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#121733 - 08/16/05 10:08 PM Recent Home Inspection  
Admin  Offline

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,460
(submitted by Joe Tedesco)
Hi Joe,

It was a pleasure listening to you tonight in Portland. Thanks so much for coming to our meeting. I know the electrical inspection is probably the weakest area for me and where I need the most help. Anyway, I thought I'd send along some photos from an inspection that I did this week. A couple of things had me shaking my head like the 100 amp wires from the street connecting to 200 amp wires on the service masthead and protected by a 200 amp breaker! Why would a power company make that connection? I guess if it was a 100 amp breaker, it would be okay, but not a 200 amp breaker, right?

Also, the double tap at the bottom left of the panel, the red and the black wires are from the same conductor. What do you think that's about?

The wire in front of the water heater was actually depicting the connection of the shallow well pump to an extension cord coming from an outlet that was on the same circuit as the refrigerator.

Anyway, I recommended that the buyer have an electrician come in and re-evaluate the electrical system.

Thanks again,

Phil P
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#121734 - 08/16/05 11:36 PM Re: Recent Home Inspection  
Larry Fine  Offline
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 693
Richmond, VA
Just a non-critical response, in order:

Being exposed to free air, the wires can be smaller, but these do look a lot smaller. The POCO doesn't adhere to the NEC, and this was probably an upgrade.

The (what appears to be) old range cable is a big hint about this being an upgrade. Are there any obviously-older cables? The pic isn't clear at the top.

Other than most likely not being approved for two conductors (cured with a simple pigtail), the neutral will not be overloaded, since the two hots share a breaker.

My guess is that the black wire was on the breaker above the shared one; we can only wonder why. If the breaker nuisance-trips, you could try moving it back.

I'd have a bigger issue with the pump cable, whether it's hard-wired or connected through an extension cord. It should be on a dedicated, properly-wired circuit.

Don't be suprised if you have a problem with the lower phase of the stabbed-on main breaker some day. One last observation: they have a lot of baseboard heaters!

Larry Fine
Fine Electric Co.

#121735 - 08/17/05 06:10 AM Re: Recent Home Inspection  
IanR  Offline
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 328
Palm Bay FL USA
Dang, there's quite a few breakers stuffed in that panel. I see one or two that aren't wired but still, I thought that there was a requirement for a few extra spaces. If not a requirement per say, a good idea none the less.

#121736 - 08/17/05 11:39 AM Re: Recent Home Inspection  
RSmike  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 134
Holland, MI USA
I see 40 spaces which is ok under NEC. Also there's nothing in the NEC that would not allow the panel to be filled and max'd out. Actually you should be able to put in two tandem breakers to take things out to the allowable 42 breakers.


[This message has been edited by RSmike (edited 08-17-2005).]

#121737 - 08/17/05 12:34 PM Re: Recent Home Inspection  
John Crighton  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 177
Southern California
What I see is an awful lot of white wire that needs to be re-identified. I also see that the reds and blacks are swapped at the top left.

What I don't see is a grounding electrode conductor, or a bond at the service conduit.

#121738 - 08/17/05 01:50 PM Re: Recent Home Inspection  
SvenNYC  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
New York City
Uhhh...what's with the piece of paper stuck between the plug and the extension cord tap in the last picture?

I remember those round things used to have a cardboard (nowadays it's grey plastic) insulator disk over the pins, but jeeze.

Also, how DID they manage to hook up Romex to such a small plug commonly used for lamps and small appliances? WOW! [Linked Image]

#121739 - 08/17/05 03:06 PM Re: Recent Home Inspection  
Larry Fine  Offline
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 693
Richmond, VA
"I also see that the reds and blacks are swapped at the top left."

You're kidding, right? I've never seen anything that requires the black be on "phase A" (on the top, left, etc.). One of my guys even used to say this is supposed to be done.

For that matter, all of the hot wires could be the same color, except for different voltages or a high-leg. White and gray, and green, are the only specifed colors otherwise.

Larry Fine
Fine Electric Co.

#121740 - 08/17/05 04:50 PM Re: Recent Home Inspection  
John Crighton  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 177
Southern California
Not kidding, exactly. I know that NEC doesn't care whether the hots are turquoise or ochre. But black and red is such a widely used convention, and it's so easy to match 'em up, that it just bugs me to see the swap. Even the "B"-phase service wire has a red stripe!

A lot of man-hours get wasted every day troubleshooting "weird" installations, and I try not to contribute to the madness. Call it a quirk.

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