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In a lot of older homes, power is still supplied through an overhead connection. In these types of connections, the power is first sent to a transformer usually mounted high above the street on a power pole, from where power cables transport it to the homes in question.
These power lines used to power homes are called service drops. In compliance with building codes, these service drops are meant to be at a height of at least 12 feet above the driveway, while the point where it attaches to the home’s service connection must be at least 10 feet off the ground.
Electrical service entrance wires connect the service connection to the home via a service assembly, usually found at the side of the building. This service assembly has the following components:
- An electric meter that is attached to a service mast.
- A weather head to protect the electrical wires.
If you were to observe the wires entering the weather head, you’d notice that they all usually have a downward loop before entering the service mast. This is called a drip loop, and simple as it may seem is an essential feature of the home’s electrical wiring. Let’s find out the purpose of this drip loop.
The drip loop
The drip loop is just the downward loop of electrical wires. However, there is a reason for this downward loop, and we’re not talking about gravity.
The loop is so that whenever it rains and there is excessive moisture, the water just drips down the wire and into the ground rather than entering the electric meter through the weatherhead and causing serious damage.
These half moon-shaped downward-facing loops are formed by incoming feeder wires and can be found just before the wires enter the weather head.
Each electrical service has three wires: two black ones and a white one. The black ones supply 120 volts of electricity while the white wire is neutral.
When these wires are being drawn, service providers tend to allow for two to four feet of extra wires. This is to ensure the two black and white wires can be looped properly.
Drip loops are not necessarily meant only for high voltage wires. They are used while drawing TV cables, low voltage power cables, and any wiring system that has to deal with the flow of water. In fact, even aquarium wiring systems have drip loops, and they serve the exact same purpose: making sure water drips to the ground instead of flowing into the circuitry.
Creating a drip loop
Making a drip loop is actually really simple. You need to make sure you have sufficient cable length to droop down below the outlet and then back it up again. To make sure the loop stays in place, secure it with a cord clip.
Importance of a drip loop
If the home’s electrical wiring system did not have drip loops, rainwater and excessive moisture would find their way into the weather head, eventually leading to short circuits and even electrical fires.
So if you observe your home’s cabling does not have drip loops, call the service provider to send professionals to rectify the problem immediately. Considering the dangerous nature of high voltage electrical equipment, we wouldn’t advise you to handle the service drop or any of the other components.