Mains cables into bungalow warm to touch

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by phillips29, May 18, 2020.

  1. phillips29

    phillips29 Member

    I live in a mid 60's bungalow with no gas. Heating is oil fired and besides the normal kitchen appliances there is nothing that draws any high current.
    My mains electricity cables come into the garage from a tube in the floor, up the wall to the master fuse and onto the distribution unit (fuse box). They are both insulated black and about 15mm outer diameter.

    On several occasions I have noticed these cables are quite warm (not hot) to the touch. This can be at any time day or night but at other times they are cold.
    The tails to the fuse box are always cold so is the master fuse box.
    I am a retired auto sparky but am puzzled.

    Considering there age etc should this be of concern?
     
  2. quasar9

    quasar9 Active Member

    That cable up to CU (fuse box) belongs to the network operator ( not your company selling you electricity). Your bill will have details of who the network operator is. Call them and if there is a fault they will fix it for free.

    however it’s strange that cables warm up without a significant load.
     
    phillips29 likes this.
  3. nigel willson

    nigel willson Screwfix Select

    Post a picture of the setup. Maybe looped service?
     
    phillips29 likes this.
  4. Comlec

    Comlec Screwfix Select

  5. phillips29

    phillips29 Member

    @quasar9 I thought that was the case but didn't want to bother them if there is nothing wrong. or they cant find anything.

    @nigel willson pictures as requested, never heard of a looped service before but this setup looks the same as every other one I have seen, open to education though.
    IMG_1107.JPG IMG_1106.JPG
     
  6. Abrickie

    Abrickie Super Member

    Free heat, result :)
     
    Joe the Plumber likes this.
  7. quasar9

    quasar9 Active Member

    As you have a smart meter you probably have a secondary energy usage display.. see what the consumption is when it’s hot. It could be a bad junction nearby, the heavy copper cable effectively conducting the heat away masking the actual source. I have heard of these smart meters where the cables have not been correctly torqued down when installed by inexperienced people.
     
  8. Bob Rathbone

    Bob Rathbone Screwfix Select

    Looped service, you may be the first on the run of 3 or 4 consumers connected to the cable. One of the cables is the supply, the other goes out to the next consumer, and so on. The cable is becoming warm due to the aggregated load placed on it by the other consumers on the circuit.
     
  9. spirits are real 2016

    spirits are real 2016 Screwfix Select

    Do you know who your neighbour's are, are they elderly or young people and could one of them be growing drugs..
     
  10. phillips29

    phillips29 Member

    @quasar9 It happened before the smart meter was installed but interesting comment about consumption. There is only 2 of us in the household but are classed as high users (£55+ per month). We are one of five almost identical bungalows who have almost the same number of occupants and of similar age group, next door use average of £25-35 per month. We have lived here for 20 years and had 3 different meters plus a meter test on one of them. I had dismissed this concern as a cause because it is before the meter and I would have thought that any resistance or whatever in them would not affect the household consumption, or am I wrong? EDIT:- just had estimated usage from supplier for next 12 months. We will use 3952kw against UK average of 2800kw.
    @Bob Rathbone The cable goes across the front of each property and each one is teed off that. We are at almost at the end of the supply cable (end of the village), there are only two others after us. They did connect onto the end of this cable a few years ago, upstream of our bungalow, to power 5 new LED street lights on a new path out of the village, hence I know where it goes.
    @spirits are real 2016 Doubtful, one is now unoccupied (passed away), either side and us are retired ( 2, 1 & 2 persons respectively) and the last bungalow is rented out and had 4 different families in the last few years, so I doubt it.
     
  11. Bob Rathbone

    Bob Rathbone Screwfix Select

    This is definitely a looped service, the REC do this to reduce the amount of underground tee joints. You will not be paying for anyone elses electricity. Bad move having a 'Smart' meter.
     
    phillips29 likes this.
  12. quasar9

    quasar9 Active Member

    I think we can safely conclude the heating is caused by looped service and as your meter was tested it’s ok and you are not paying for something you did not use. Resistance in incoming cables may cause a voltage drop but will not affect your meter readings. Classic cases of mystery power consumption are immersion heaters left permanently on or on some clock hidden away in a cupboard. Others are economy tariff devices used during peak hours but you don't have that system. Electric Showers can produce surprisingly large bills, followed by dryers, washing machines, ovens. Approx 70% of my bill are those 3 items.
     
    phillips29 likes this.
  13. phillips29

    phillips29 Member

    No immersion, water is heated by oil fired combi, mostly baths shower (8.5kw)used very occasionally. I have replaced all appliances in the last 2/3 years for A or A+ rated, replaced all lamps in the main 4 rooms (kitchen, bathroom, hall & lounge) with LED with minimal improvement to the bill. There is only 2 of us in the property and until lockdown, we would have takeaway Friday and go out for lunch on a Sunday.
    Guess I will have to remain puzzled as to why usage is so high, unless......
    By having a voltage drop into the meter would this not increase the amperage and therefore the meter would record a higher consumption, or have I lost it completely?
    Back to the subject, I gather the warm cables are nothing to worry about.
     
  14. nigel willson

    nigel willson Screwfix Select

    Oh look, looped service
     
  15. spirits are real 2016

    spirits are real 2016 Screwfix Select

    I gather the warm cables are nothing to worry about.

    Call your local network electricity company and tell them yes warm cables are something to worry about, firm i worked at had warm incoming service cables i told the company electrician and he told me to mind my own business the next day the cables caught fire and damaged the building all because I was ignored and they were warm not hot.. with everything turned off.
     
    phillips29 likes this.
  16. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    I gather the practice of looping supply cables in to properties is no longer carried out. It was deemed 'ok' in the 60's and 70's because there wasn't much in the way of demand per house on the supplies. With the multitude of appliances available today that can be plugged in that has changed the demand considerably, and adding EV chargers, well, that remains to be seen. If you reported this situation to the DNO they may well elect to disconnect the loops and run separate supplies to each of the affected properties. Major job, trenches dug through driveways from the footpath, maybe even the street being dug up if the cables run along the property gardens. Big job.
     
    phillips29 likes this.
  17. phillips29

    phillips29 Member

    Have done some investigating, the bungalow next door has one cable coming in, and there was me thinking my two were a live and neutral DOH!!
    As far as I can make out the bungalows are looped in pairs with the last one being the terminus of the underground power cable. I have also found out that originally the bungalows were fed from a pole on the other side the road.
    I am now awaiting a call from Western Power (A) for the warm cables and (B) can I have a car charging point fitted on a looped system, if not what can they do? The answer will be of interest.
    @unphased The cable runs along the front of the properties in the grass verge, maybe they can "mole" a passage through rather than dig up drives etc I have seen both Gas & Water do this so why not electric cables.
     
  18. phillips29

    phillips29 Member

    Reply from western power.
    It is not unusual for the cables to be warm to touch especially in times of high demand.
    They will uncouple the looped system upon receiving a request for an EV charging point, this will be done FOC.
     
  19. Bob Rathbone

    Bob Rathbone Screwfix Select

    That's a good result.
     
    phillips29 likes this.

Share This Page