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Horror story #44154 10/28/04 09:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 518
John Steinke Offline OP
Just came from a site in a small industrial park. I was called because the gas heater wasn't working, and the heater guy had said 'it was an electrical problem.'

What I found was a heater/fan unit without power. A red and a black wire ran to the panel, where the black was landed on the 'neutral' bus, and the red was capped off.
I found numerous runs of romex, extension cord, and zip cord running to the panel. Some 50A breakers had #12; two 20# had #8. Sone #4 was disconnected.
"Handy boxes" were everywhere. Almost all were missing covers, most were missing knock-outs, and the use of fittings was hit-or-miss.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, service turned out to be 240/120 Delta. That is, one leg (in this case, the third "blue" leg) is 208- and it was feeding some receptacles!
Where some of these 208 "outlets" had been, the device had been cut off, and the wires left hanging.

Spoke to the landlord, and my instructions are to "get the heat working, and disconnect anything illegal." I told him that the heat would be the only thing left working. My only concern is just how difficult I make it to re-connect!

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Horror story #44155 10/29/04 12:18 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
hbiss Offline
What's the explanation for this? If it is as you say I think it would warrant the intervention of the AHJ since there is a clear and present danger to anyone on the premises.


Re: Horror story #44156 10/29/04 05:39 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
George Corron Offline
The explanation seems to be a delta high leg. Should be on B (center) phase, should NOT have 110 volt outlets connected because it has 208 volts to neutral.

I cannot speak to the other violations as they appear to be numerous. You can use B phase for any 240 volt loads, but none that require a neutral.

Re: Horror story #44157 10/29/04 07:09 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
my instructions are to "get the heat working, and disconnect anything illegal." I told him that the heat would be the only thing left working

LOL! [Linked Image]

It sounds as though somebody has done a lot of wiring without realizing how the 4-w delta system works, then later removed any receptacle which was found to have 208V (maybe after frying equipment?).

As for the heater, presumably it was working previously and was wired across two phases for 240V. Maybe it stopped working and somebody tried messing around in the panel without any idea what he was doing, then eventually gave up leaving the connections you found. Just my guess.

Re: Horror story #44158 10/29/04 12:07 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
hbiss Offline
By explanation I was asking how this was allowed to happen. Apparently this is not just a circuit or two but a considerable amount of work done by someone who had no clue and certainly had no business doing what they did.

I assume this is a commercial rental space and this "work" was done by the tenant? Interesting that the landlord isn't taking legal action against the tenant after learning what was done to his property and the liability he now has.


Re: Horror story #44159 10/29/04 06:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 518
John Steinke Offline OP
Just left the job, and spoke to the landlord. I also informed the tenant that, were the city to come, he'd be locked out in a heartbeat. His "substandard wiring- that's too bad" attitude didn't help!
As promised, virtually everything was disconnected. Tenent has been informed that there will be an inspection, and that everything had to be brought to code. I expect that this will exentually lead to his eviction...

This industrial unit has full utilities, and is about large enough to hold four garbage trucks. The tenant is, I believe, living in it (illegally). Virtually al of the original wiring (EMT) had been abandoned, and every concievable wiring method had been used in its' place.
I'd post a picture, but there would be so many major violations we wouldn't know where to start!

I've decided to propose having the 3-phase panel supply a 1-phase subpanel, and have all the appliance circuits originate there. I also want to see all the wiring near the kiln (also near the panel) to be in pipe.

Re: Horror story #44160 10/29/04 07:21 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
hbiss Offline
have all the appliance circuits...

What appliance circuits? I thought this was commercial space and the tenant is living there illegally?

I would also think that it is the landlords's responsibility to correct this problem. The tenant obviously "trashed" the place!



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