Watch Out for Weatherheads!
November 19, 2014 Category: Electrical Safety Comments:
What’s a Weatherhead?
A weatherhead is a waterproof cap that protects a service drop—the point where overhead electric wires from a power pole enter a building, usually via a hollow metal pole called a service mast. (You may also hear it called a weather cap, service head, or service entrance cap). The weatherhead is shaped like a hood, with one side sloping down so that moisture will flow off and away from the connection. The electric wires enter the mast through the underside of this hood, typically through watertight rubberized gaskets.
Know the Risks
While weatherheads are designed to stand up to wind, rain, and snow, they are vulnerable to impact from solid objects, like tools or fallen tree branches. Also, especially if the fittings are older, there may be fine cracks in a gasket so that it will still keep out moisture from above or to one side, but may let in water under pressure from below—as from a hose or sprayer. And, of course, if you slip and fall against the service mast, pulling wires loose, you may risk being severely shocked or electrocuted.
Keep Your Distance
If you’re going to be working on or around a roof, locate the weatherhead and the power lines that feed into it and plan your job so you can keep all workers, tools, and equipment at least 10 feet away. If that’s not possible—say, you’re re-roofing the entire house or replacing the gutters in that area—contact SCE well in advance. They will de-energize the service wires or make other arrangements to help you work safely.