Humming panel

Long story short, electrician repaired double-lugged neutrals, he tells the homeowner that he double-lugged them intentionally because he couldn’t get the proper torque with a single wire. He also said that he believed it was “against code” to do it this way but he felt safer than leaving improperly torqued. He then proceeds to tell the owner that he is no longer responsible for any damages since the inspector (me, ha ha) said to change it.

Ok …now the problem… besides the electrician thinking I am responsible for any problems, the panel now hums and the owner is very concerned. Is it possible that it hums because there is not a solid connection at the neutral lugs. The owner swears it did not do this before the electrician came out. I have not been back to see or hear what is going on but I will this weekend.

p.s. It is a Siemens distribution panel located in laundry room, air handler and water heater in same room.

All “feedback” is welcomed!!

Thanks in advance!


Well saying he could not torque a single conductor would…well go against the entire statement of the torquing as required by the NEC. Also go against the foundation that the manufacturer has stated not to double lug the neutrals.

I do like how the client says it never did something before…so are they saying they SIT and listened to their panel before…hardly…

You know nothing ever goes wrong until the HI looks at it…likely story and probably WHY the electrician made the comment.

Did he place any AFCI’s or GFCI’s in the panel, quite possibly he caused a breaker to become loose and the humming is actually arcing from a loose connection…BUT he was the last one in the panel…not you.

You can provide proof that they should not be double lugged…and the panel itself probably has a label on it that would not allow double luggin of the grounded conductors…unless it is like pre-1970 or so…I am guessing on that one…

Anyway…yeah I am VERY sure the electrician had a torque wrench handy…NOT…lol

When you go back out…if the humming is constant …use your thermal ( if you have one ) and see what the temps are on the breakers itself…this may or may not tell you something.

I would hope the guy had enough class to actually tighten down the lugs and terminals properly…I don’t buy the TORQUE response…thats so…well…lame and regardless a GOOD electrician will stand behind his work for a year or more…and anytime a good electrician works in the panel they do it properly or they should not have a license…

Well said Paul. That is worth another green square.

I would walk carefully here. First of all, the electrician cannot transfer liability for his work onto you. Of course this is obvious, and you should point this out to your client and suggest that this might be an indication of his professionalism.

Second, the idea that you can’t attain the proper torque on a terminal with one wire, but you can when there are two wires present, is just plain b.s.

Third, are you sure you want to go out and re-inspect the work of a licensed electrician. If the client feels that the panel is unsafe, you may want to recommend that a different (and hopefully compentent) electrician evaluate it.


Any certain tune that you can discern? Perhaps the panel is just bored?

At this point, in light that the contractor is trying to pass liability to you, I would not go back and open the panel again. You can check thermal conditions as Paul mentioned without dismantling the panel.

I would advise your client of your concerns and that opening the panel would affect the responsibility of the electrician. The electrician is licensed and has a code to operate by. Let the client and the electrician work it out.

he was going back for what ever reason…he can THERMAL without even removing the COVER to the panel so…

Their is NO liability in stating the FACTS about misleading information an electrician may have given on Torque…in fact the liablilty just may lie on the Electrician for making those statements… it does not take dismantling to THERMAL a panel…:slight_smile:

Anyway it may or maynot say anything…some breakers do hum…:)…hmmhmhmhmhmmh

Right. There are a few out there that break out in a full-on Broadway show tune. That’s when you know there’s a big problem.

AFCI’s were humming slightly. They were about 91 degrees. The owner was concerned because the son was fixing the neutrals without turning off the breakers and things were arcing and popping all over (said the owner). He was concerned that the breakers got damaged in all the commotion. B.t.w., the father (master electrician) finally told him that he was doing it wrong. :slight_smile: