Underground service cable exposed



I came accross this today on an old farm house that was moved and extensively remodeled and updated. The electric was recently inspected and the final approved sticker is on the meter directly above the exposed cables. I check my code referece book but could only find referece to trench depth for buried cable not how deep the conduit needs to be under the surface. From what I could determine it should be at least 18" and probably more. I didn’t want to cite code but I did cite an electrocution hazard and recomended further eval by qualified electrician ect. The client questioned me on this since the B.O. passed it a matter of weeks ago. Am I correct in citing this as a defect? I didn’t back it out of my report and stood on a safety issue with the possibility of a weed whip or lawn trimmer hitting it.

wat ya think?

I think you’re right. Here’s a couple I’ve found.





Brian, pointing out safety issues is a very important part of our job…you done good. :smiley:

I can imagine little Johnny playing with his new found jack knife.:shock:

Protection is reqired for at least 18" underground (before the cable exits the earth) and 8’ above.

Burial depth is 24" min.

Thanks for the input. I thought I was in the right by citing the obvious safety issues. I’m just puzzled that the code official passed it in this condition:shock:. In any case the customer agreed that is most likely wasn’t safe.It wasn’t going to be a deal beaker but figuired it must be O.K. because of the inspection sticker.

Thanks again.:smiley:


An inspection sticker doesn’t mean much in my experience. 90% of the panels I inspect have inspection stickers on them, and most of them have code violations in them. The stickered panel I inspected yesterday had a 20 amp breaker protecting a 14 AWG wire, double tapped neutrals, missing knockouts, a loose/damaged breaker, an overheating lug at the main breaker (found it with my temp. gun), and no screws holding the cover on (it was just hanging off the main breaker). Some electricians are sharp as a tack and do great work. Some do shoddy work at best. Code inspectors are too busy to find it all.