Underground Electrical Service

Electrical service coming to your home underground has advantages over the overhead type of wires. A couple advantages are:

  • More aesthetically pleasing – you don’t have to look at them all the time
  • Safety – underground wires can’t be damaged by falling trees, ice storms, heavy equipment (unless you’re digging), etc.

There are defects we see with wires entering the home from underground though.

Conduit Separation from Settling

When the wires from the power company come out of the ground they are run through a conduit, or rigid plastic pipe, up to the meter box or electrical panel. The conduit protects the wire from damage. Sometimes, really often, the land around the home settles after the home is built. This means that whatever conduit is used must be able to move with the land around the house and still cover the wire after settlement. In the old days this wasn’t compensated for very well and the conduit sometimes gets pulled away from the box above, thus exposing a small portion of the wire inside. This is problematic because a tool can pierce the insulation and possibly shock someone. Now this possibility is remote, but still present, and repairing it is recommended.

Another situation is where there are two conduits of different sizes are used, one inside the other and they are overlapped. If the ground settles the two pipes simply slide along one another as the ground settles. This works great unless the ground settles further than the overlap allows. Then the two conduits separate and leave the wires inside exposed to potential damage.

There are various ways to fix this, but the main point is that it should be fixed.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *