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#2065 - 06/19/01 06:44 PM Near Disaster Adverted
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
Got a troubleshooting call on Saturday.

Complaints included:
>Arcing in Panel
>Arcing on LP tank and lines
>Getting shocked when trying to open panel to shut down the circuits
>Trouble started after Plumber changed to new pump on Friday.

When I got there I discovered:
>Panel was hot according to volt tic
(Donned my rubber boots, hardhat, safety glasses and rubber gloves)
>Killed the main, after shower of sparks from terminals in main breaker.
>All EGC's were fastened to various lag bolts mounting the panel, with burn marks.
>The GEC was fastened to a Lag bolt too, with burn marks.
>No bonding screw was present.
>EGC's were NOT bonded to the Neutral buss (no disco)
>Pump feed was wired correctly, other than no tape on white wire.
>Pump was wired correctly at pressure switch, didn't want to pull the pump up to look...
>However! AHA!! The disconnect for the pump was wired as follows:
Black wires through fused connection
White wires (remember those?) on the ground buss!
Bare wires on the other fused connection!?!?!?!

BTW, said disco for pump was mounted on a tree above the pumphouse...my wife had the camera that day

LP tank was near said tree.

Theory:
The hot white wire was making the disco box hot, which made the tree hot, which made it's way to the LP tank, which returned to the house on the LP line, connected with the useless ground rod to make the panel hot. The bad main was just a coincidence...

What do you think?

Oh yeah, changed the pump disco connects to be correct, and replaced the main breaker, and corrected the grounding problems in the panel. No more problems.


[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 06-19-2001).]
_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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#2066 - 06/20/01 03:52 AM Re: Near Disaster Adverted
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
I'd say your only competition that day would be the local fire dept.


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#2067 - 06/20/01 04:30 AM Re: Near Disaster Adverted
Redsy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/28/01
Posts: 2138
Loc: Bucks County PA
WOW! Cool!

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#2068 - 06/20/01 05:21 PM Re: Near Disaster Adverted
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
weren't you wondering at what voltage LP gas would inginte?


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#2069 - 06/20/01 06:43 PM Re: Near Disaster Adverted
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
My main worry was getting the main cut without frying myself... The LP tank was on the other side of the house, not that a house would be a sufficient barrier or anything...

The sparks from the bad terminals (no antioxidant) was enough to scare the crap out of me. No tingles or burns, though.

Stuff like this is just appalling... A "comedy of errors..." or is that "tragedy of errors?!?!"

_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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#2070 - 06/20/01 06:52 PM Re: Near Disaster Adverted
electure Offline

Member

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
Virgil,
Once again you pulled through. From the places you go, it sounds like you'd just better get that tic-tracer surgically attached to your hand...and maybe a gas detector on the other. Glad you got there before the blast.

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#2071 - 06/21/01 03:29 AM Re: Near Disaster Adverted
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
Virgil;
there should be some sort of 'hazardous duty pay' in it for you! But don't push your luck to 'purple heart' status !


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#2072 - 06/21/01 08:52 AM Re: Near Disaster Adverted
WARREN1 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 184
Loc: Greenville, SC, USA
Sounds like maybe a plumber or a DIY. I appreciate someone else donning the SAFETY equipment very early in the project. Always work with safety in mind. Most of those outside the trade don't realize that electricity is very silent and extremely deadly. Glad there wasn't any leak in the gas tank or lines, and you are safe to rescue another (?).

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