Newbies - Spot the safety issue

This is another picture i hope will help newbies think outside of the box. (Pun fully intended)

The home in this inspection has two panels in the basement.

A fuse panel at the front of the house and this sub-panel attached to side-wall that feeds the attached garage on the other side of the wall, the stove above and the HVAC compressor on the other side of the house.


The panel is a sub-panel fed from a fuse panel in another part of the basement. The panel is supplied by a 240 volt 50AMP pull out breaker block.

What is the problem here?

The clues are in the photograph and the write-up here.

It’s is as obvious as it can be, but easily missed.

(Oh! and for the more experienced Homies, it’s a trick question)

Possibly the flourescent lite wired directly into subpanel with its wire rolled up sitting on top of panel. Or maybe is that the driveway pitched directly into the window well - if that is the driveway im seeing thru the window. Whats my batting ave. so far ?

My first thought was the same as Mr. Foleys, the florescent light hard-wired into the panel, or at least that’s what it looks like in the photo. Was there a main shut-off close to the HVAC compressor on “the other side of the house.” ?..or is this the only one ?

this sub-panel attached to side-wall that feeds the attached garage on the other side of the wall, the stove above and the HVAC compressor on the other side of the house.

(50 amps) ?

Obviously the issue is the missing window blinds wand.:slight_smile:

can’t tell the size of the breakers, but looks like at least (4) 15 a single pole, and (2) double pole, probably at least 20a each. That being fed by 50 amps doesn’t make sense.

Looks like the light is hardwired into the panel, and what’s the wire coiled up on top?

Inadequate work space above panel, not flush mounted

It looks as if the fluorescent light is hardwired directly into panel, with its cord wire tied to make it “prettier”. Also for safety there is not any fire caulk covering the penetration directly above the service panel. And it also looks like the bottom left side breaker may be tripped.

is part of the cover missing or removed? a piece that would go in the middle between breakers?

That would appear so by the pic.

Good catch.
Never noticed those to be knockouts …hmmm

Come to think of it I avoided much top investigation with light already called out however on the top left are those bare conductors entering the ceiling. ?

Since other non-newbies are answering, Mike C. has what I would agree with. The mixing of 120 and 240 circuits could overload and blow one of the two fuses in the pull out 50 amp block. This would create a situation where power was dead on one leg of the 240 circuits while the other leg remained energized along with the neutral. Multiwire branch circuits must be joined to disconnect simultaneously to prevent accidental injury when working on the circuit but a fused pull out cannot accomplish this.

I can see why Len put this up. I think it is time he came back for another clue.

Cam, I answered as a “newbie”…under 3 yrs inspecting professionally…Not sure when we’re not considered newbies any more? :cool:

I was thinking more of Bob. :slight_smile:

Bob is a “Newby”, he is always coming up with new ideas. :wink:


HA! I was thinking he was a newbie because he’s always buying a new camera. :slight_smile:

Not lately though I have my eye on a few.

Been going back and forth on this android stuff and mobile.
Texting notes is one thing but pictures is another.

I’ve seen Bob’s picture…he’s no Newbie!! :mrgreen: (sorry Bob, I couldn’t resist)…

He hides behind a camera! Get it. LOL