I've read that the service mast on the roof should be 12-18 inches high. The one we have is a lot shorter than that. Does that pose any safety issues? We recently purchased the house, and the previous owners had it like this for the past 20-30 years. What is the best way to extend the mast? What things do I need to watch for?

Short service mast

  • What is the pole in front of the service entrance? Could you provide a wider angle picture? From the shadow, it looks like the pole in front of the red pipe is the service mast (where the conductors connect to the house) but it's hard to tell what is going on in the picture. – Tester101 Jun 22 '11 at 13:40
  • @Tester101 Honestly, i don't know. This is the picture i got from the house inspection report. House is still in escrow, but i will try to pass by to take a look. But What is the purpose of having the short red mast if the other pipe is the indeed service mast. – Hussein Jun 22 '11 at 19:13
  • I really couldn't say why it was done this way (if that is really what is done), without actually seeing what was done. I'm guessing the metal pole is where the service-drop connects to the house, and the red pipe is where it enters the house (typically this is the same pole) but all of this is speculation as I can't actually see what is going on. – Tester101 Jun 22 '11 at 19:36

The main risk with a short mast is that your feeder cables may come in contact with your roof, particularly at the edges, or other roof fixtures. (What is that metal rod in front of it -- maybe an antenna?)

Because the cable is flexible, it can move during a windstorm. Over the years, if it is rubbing against your roof, the insulation can wear down and you risk electrifying parts of your house or reducing the reliability of your electric service. Worst case, the cables could arc and cause a fire.

Adjusting the length may be a simple operation but to do it safely requires shutting off power before that point, which you'd need the utility to handle. Additionally, further work may be required if, say, the wire leading down to your meter or service panel was not long enough to simply extend the current mast in place.

I'd recommend calling your electric utility to come check it out. They will tell you what the safety concerns and current codes are, and may even be able to correct the problem. For the work on/in your home, you may need an electrician, depending on your state, and will almost certainly need a permit.

  • Thanks for the detailed reply. Reading @tester01 comment above, the pipe infront of the red mast could be the actual service mast. I don't have access to the house yet, but i wonder if that is true. I know it's not an entenna when i checked the house. Is the city the one that handles the service drop lines and masts or is this something done by any third party electrician. – Hussein Jun 22 '11 at 19:21
  • I'm not sure -- I'd recommend calling your utility to ask. I think the utility owns the meter and any wiring running from the street to your meter, but the homeowner/builder may be responsible for the conduit. You could also ask your home inspector, they should be happy to elaborate on their report! – Shimon Rura Jun 22 '11 at 20:54

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