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

Dangerous defects

Electrician Hyde Park ChicagoElectrician Hyde Park ChicagoAgain, yours truly can not figure out why a picture that is vertical on my desktop shows up horizontal when I upload it to my blog. Too tired to go crazy searching for a solution that is beyond my ability to figure out anyway. You can either use your imagination or check my Facebook page, where I will also post this.

What do you see in the top picture? If you are the average laymen, probably just a "pole" and some electric wires.
What do I see? A service riser pipe with the service head broken off. This is about 25" up so I imagine it got that way from falling ice at some point. Not much chance of someone getting an extension ladder, climbing up and hammering it busted and then climbing down and sneaking off into the night. At any rate, with no service head, there is nothing to prevent the rain pouring into the pipe and eventually flowing down into the 90 degree bend that leads into the building, They better hope there is an outward slant on the horizontal pipe leading into the main power panel inside. Water has to work a little harder to flow uphill. Otherwise, there is going to be a big boom.

The bottom picture shows a piece of pipe that was pulled apart when a less-than-meticulous worker hammered something onto a basement ceiling. He took the time to tape the wires at the point of separation, so I'm guessing he nicked one and it was sparking. Hence the tape. He must not have been an electrician. It seems it would have been almost as easy to pull that wire out from the junction box it serves and just re-pull it and then tighten the coupling. Alas, he had bigger fish to fry. 

But the most dangerous aspect of this situation is that one side of that pipe is no longer grounded. In Chicago, our electrical work is grounded through the bonding of the metallic piping system. It is a very good way to insure outlets, switches and lights are grounded, more reliable to my way of thinking than just twisting one green wire together for a ground in an entirely plastic system.

But it does require the pipes to be actually coupled together to work.

We will fix this.
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