Grounding of panels

Just got a call from an agent saying seller is baulking at what I called out as discrepancies in Electrical panels and system in general. Ultimately telling them to have a licenced electrician investigate and correct. Seller is saying… “it was permitted, to code and approved by the city when put in”. Home was built 2000, Pool put in in 2005. (I know if it is wrong it is wrong). The seller is an electrician however I believe is involved with oil fields in Alaska, but I’m guessing he did the electrical for the pool at least since it looks like they are the original owners.

The most relevant are the panels and wiring associated with the pool panels and equipment. The main thing is there is no separate ground for these (2) Sub-Panels and also the Conductors leading to the first Sub-Panel is connected (#8 I believe) directly to the Main 150 amp breaker. I guess the pictures may explain it. I marked up the pics just for you, hopefully you can decipher what I’m trying to show. (and yes I did call out the SquareD breaker in the CH panel.) What do you guys see?

There’s plenty of deficiencies in that installation.

If the agent who contacted you is your client’s agent, I would tell them that the report stands as written and your advice to the client remains unchanged, then I would relay that conversation to the client and tell them the same.

If it was the seller’s agent who contacted you, I would refuse to discuss it with them, then I would contact the client and with their permission contact the client’s agent and tell them what I said above.


Yes, multiple defects. Grounds/neutrals bonded, double lugged, back-fed breaker not secured, etc. None of those were ever permitted by “code”.

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Thanks guys. It was the buyer’s agent that called and asked me about it. I think tomorrow I will call my clients directly and just drive home my recommendation again to have this evaluated by a “Residential” Licensed Electrician. Thanks for the backing.

Oh and Chuck some really pretty country up there at Bailey CO. Not to far from were my dad trained at Camp Hale as a ski trooper in WWII. I have a fond reverence for that area. I grew up in the Fruita/ Grand Jct area.

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This always is hot topic between agents and home inspectors. When I get these phone calls, I like to say, whether the work was permitted or not, it is still wrong. However, the complicator is that city inspectors pick and choose what codes they enforce and interpret them based on whatever they think is common sense.
Sellers will fall back on “The work was permitted” and who can blame them. But this argument is between the seller and buyer, and for our part, we stick to saying, “Oh, interesting. Still wrong.”

I don’t understand why you’d backfeed breakers when you have lugs, but i guess its allowed though it needs to be clamped

The backfeed is used as a means of disconnect.

Yeah , I get that. But you still have a diconnect running the source wires to the lugs and using one breaker.

The sub-panel needs an OCPD because those smaller conductors are technically tap conductors. Without the back fed 50 amp CB the only protection for those conductors is the 150 amp main and a panelboard requires overcurrent protection. {408.36} Also depending on their size the tap conductors cannot be NM cable and must be in a raceway or protected by other approved means. {240.21(B)(2) or (3)} With the NM cable the EGC is too small {250.122(A)} and obviously the double tap is incorrect too.


So the 50 amp breaker in the first sub-panel is OCPD for the second box?

No there is another 50 amp CB protecting the feeder to the other sub-panel. In photo #3 the CB on the left feeds the second sub-panel. The CB on the right is the main which is back-fed.

Another interesting fact to throw in to your comment Lon, i looked in to being a city code inspector in my area and was informed the I have up to 6 years to become code certified once employed. So not all city inspectors know there codes.

yeah, thats the one i was talking about