An electrician and his own home

Just finished an inspection of a home in the midst of being renovated by the seller–an electrician. Most everything is a “work in progress” and will never be completed by hime, as he and his wife are divorcing and selling the house (might be a reason for all the discord :wink: )

Anyway, when the electrical was done, an old Federal Pacific panel was disconnected. Then the new service entry was installed in an addition to the house–200 amp. This panel has few circuit breakers–mostly directed to the 23 rooms of the addition, but has a 150 amp common trip which appears to be directed at to subpanel in the original/remote basement (which only has an exterior entry and is cluttered beyond belief). This subpanel has a 200 amp main breaker and most of the individual breakers to the rest of the house.

Did I say the subpanel has no cover? Did I say that there’s an exterior lighting panel installed just above ground level when the box says it should be a minimum of a foot off the ground? (Yes, plenty of rust) And another federal pacific outdoor box in a location I can best describe as a man made cave (underneath rusted steel I-beam supported hillside backyard patio) which has exposed wires.

Clearly an electrician to NOT recommend. But, would the service to the subpanel still be considered 200 amp, even though the common trip from the main is 150? The whole thing smells wrong to me. Buyers are going in with eyes wide open, but…

The capacity of the subpanel is based on the rating of the OCPD ahead of the subpanel feeder and the feeder conductors. What size wire is feeding the sub?

It is at least 2/0 copper. Don’t recall it being quite 3/0, but 2/0 should be enough to carry 200 amps.

Since it’s copper I’m assuming that it’s in a raceway and not SE cable since copper SE cable is a rarity in New Jersey. Are there 4 conductors in the feeder?

Yes, 4 wires, 2 coming from the common trip. I’ve attached a closeup photo of the main panel, but since its my first attempt at uploading, we’ll see if it came out OK.

Good pic

So this photo is of the 150 amp CB in the service that is feeding the subpanel? From the bare EGC that looks like Aluminum SER cable. Under the 2008 NEC that cable would need to be used at it’s 60° C ampacity in Table 310.16. The appropriate ampacities are as follows for interior SE cable with Al conductors:

#1-85 amps
#1/0-100 amps
#2/0-115 amps
#3/0-130 amps
#4/0-150 amps

From the photo I would bet that the 150 amp OCPD is too large.

Here is the other end of the line–the subpanel. The main switch in this panel is 200 amps. And, as my caption for the report indicated, there was no cover. And there was a worktable with a computer printer on it in the way as well. That was the tip of the iceberg in this room.

It’s hard to tell from that photo but it appears that the feeder EGC and neutral are tied into a common bus when they must be separate. Judging from the numerous violations it looks like this entire installation needs to be evaluated by a licensed electrician.

The setup is sort of a “second main” as opposed to being a subpanel, but it obviously has to be considered a subpanel. It is all very unusual, as is much of the rest of the house.

Having the whole shebang checked out by a licensed electrician was definitely a recommendation in my report, as there are no municipal inspection stickers present and, to the best of my knowledge, there is an open permit (long-standing) on the entire addition/renovation to the house. Plenty of ‘non-standard’ stuff to be found, to be sure.

Thanks for your input.