11

What are the four boxes in the picture below for? The fat pipe to the left goes up to the electricity meter. I've also included pictures of the two labels I could find.

Also, why is there a green plastic rope coming out of the first box? I found the box slightly gaping with the bottom screw missing1, and the rubber water seal around the cover a bit ripped where the rope is coming from. When I pull on the rope, there seems to be no resistance as if I could completely pull it out of the box. The fact that the seal is cut up where the rope is makes me think it wasn't supposed to be there in the first place...Should I pull out the rope and fix the seal of the box's cover?

1 I placed a new screw as seen in the picture, so that the box isn't gaping wide open (to rain, insects, etc.)...

4 boxes

box label

pipe

  • 1
    take off the covers and look inside – jsotola May 26 at 21:10
  • 7
    Power for... a pool? AC unit? Driveway or landscape lighting? Who knows what they're for. It's your house. What needs electricity outside? That should answer your question. – J... May 27 at 13:39
  • Probably outgoing wires. If ingoing wires were connected like this, I'd have a problem with it were it my house. Too easy to temper with. – Mast May 27 at 17:58
  • 1
    The fact that the green pull rope is straight and at an angle indicates that the end is buried in the gravel there. I'd suggest giving it a light tug to see if it comes up easily (if not, figure out why). Then consider rolling it up, taping the roll with some masking tape (to avoid leaving nasty residue) and gently putting it inside the cover of the box it comes out of. That way, when you replace the cover/gasket, it's not hanging out any more, but it's easy for the next electrician to grab. – FreeMan May 28 at 16:04
18

That is non metallic (PVC) electrical conduit.

There must be wires in them that come from or go to the inside of the house to an out building or ?? .

The green cord could be left there for fishing ( pulling ) new wire from one of the ends. Have you seen this green cord near any other electrical fixtures?

The covers come off to facilitate fishing the wires, It can be difficult to fish the wires thru many bends, so with this setup, you can pull a length of wire from one direction thru the open body and then pull the remainder as you help feed in to the body to complete the turn, then put the cover back on.

  • 3
    The green line is for a pull rope that was put in for future work.Try to put something on it so it does not fall into pipe Do not pull the rope back just leave it.. If you pulled some back just push it back in. a shop vac may be able to recover line You can get a new gasket replace it and add a new screw.. It is fine and wont hurt nothing the were planing ahead to benefit you done all the time. – user101687 May 26 at 19:46
  • Is this where an AC unit would be plugged in? – Jet Blue May 26 at 23:15
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    @JetBlue -- one of the conduits might lead off to an A/C outdoor unit, perhaps (or more precisely, the associated disconnect box). It wouldn't be "plugged in" per se, though, but hardwired – ThreePhaseEel May 27 at 0:32
14

These are conduit bodies

What you are looking at is a set of PVC electrical conduits that extend underground (maybe to outbuildings or such?) with wiring inside, as well as at least one pull rope (the green rope you see dangling outside one of them) that can be used to add more wire to that conduit.

Attached to these conduits coming out of the ground are LB conduit bodies that provide a means of making the tight bend into the wall that's still accessible, so the electrician can make the pull through the underground conduit up to the open body, as the covers come off, then finish the pull from the body to the panel or box the conduit terminates at. This is done as the pulling forces become excessive if a wire pull becomes too long or bendy; the NEC sets a limit of 360° of cumulative bend between pull points for this reason, for that matter.

  • Thanks for the specific name and the explanation, it all makes much more sense now. – Jet Blue May 27 at 3:44
8

First, get a nice strong magnet and pick through gravel below for that missing screw.

Regardless, take that cover off and bring it to a few local electrical supply houses (NOT big-box stores) and see if any of them sell that same PVC conduit body. They may be able to sell you a cover, but which brands they carry will vary. Obviously you want one that carries that brand of conduit body, so call ahead. It was a huge mistake to leave that rope dangling out of the gasket, as it wrecked the gasket.

The rope is in there for future pulling. Most people's tendency is to assume "the last person" was a fool. My rule is assume the last person did that thing for a reason, and you just haven't caught up with the reason yet. At some point in the future you will want something, and with any luck it'll be related and voila.

Expect that aged rope to be flimsy as heck. It will have been sitting in water for years. Don't pull wires with it - pull a new rope similar to it, then use that to pull the wires. The water isn't because of the missing screw. The water is because all underground wiring is 100% under water 100% of the time no matter how much we try to seal it, or that's the assumption we make. Trying to make conduit actually watertight is a lost cause, unless you go to industrial extremes like pressurizing it to 2 PSI. And there's no reason to bother; wet-rated wire such as THWN-2 or XHHW is rated for 100% water contact.

Also by the way, don't use cables in conduit. It's legal, just unnecessarily difficult. Use individual wires (that are wet-rated such as THWN-2 or XHHW). Besides, NM/Romex isn't wet rated).

Lastly, if that conduit is anything other than a northern exposure, paint it otherwise UV damage will tear it up. 1) Lightly sand it with a green Scotchbrite pad so the primer will stick, 2) brush an alkyd primer like Kilz Original or Rustoleum 7780 (use an 80 cent cheapie natural bristle brush, it won't clean with water, just throw it away), give it a month to cure, then 3) top with your house's latex paint.

  • 2
    Unless it's incredibly ancient I'd expect that green rope to be a rot-proof synthetic polymer, unless the person who put it in was intending to use it within a month. – nigel222 May 28 at 12:23

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