Welcome to ECN! You picked up the main points here. This is still connected to a threadbare 100A capacity service cable too. The previous owner likely picked this out of the Trash where he worked and brought it home.
What advice would you give the new owners of this house and how would you justify it?
The panel is being used in a way its not designed for.There are twice as many circuits on one phase than the other.The lugs are not designed for 2 wires.Can't relly make out the breaker size as opposed to wire size.At least 1 open k.o.
Point out FPN's glorious safety record. Tell them that those new solid state appliances they have will love those spikes and surges they are getting without a main disconnect. (not to mention FPN's reliable and sensitive performance ) The cost and aggravation of finding FPN breakers will more than make up the price of a SqD Homeline 200 amp kit.
Or we can mention the reaction of the city inspector walking by the panel and red tagging it. I don't see a grandfather in this clause!
Also, I pray to God there is a Main Breaker close to the meter! Or judging from the threadbare service cable, shall I assume 60 amp cartridge fuses?
[This message has been edited by Currently (edited 09-27-2002).]
No, there is no main at all anywhere. I don't know if there was a Home Inspector involved prior to resale, but that was several years ago anyway. They apparently had some trust in the former owner because he was an Engineer (let us not go down that road) and did not see any immediate concerns here even after hearing what I had to say.
This was found during a Kitchen Remodel I was brought in on awhile ago. When I found out that all the kitchen outlets + Bathroom outlet + Dining Rm and some in the Living Rm, hall & outside lt were on 1 circuit I recommended some new wiring be pulled in while the walls were open. It would have been rather easy since the Panel was below and only about 15 ft away. The wiring was cloth-covered 2-wire with a separate (smaller gauge) aluminum ground wire.
To make a long story short the walls were closed back up with only a new dishwasher and microwave circuit added. And the service was not touched. After paying for the $1500.00 countertop (6' long) there just wasn't enough money left in the budget to do anything else. How can you argue with that?
When I get a service call from someone having trouble with a Zinsco or FPE panel or breaker I don't usually go in to how bad they are in my opinion. I focus on the expense of replacement breakers and rationalize that replacing 8-10 breakers is more money than buying an ITE 200A contractor pack with a copper buss and an assortment of breakers. I get calls quite often where a Zinsco breaker won't turn off or half of the main breaker goes dead intermitently(sp?)or where someone bought a Zinsco breaker at the hardware store in town(about $45.00) and when they pulled the old one out part of the buss came with it. The FPE problem calls are pretty much what everyone has heard before. The customer took the cover off and half of the breakers fell out and dangled by the branch wires. I try not to scare customers into doing the right thing but when it does become necessary to emphasize the potential danger of a situation I always give them the name and number of at least 2 other local electricians for second opinions. I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to scare them out of their money.