I did an inspection on a 10500 sq.ft. home. The panels had there own room. There was 2 control panels with breakers but with no main breakers. I inspected these panels but was not able to tell what the amperage was. Next to the panels was a very large shut off and before that there was 2 throw switches. I inspected the breaker boxes and the the 3 sub panels inside the house. I told my clients that the shut offs and the throw switches were beyond the scope of my inspection. I did recommend having an electrician evaluate this system. Was there more I should of done? Greg
It’s not beyond the scope of the inspection to determine the main breaker or amperage. If you were unable to, be sure to state this fact in your report.
These panels will have a data plate - usually quite visible - attached to the front cover. A home that size will usually have 400 amp service, possibly even parallel services at 400 amps each.
There is no need to remove the shutoff cover, but you need to remove the breaker covers just as you would with any other panel. There is no requirement for a “main breaker,” only a shutoff. The shutoff can be a breaker or a switch.
The panel with the meter is the service equipment. A parallel service would likely have been directly adjacent, or tied in with a gutter. In either case, the SEC’s will originate from behind the meter base.
Where was this home? You know you can call. . .
Seems to me that the throw switches are easier to inspect than breakers. I would have checked them out, but you did 100% the right thing. If you are not 100% sure of a process then document and refer it to the proper tradesman.
Now I have a question for you - Since you did not inspect that throw switch, what are you going to do about it? The point I am getting at is (in my opinion), to start educating yourself NOW on that exact situation. Learn about it, read up on it Ask the guys in here about it. Take pictures and have them explain it to you (people here are a wealth of information). So now the next time this comes up, you can inspect it and not have to defer it out. Make sense? You probably had a 3 phase commercial system on a house this large. Once again, take alot of pictures and then post them in here and ask for help. The guys here will gladly share with you.
Hope this helps. Not knowing is one thing and is acceptable, not educating yourself does a discredit to yourself and the client.
Rarely will you find a 3-phase service on a residential property - at least here in CA - regardless of size, even with multiple elevators.
We find it here often in the large houses in SW Florida…They do everything overkill
Around here it is seen at homes that are 20 years old +/-, are fairly large (over about 3500 ft.) AND have a single heat pump system. I have been told that, for a long, while larger heat pump systems only came in 3 -phase models. Better efficiency and the tendency to install more than one system in larger homes has eliminated the problems in most residential properties.
On a house that large I would have offered a Russel Ray Tech inspection, and brought out a roofer, electrician, plumber, and HVAC tech to report on the individual components.
At least that way, if they choose to go with a standard inspection and you need to defer like you did, then you don’t have an unhappy client.
On distribution panels you should note the max amps that they are setup for not the max “off the shelf amps”. Many 100 to 125 amp “sub panels” will be installed and operating as max 50 or 60 amp panels so don’t mislead the client into thinking they can add some large circuits to it.
AS mentioned above, if you are ever uncertain as to how you should proceed with any part of the home - electrical or otherwise - you should call in another inspector who has the skills needed. That’s much better than giving wrong information or possibly hurting yourself.
Were they beyond the scope of inspection or your training?
It doesn’t matter how big or how many more components there are, they are part of the system you are supposed to be inspecting.
No access, safety of the Inspector, Damage to the building/component, are outside the scope on inspection.