Potential hazard!!!

I thought this was a special situation.

Dont get me wrong. I have many electricians that are my friends.

But what was this person thinking when he installed the panel right under the tub. The home was vacant and the tub is leaking.

Also why is it cut into the ceiling? If whomever would of installed the entry at the sides he could have lowered the panel and moved it away from the tub.

I thought this was a serious safety concern and the city inspector passed this install.

Maybe I should go work for the city. There not even required to remove the cover.



Being that basement water intrusion seems to be the highest liability area lately for me.

I especially liked this major negetive grade(On the same wall the panel is)

High moisture levels at frost line. The basement waterproofing company installs a french drain. I thought there was still a potential for water so I documented as such.

The 220 line is rusted from the excessive water.

Hi to all,

David, i agree with you when something looks that wrong it usually is, here my thoughts on this installation:

  • Insufficient access
  • Panel to high (maybe cant see)
  • Over current devices in bathroom (yeah its a stretch buts thats what it boils down to)
    No doubt one of our electrical experts has more, but IMO yu are correct to question it



I would deal with the tub with this (no structural ceiling between panel and pipes)

*110.26(F)(1)(b)(b) Foreign Systems. The area above the dedicated space required by 110.26(F)(1)(a) shall be permitted to contain foreign systems, provided protection is installed to avoid damage to the electrical equipment from condensation, leaks, or breaks in such foreign systems. *

If you are indicating that the block wall is damp you can use this

312.2 Damp, Wet, or Hazardous (Classified) Locations.
(A) Damp and Wet Locations. In damp or wet locations, surface-type enclosures within the scope of this article shall be placed or equipped so as to prevent moisture or water from entering and accumulating within the cabinet or cutout box, and shall be mounted so there is at least 6 mm (1/4 in.) airspace between the enclosure and the wall or other supporting surface. Enclosures installed in wet locations shall be weatherproof.

The height of the panel is a slam dunk

404.8(A) Location. All switches and circuit breakers used as switches shall be located so that they may be operated from a readily accessible place. They shall be installed so that the center of the grip of the operating handle of the switch or circuit breaker, when in its highest position, is not more than 2.0 m (6 ft 7 in.) above the floor or working platform.

**110.11 Deteriorating Agents. **Unless identified for use in
the operating environment, no conductors or equipment
[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]shall be located in damp or wet locations; where exposed to
gases, fumes, vapors, liquids, or other agents that have a
deteriorating effect on the conductors or equipment; or
where exposed to excessive temperatures.

FPN No. 1: See 300.6 for protection against corrosion.

Greg hit it on the head…:slight_smile:

I have seen many electrical panels with waste lines run above them. I do not like it, but the electrical inspection sticker is right there. These were installations that were original (both electrical and plumbing)… no retrofits.

I am not saying it is a correct installation. In these cases, we should comment on it. I see panels installed in many places where access on each side is insufficient. I’ve seen thirty of them, in a condo complex, installed behind the heating systems, where it is a squeeze to gain access, and there’s less than 36" of clear space directly in front of it. In fact, those same 30 panels had the vent pipe from gas-fired water heaters crossing in front of the top of the panel cover!

Like I said, all sorts of things we know are screwy still seem to somehow get approved. But, we arent playing the role of the AHJ, during the inspection. We are definitely restricted in what we write up as far as “code” issues is concerned; we dont apply or interpret code restrictions or allowances. HOWEVER, the fact that we are NOT AHJs also gives us some creative license to point out things for what they are… just plain STUPID.

Maybe we should adopt this as a new reporting standard, like “appears servicable”. Yeah, I like it. “JPS”

I can see it now.

We need a good graphic for it.

Joe the problem is the “foreign systems” article is fairly recent. (1996, 1999?) If this happened before that was in the code there was no basis to reject it. You also have the problem that AHJs are slow to adopt new codes and they can only inspect to the standard in place when the permit was issued. Florida is still on the 2002 NEC and I am sure there will be a glut of permits issued this June, before the 2005 will be in effect. It could be another year or more into the new 2005 code cycle before all of these old 2002 “grandfather” permits are closed. That means we will be looking at 2008 drafts and still have people closing new houses on the 2002.


I think I will add that to my rating system … :smiley:

It doesn’t matter to an HI if it passed inspection, and may have been moved without a permit … if you see it as a concern, then write it up that way. You can also add to your write up that it’s a recommendation to budget for replacement in the near future due to the potential for significant deterioration from the location and conditions.

JMO & 2-nickels … :wink:

Or atleast suggest a moisture pan be installed over the electrical system location…at least…

While HI’s do not need to get into Code…they do need to be able to understand why the change took place…for safety reasons…and anytime you have water over an electrical enclosure like this…you are best served to atleast mention it if anything else…not as an alarmist…but as a realist…

If you have an electrical panel and a HUGE puddle of water in front of it…and no way to work in the panel without standing in the water…would you not mention that?..so it is important to grab the safety issues OUT of the code…and able to apply the safety aspect to the situation without getting into quoting codes…the ability to grab the potential safety concerns of a situation is a priceless ability to learn…:slight_smile:

As always…Just my opinion as well…:slight_smile:

Oh…and P.S…I wont start in and say a drip pan is allowed if it is above the 6’ point above the panel and dedicated space…yada…yada…yada…the moisture pan was a REAL life suggestion…considering they probably wont do anything…:slight_smile:

Section 110.11 was added long ago because of a situation where the leaking pipes above the panel in a cellar or basement in Indiana caused a fire. This can be proven by a review of the proposal by an AHJ. I believe tha TCR or TCD will have that proposal and comment somewhere between 1981 … 1987.From the looks of this installation I would not blame the electrician, it probably was work done by someone who was not aware of the hazards.I think that any suggestions that blame the local AHJ should be considered carefully.Calling out situations like this simply by recommending repairs would be “A GOOD CYA” comment.Besides, if there was a fire the Insurance Company will have the last word … it is wrong!Just an opinion by an AHJ …

Home Inspector- To make a visual obervation of the property for potential safety hazzards and violations that pertain to the safety of the structure and the future investment of the buyer.( Brief Version )

  • Making safety observations when needed that pertain to potential hazzards the client needs to be aware of. Nothing requires the buyer or seller to react or mandate a change on a suggestion on safety issues…However it is in the best interest of the HI to mention it somewhere in the report to protect their butt in the event the worst nightmare happens.

-The home inspectors is a generalist…not a code spitting expert and as such makes suggestions based on generalist training and keen observations to a certain point. If the point of being a generalist is reached and a need for a specialist is needed to evaluate something beyond the scope of a normal inspection the home inspector will refer the previous mentioned information to the buyer/client in order for them to contact a licensed contractor in the specific field of study.

Prime Example - Inspecting a home built in the 1960’s and none of the receptacles at the kitchen sink are GFCI protected…while it is not the AHJ’s problem…and basically not the sellers problem…and more over is not required to be changed…the code is not retroactive…for the lack of better terms…it was allowed at the time and so…

Would you be WRONG to mention in the report you recommend GFCI’s be placed on the circuit to protect the client and a potential safety hazzard…or lets say since you dont have to…you dont…and the family has a loss of a child…hmmmmm…are we going to make it a safety issue or just a code issue…I hardly think so…

The job of the HI is not to play AHJ…who wants to…AHJ’s have a limited portion in time to inspect the property…what HI’s do compounds beyond that by looking at things homeowners and non-trained professionals may enhance or attempt to enhance…the HI is the first line of protection for the potential buyer…against these potential issues that the AHJ would know nothing about…

Lastly…The electrician is not to blame nor is the plumber…at the time it may have not been an issue…I will not be the one to speculate on this…but we live in the present and in the present it posses a potential hazzard that the HI would be remiss if they did not report it somewhere…if nothing more than to cover their behind in the event of tragedy…

I see so many people buying E & O insurance…running scared…and just plan on the edge…would it not scare YOU more to leave a potential issue OFF the report to only have it come back to haunt you…

The key to being a good inspector is Tact…Knowing how to write it up without it being an Alarmist…yet being a realist…and explaining the issues in a tactful way…an important thing to learn…

Joe, I think the difference is the deteriorating agent had to be present under normal conditions (a car wash or something) before the “foreign systems” language was added in 99. Pipes were not considered to be leaking all the time :wink:

I remember Caper saying in his cramped basements it was almost impossible to get a panel in without there being a pipe over it.