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Looking for sympathy shamelessly (yes, I'm whining) - update, we have power.!.

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  • Looking for sympathy shamelessly (yes, I'm whining) - update, we have power.!.

    For the past 3 weeks, some sort of short in the electical system in the barn has been tripping the breaker at the house (not the breaker at the barn). My DH did all he could do (replace breakers, replaced ground wires).

    Our final test was to shut off the breaker at the barn and see if the breaker in the house tripped. Yup, it did.

    What that means is that the short is in the line buried in the ground between the house and the barn .

    The electrician came today and quoted us 1K to replace the line. His reasoning was that he will have to dig the trench by hand because he does not want to use a trencher and risk cutting through the water line. He also discovered that the nitwits that put the line in in the first place didn't use conduit pipe, so the insulation on the lines is corroding (he dug up about a foot worth where it comes up to the breaker box on the barn).

    So, my DH decided that we will do it ourselves, dig a 3 ft deep (code) trench for the 300+ feet from the barn to the house. And this has to be done in one day, since we can't leave an open trench in the pasture for my horses to fall in and break their legs, and we can't keep the horses confined to their stalls for more than a day. And we have to dig by hand - and it is in the 80's here.

    Anyone want to come over with a shovel and lend a hand?
    Last edited by MunchkinsMom; May. 1, 2011, 03:31 PM. Reason: Update
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

  • #2
    Well that sucks.

    Is the current line 3' deep? If so, ditch-witch the trench 2' deep and then hand dig from there.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte

    Comment


    • #3
      I would if I lived closer!

      I hope it gets fixed quickly. Last spring we had a huge trench dug to connect both barns to the new electric meter on the main barn. What a headache! And we were lucky- we had someone use a trencher.


      Edit: "Thank you!" MistyBlue

      Edit2: "Thank you Rodawn!" Sent you a PM with info
      Last edited by drewsbadboy; Apr. 27, 2011, 05:59 PM. Reason: edited to add a "Thank you" for compliment from MistyBlue
      www.springwillowsfarm.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Pardon a 2 second off topic...
        Drewsbadboy, just noticed you're newer here so checked out your site link. Your barn is *gorgeous.*

        Sorry Muchkinsmom...back to the topic now...
        You jump in the saddle,
        Hold onto the bridle!
        Jump in the line!
        ...Belefonte

        Comment


        • #5
          So sorry to hear that. At least it is sandy thawed soil, not frozen clay. Did that make you feel any better? And possibly since they didn't use conduit, they didn't dig to code either. Maybe you only have 1 foot to dig! Just trying to think happy thoughts. I would seriosly consider going to the employment line at your nearest 7-11.
          Originally posted by The Saddle
          Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, I feel your pain! I hope the project at least goes without a hitch. Good luck.
            www.Somermistfarm.com
            Quality Hunter Ponies

            Comment


            • #7
              Oh for heavens sake. Cant you run a *new* line using a digger? Add a few right angles and put the new line far away from the water and the old line? I don't know anything about electricity (ie requires straight lines) but I'd talk to the electrician about that before I worked by hand.
              Oh, and make him mark the line on the surface so you know where it goes (or plant rock steps on the surface so you always know where the new line now actually runs).

              Edited to add:
              While you are at it, can you run the new line so it avoids the pasture (i.e. runs around the outside) so you can service the line without having to stall your horses?

              Comment


              • #8
                Rent a ditch witch, or have someone come out and do the trench 2 feet deep, then put in decent diameter pvc pipe with both ends accessible (use 90 degree joints). Put good rope the length of the wire so you can pull the wire through after you finish, or put a big spool of wire on a hose reel so you can pull through as you attach the pipe. You can do this, and I would definitely get someone to do the trench while you put the pipe together, and then fill in by hand-that would be much quicker, and definitely doable in one day. Make sure the ends of the pipe are under cover on both ends, and you need to close it off somehow so water stays out and the wire stays in good shape.

                Check and see if you need a permit for this, and definitely get the free locator service out to mark locations.
                You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I'll run a few of these ideas past my DH, he can be stubborn sometimes when he thinks he knows it all, and I have to use all my diplomatic skills to make it seem like his idea.

                  Yes, the fact that it is mostly sandy soil (I hope not to hit any pockets of limerock) is a bit of a consolation.

                  I'm willing to bet that the old line is not 3 feet deep either.

                  I did exaggerate a bit, I paced off the distance, and straight line is about 120 feet.
                  There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Chall View Post
                    Oh for heavens sake. Cant you run a *new* line using a digger? Add a few right angles and put the new line far away from the water and the old line? I don't know anything about electricity (ie requires straight lines) but I'd talk to the electrician about that before I worked by hand.
                    Oh, and make him mark the line on the surface so you know where it goes (or plant rock steps on the surface so you always know where the new line now actually runs).

                    Edited to add:
                    While you are at it, can you run the new line so it avoids the pasture (i.e. runs around the outside) so you can service the line without having to stall your horses?
                    Unfortunately, my barn is in the middle of one leg of the pasture, the horses have free access, so there is no way to not go through the pasture. This also cancels out the concept of "marking" where the line is with rocks - I moved from New England the rock capital of the world to this lovely almost rock free part of the world, I sure don't want to put rocks in the pasture.

                    Also, there are no other utility lines running through this side of the pasture, the main electric line is above ground across the pasture to a pole in the side yard of the house, and then in the ground for about 20 feet to the house. And we know all that line is in conduit pipe, as it was done when we had the additions done on the house. The telephone line is across the other leg of the pasture on the other side of the house - and the phone company did bring the ditch witch when they had to replace that whole line a few years ago.
                    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Get a second opinion. An electrician should be able to find where the short is in the line and replace that portion, not the entire line. Mine is also through the pasture and not in conduit. Good luck.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Could you use a couple stepins and run some rope from fence to fence to keep the horses out of that section whille you work??

                        Good luck

                        LBR
                        I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

                        R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ah no sympathies over here, my husband is an electrician so he has to do it all the time .

                          I'm really confused about the certification for electricians in the states (as in, there isn't any), make sure you get someone reputable to do the repair work!

                          You don't actually need to take up the old line if you're just going to replace it...
                          (I'm assuming you don't know where your water line is then?)
                          "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
                          Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
                          Need You Now Equine

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Leave the old line and replace it with a wire run to code, parallel to it and away from the water line. And beware putting the horses right back on it after it's done regardless- a three foot deep trench is going to be soft and squishy footing til it settles. When you're all done, drive the truck up and down the length of it to settle the ground.
                            Then, vodka tonics

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The locator service will mark the water line, then ditch witch within a few feet of it on either side, then hand dig around it. Put the new line in pvc pipe with 90 degree angles to the surface, attach lines, plug holes in lines above ground and attach electric line-fill in ditch. Just detach the old line and leave it where it is, since it will eventually just rot away.
                              You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Utility locate service will not locate any wire after the meter. You'll have to pay a private locate service to mark it. Also, unless your water line is metal or has a locater wire buried with it, the locate service will have a hard time marking it. They can run a metal fish tape into the plastic pipe to locate the water line if you can access one end.

                                Some electrical contractors have equipment to locate buried wire faults. You'll have to call around till you find one so equiped...

                                It might be a better idea to just install another power line in conduit to the barn.
                                Equus makus brokus but happy

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  [QUOTE

                                  Some electrical contractors have equipment to locate buried wire faults. You'll have to call around till you find one so equiped....[/QUOTE]

                                  Ciraco electric. I needed them when my well pump kept tripping. They have the equipment. Unfortunetly my line was under my driveway, so I had to run another one. But they were great, ran a temp line until we found the problem.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Well in this area I am no expert. But if you need manual labor, perhaps you could throw a party. Serve beer, hire a band (OK maybe a cheap one). Have competitions for fastest digger et al. Anyone who helps gets entered in a drawing for ($ or a service that you are happy to provide). That or you could try the Tom Sawyer technique!!!
                                    Best of luck to you~

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thanks everyone.

                                      Yes, we are leaving the old line (so I can have the fans running for the horses while they happily eat hay while I sweat), and putting the new line in, safely encased in conduit. Going to do our best to not dig up or break the existing line and the water line.

                                      My DH reminded me of how the contractor broke the line to the barn when the were digging to lay the foundation for our additions, and it might be where they patched the line back together, and if I had half a brain, I should have notice then (6 years ago) that the line was not in conduit - ARG - I'm sure the folks that we bought the farm from took shortcuts.

                                      And if they took shortcuts, I bet the water line (in pvc pipe) is in the same trench as the faulty electric line.

                                      Now here is the weird part. Since the electrician was here, and he dug up that little bit next to the barn to see what the wire was like in the ground, the circuit has not tripped - so that is almost 48 hours later. Oh well, we are supposed to get rain tomorrow, I bet it starts shorting out again when it rains.

                                      As to asking neighbors. . . I'm probably the youngest in my neighborhood, so asking any of them to help out is probably not a good idea.

                                      I am thinking that I should get one of those easy-up shade things, so that we can at least be out of the sun while we dig, and just move it as we go.
                                      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Well, crud, I had a whole long post typed out, and Google Chrome crapped out on me, and I lost it.

                                        At any rate, we are not going to take the old line out, and I suspect that it is in the same trench with the pvc pipe for the water line. So, finding the water line would not be easy either.

                                        As to asking the neighbors to come help . . I'm the youngest person in my neighborhood, and I am no spring chicken, so that's not going to happen. And my daughter and her friends are all busy doing an outdoor cleanup day at the high school to get some community service hours that they need for graduation. Trust me, I was going to splurge on shovels for all of them.
                                        There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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