HELP! I'll ship everyone who contributes a box of stuff from Inspector Outlet.

Today I built an *electrical service from hell *(see attached PIC).

Here is the problem: I’m not really an electrician. So I put text under each photo, but I’m sure the text isn’t technically correct. I just worded it the way I would explain it.

What I need is for you electrical inspectors, electricians, and code folks to scroll down the photos and give me this:

  • The correct way to say it. I’m sure you can improve on the verbiage. Correct it for me by posting the right way to say it.
  • The correct way to spell it. I don’t know if it is “knockout” or “knock-out” or if it is “AMP” or “amp.”
  • Any side notes you would add such as “This problem is usually found when…” or “This issue can be easily corrected by…”
  • Any references to actual codes such as the NEC that addresses the issue in the photo (I know it is a pain to look up).

I’ll take anything and everything you can post here on this message board.

To each person who contributes… I’ll ship a box of cool stuff from InspectorOutlet. The more you contribute, the bigger your box!

Here is the photo article:

Tear it up!



Here are a few…

Service, service panel and sub panel. Service Equipment and Sub Panel.

200 Amp main over-current device 200 Amp Service Disconnect

No Anti-oxidation paste on current-carrying aluminum conductor Not Required

Breaker exceeds ampacity of conductor. Over-fused Conductor

100 amp subpanel feed located at bottom of buss assembly. 100 Amp Back-fed Breaker Located…

100 amp feeder breaker to subpanel protecting #6 conductor. Error. The back-fed breaker does not have to match the conductors supplying it. The breakers at the other end must be sized appropriately.

Breaker knockouts missing Twist-outs Missing

Is this what you need?

regional colloquial interpretation may differ
pic 1
left component is a meter socket
center component is load center aka service panel, breaker box
right component is auxiliary or sub panel

Square D Circuit breaker in a GE panel board.

Not permitted unless classified for that panel.

Thanks Jeff and Michael! Perfect! I’ll be making the improvements to the text as this thread goes on.

1st pic l to r
meter socket
load center
auxiliary panel

Thanks Barry.

The hot conductor in the two wire cable is not required to be taped red. It can be any color except white, grey or green. Other methods besides tape can be used.

Tandem breakers do not require handle ties.

Many of the supposed defects are based on the latest codes. Making blanket statements like this without knowing the install date and the enforced code at the time is going to result in “defects” being called out that may have been compliant.

Jeff already covered the No-Alox not being required.

The yellow sheath needs to extend at least 1/4" . there is no maximum, except that 6" of free conductor must extend past the sheath.

Conductors to a ground rod never need to be larger than #6.

Don’t use your finger to point out electrical defects in a service panel or any high voltage area, a non conductive instrument would be a much better choice.

Not all strands are under set screw of lug. Wire not properly installed and secured incorrectly to breaker.

Neutral and ground bus bar not bonded to panel:

  • No green screw
  • No copper bond strap
  • No #4 conductor bonded to panel

Debris in bottom of panel.

Conductor ran over energized bus.

Three neutral conductors on one lug (only one allowed). I would consider rephrasing, three neutral conductors connected to single lug. (1 neutral per lug).

Non weather-tight knockout cover used on side of panel. Bottom of panel would have been O.K. this statement seems like an assumptions. I would take this out.

Cable entering panel without strain relief or jacket. add Cable jacket is stripped beyond entry.

this is only a couple that I saw. I am not sure if I am qualified to help, but seems like a few of these where written up outside our sop.

Multi wire branch circuits typically do not use tandems since both hots are on the same leg of the panel. GE is the one exception. Properly installed they can connect to both legs of the panel.

The #14 on a 20 amp breaker may be correct depending on the load served. Air conditioning would be one example.

The part about the meter socket wiring is extraneous since you will not have access to it.

To expand on what Michael said, there is actually a hodgepodge of breaker brands in this panel.

The white wires going into two-pole breakers that are not properly re-identified, can actually be any color, except for green and white.

Auxiliary panel, though correct is more widely known as a “sub” panel.

Even though its the incorrect fitting, there needs to be a grounding conductor between the fitting and the ground buss.

For the strands not completely under the lug, maybe write a little about arc flash dangers. Here is a good info sheet from OSHA regarding arc flash hazards.

Nick it looks like you broke-the-plane of the panel, which is against our SOP…lol

Jim-always appreciate your input but for home inspector clarification


we can’t tell for sure 240 V circuits do require handle ties

as you’ve often heard we’re not code inspectors and some items (report absence of AFCI were required by TREC regardless of equipment install date…go figure a state licensing agency)

not per 250.122 when service is over 200 Amp

Meter socket, circuit breaker panel and sub-panel.

Inadequately sized service entrance conductors. A 200 Amp service disconnect with #2 (is this # 2 or 2-0?) aluminum conductors which are rated at only 100 amps load (or 150 if it is 2-0), a conductors gauge of 4-0 is required for a 200 amp service entrance.

Exposed bare conductor, excessive insulation removed. Conductor damaged during insulation removal.

Will pick up more in morning.

GEC are sized per 250.66, not 250.122

250.66 Size of Alternating-Current Grounding Electrode
Conductor. The size of the grounding electrode conductor
at the service, at each building or structure where
supplied by a feeder(s) or branch circuit(s), or at a separately
derived system of a grounded or ungrounded ac system
shall not be less than given in Table 250.66, except as
permitted in 250.66(A) through ©.
Informational Note: See 250.24© for size of ac system
conductor brought to service equipment.
(A) Connections to Rod, Pipe, or Plate Electrodes.
Where the grounding electrode conductor is connected to
rod, pipe, or plate electrodes as permitted in 250.52(A)(5)
or (A)(7), that portion of the conductor that is the sole connection
to the grounding electrode shall not be required to be
larger than 6 AWG copper wire or 4 AWG aluminum wire.

Older MWBC’s did not require handle ties or simultaenous disconnect unless they landed on the same yoke.

Thomas, I’m lost. What did you mean by:

Can you describe what photo you are talking about?

Not all strands are under set screw of lug. I have seen this a couple of times. Nick you should also include a picture of the wiring under a lug that is over torqued:D

But they do nowadays in this case?

Is the anti-oxidation paste a recommended practice even though not required?