I inspected this home 4 weeks ago, originally built in 1979. I called out that the main service disconnect was stressed (note angle of disconnect) and should be evaluated/repaired by an electrician. Clients failed to do so before closing.

House closed yesterday. New owners fly up (2000 miles) to their $1M waterfront second home. No 240 power, 120 only. I get the call…“did you verify that the baseboard heaters were operational? The house is freezing cold!” I immediately return the call, verifying (as I did when we met) that they were operational at the time of inspection. The previous owners were absentee, so the house had been vacant for the past 4 weeks.

It turns out that the stress on the (underground) secondary power to the house actually snapped one of the hot service cables to the house. Location of break unknown. Driveway is approximately 500 feet long. Electrician wants to dig it all up and run new wire. Approximate cost = $10K (at least).

Glad I called out the stressed service cables! What amazingly unfortunate timing for the new owners that cables would actually snap just before closing in a house constructed almost 30 years ago. Unbelievable.

McKenzie House Pictures 069.jpg

Are they sure it isn’t just a bad breaker, bad connection in the meter base or a bad stab in that disconnect? It is hard to break a 4/0 conductor.

That’s what I was thinking.

Nevertheless, good eye and good call on the recommended repair Tim. :wink:

Greg & Larry:

Yes, according to the electrician, the breaker was okay, as was the meter connection. He says he’s seen this happen a few times before. I’d like to know where it actually broke!

Probably $9900 farther down the line…:mrgreen:

Recommend second opinion!

We’re going to need a picture of the break and a note from the electrician’s mom that he’s not BS ing. :stuck_out_tongue:

When they installed my underground feed, I talked to the installers.

They said it was fairly common for the cable to develop a defect and the resulting current leakage to the earth blows the conductor apart.

This problem occured near my Dad’s house and he watched them dig and splice a new short section of the cable.

Physical stress breakage is not likley unless the driveway settled a major amount that would be noticeable.

Also, why would an electrician be quoting a fee to repair the power companies property?
The power company will fix this for free and route the new cable around the driveway edge.

Bruce: It’s secondary, not primary power. Therefore, it’s the homeowners responsibility beyond the meter. In our area, homeowners will typically locate the transclosure and meter far away from the house to keep those pesky meter readers from invading their privacy. The downside, obviously, is long runs from the street to the house in rural areas.