How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
What does it mean when I find buried yellow CAUTION tape when digging a hole in the yard?
Sunday, July 8, 2018
The tape is a warning that an underground electric cable that delivers power to the home, called the “service lateral,” runs underneath it. No circuit breaker protects the cable, and a short caused by a shovel piercing the cable and connecting service wires would be especially dangerous. So stop digging.
The “warning tape” requirement was added to the National Electric Code in the 1999 edition (NEC 300.5(D)(3)), and homes built earlier may not have it. The code requires tape to be placed 12-inches above the cable or PVC conduit, unless it is encased in concrete.
Here’s what it says:
Underground service conductors that are not encased in concrete and that are buried 450 mm (18 in.) or more below grade shall have their location identified by a warning ribbon that is placed in the trench at least 300 mm (12 in.) above the underground installation.
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