory of all electrical safety procedures nor of all electrical components that should be inspected; these notes focus on identification of conditions that may present special electrical hazards for the electrical inspector. Contact Us by email to suggest changes, corrections, and additions to this material.
Fatal Shock Hazard Warning: Inspecting electrical components and systems risks death by electrocution as well as serious burns or other injuries to the inspector or to others. Do not attempt these tasks unless you are properly trained and equipped.
The frayed service entry cable (left) and lost wire-clamping seal around the service entry cable at the top of the electrical meter box (left) send wind-blown rain into the enclosure.
Capillary action sends rainwater following the outside of a service entry cable right into the building if the cable is not sealed at the wall penetration (photo above right).
The bottom of the electrical meter enclosure acts as a funnel to collect and send rainwater into the interior of the service entry cable where it is conducted as if in a plastic pipe, right into the top of the electrical panel located below this point inside the home.
A photo later in this article shows the water entry tracking stains at the SEC in the main panel.
Dropped sheet metal screws & loose electric meter boxes: be careful about dropping a metal screw into or onto live electrical parts.
If you see that the electrical meter box is loose on the building wall, do not touch it.
A loose mounting screw can fall into the meter box, shorting electrical components there and leading to a house fire. -- Arnold Road Poughkeepsie NY house fire - J. Aronstein & D. Friedman.
Handling Immediate Threats to Life and Safety at a Building Inspection
If in the inspector's judgment equipment is an immediate threat to life and property, such as a boiler whose flue connection has fallen off, we recommend that dangerous equipment be shut down and the appropriate people notified. See Shutting Down Unsafe Equipment. In some cases "appropriate people" includes not only the client and building owner, but also building occupants.
No FAQs have been posted for this page. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
The Home Reference Book, a reference & inspection report product for building owners & inspectors. Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a ten percent discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Just enter HRBUS10 in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
Note: InspectAPedia.com ® editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Home Inspection Report writing materials, including the Horizon Software System that manages business operations, scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors
Roger Hankey is principal of Hankey and Brown home inspectors, Eden Prairie, MN. Mr. Hankey is a past chairman of the ASHI Standards Committee. Mr. Hankey has served in other ASHI professional and leadership roles. Contact Roger Hankey at: 952 829-0044 - email@example.com. Mr. Hankey is a frequent contributor to InspectAPedia.com.
Arlene Puentes, an ASHI member and a licensed home inspector in Kingston, NY, and has served on ASHI national committees as well as HVASHI Chapter President. Ms. Puentes can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.