Peter McCarthy Electric Co., Inc. - Specializing in Older Buildings in Chicago
Adventures in Old House Wiring....

This service upgrade was more than a little over due!

Chicago Hyde Park ElectricianChicago Hyde Park ElectricianChicago Hyde Park ElectricianChicago Hyde Park ElectricianChicago Hyde Park ElectricianThis house in Hyde Park was more than a little over-due for a service upgrade!

At this home on Harper Ave., there had been a 100 Amp service that had been in place more many years. Many decades, probably. But it was undersized, worn out by the exposure to the elements, and just compromised. The power wires, which are shown here in an aluminum cable assembly, had been exposed to the beating rain and snow. In this type of service cable, the two "hot wires are contained in insulated cables, and the "neutral" conductor is wound around them as a bare wire. When the cable is new, the neutral is not exposed to the elements, because it is contained within the cable sheathing and insulation. But over many years, that insulation had worn away, leaving just the stranded wire itself open to the free air. Note how frayed and damaged this cable was. Certainly the safe current carrying capacity of this cable was quite reduced from its original ampacity when it was new. In addition, the meter housing was not grounded and no ground rod was present.

A big storm finally alerted the homeowners to the need to get this service replaced. One night when the rains were beating down hard and the wind was howling, a large branch fell across the Edison line that ran overhead in the yard. This, in turn, yanked the service cable and meter housing right off the wall. It had been tied up, hanging there, when we arrived. 

We upgraded the service to 200 Amps, installed a new 30 circuit panel with a whole-house surge protector, and updated the main and supplemental ground as the city code requires.

All in all, a big improvement!
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