When it comes to protecting your home, certain investments are essential. One such investment is an electrical weatherhead. With the increasing impact of climate change, it’s crucial to be prepared for severe weather conditions. Whether it’s heavy rain or snow, having a weatherhead can provide the protection your electrical system needs.
What is an Electrical Weatherhead?
An electrical weatherhead, also known as a weathercap, service head, gooseneck, or service entrance cap, is a rounded cap designed to keep water out of the pipes. It is a popular installation in many homes and buildings. Apart from its waterproofing capabilities, the weatherhead plays a crucial role in the transfer of power from the utility company to your house, especially when overhead wires are used for connection.
Anatomy of the Weatherhead
The National Electrical Code dictates the requirements for weatherheads. Traditionally, they were anchored to a mast, a metal pole rising through the roof. However, some weatherheads are now mounted using clamps attached to the wall. Regardless of the mounting method, all weatherheads follow the same structure, consisting of a service entrance and a service point.
The Service Entrance
The service entrance comprises the wiring and structural components that connect your home to the utility power grid. It starts at the transformer, situated on the utility’s power pole. The service drop consists of insulated wires and metal cables that run overhead from the transformer to your home. It is then either attached to the exterior of your home or anchored to a mast rising through the roof. The mast contains the service entrance conductors, which are multiple individual wires.
The wires enter the house through a weathercap and descend through a conduit to an electric meter, which measures power usage. They subsequently connect to the main service panel, which houses the main circuit breaker controlling the entire electric current entering the house. In residential buildings in the USA, a 120/240 V split-phase system is commonly used. This system provides two 120 V lines of opposite phase, enabling the provision of 240 V for high-power devices like water heaters and air conditioners.
The Service Point
The weatherhead’s shape prevents rain and snow from entering the mast. It covers the mast to ensure water doesn’t fall in. Additionally, the service drop’s anchoring creates a drip loop, directing rain that drips on the wires to flow downward and fall off the bottom of the loop, away from the service drop.
The service point is where the service drop wires connect to the service entrance conductors. It is the official point of transfer. The utility company takes care of everything on the utility side of the service point, while an electrician handles everything on the house side.
Fixing an Electrical Weatherhead
Due to the direct connection to the utility power pole, only a trained electrician should handle the installation and maintenance of a weatherhead. If you notice any damage to the weathercap caused by falling trees, heavy winds, or any other reason, it’s crucial to call an expert instead of attempting to intervene yourself. Touching the wires without proper training is dangerous and risky.
In conclusion, investing in an electrical weatherhead is a wise decision to protect your home’s electrical system from water damage during severe weather conditions. Remember to rely on professional electricians for installation and maintenance. Stay safe and prepared for any weather event.