QOD 11-1-2006 Electrical

Lets try some electrical questions for the rest of the week.

This is an easy one.


Grounding Issues - defer to electrician for further evaluation.

Andrew Rook
Rook Home Inspections LLC
New Jersey Home Inspector
Hamilton, NJ

Be Smart, Be Sure, Be Inspected TM

I’d probably check the panel with a voltage meter simply because my non contact “pen” goes off within a few inches of a panel. If I rub it on my arm it goes off too. Must be my electric personality.:roll: :smiley:

If all else fails, I’d answer “d”. lol

Defer to the Electrical Experts on the Board…I take the 5th !

NO actually I would call Gerry…he could tell me what to do…:wink:

The problem is that the panel is at ground and the inspector is standing on a electric blanket that is wet

This is the WRONG way to test a panel.

Paul tell them how it is to be done and also give a guess of how many professional electricians test a panel before removing it


lol…again Richard I defer to the Electrical Experts…I am just an electrician from Virginia…I defer…defer…defer…

On the comment about how many electricians test before removing…I take the 5th…

lol…actually one of my helpers ticked me off today so I would probably have HIM go remove the cover…BUT give me 5 minutes with it privatly before I allow him to mess with it…:wink:


Ok I sort gave you a slider on this one

But lets look at Ohms law – Panel face plate hot – that means that screws are connected to the main panel that are connected to a hot box and or a hot wire and no other bolts are connected to the box which are connected to ground or neutral.

In short it is hard to create a hot panel - thus very seldom is it even checked – Sort of like checking for a gas leak in an all electric home or 120 volts on a phone line.

Yes I could happen but lets get back to reality – The time to check with the risk = to many 1,000,000 to one does not equate to something that would be even put into an SOP or a MOP

Greg Bell is posting questions and situations that are good for the BB but not something that is close to the real world

If checking to see if a DP should be checked to be hot as part of a MOP then so be it but I would like to see any industry published statement to say do so.

If so I will change my ways

And trust me I am 100% for safety

Paul – your are in both the HI and the Electrical profession what is your call ??

If Mr Bell off base then call it — his background is not ohms law


ahhh…yeah…what RLB said…lol…

Wait…hell man…I deal in OHMS LAW all the time…I did not see any MATH on that page…tehehhehehe

HOWEVER…if the panel is IMPROPERLY BONDED and their is a high enough resistance…it is QUITE possible…

WE know that using OHMS LAW…even a short to a ground rod that lets say for argument sake is 25 OHMS…and apply 120V to it…what is the AMPS…4.8 AMPS on an improperly grounded system will NOT remove stray voltage and could possible cause the equipment ( in this example a street pole for example ) to become energized and NEVER cause a fault situation…

yeah…it could happen…lol

You make some great points Richard…

If the panel itself is not bonded properly, and the system is is missing a GEC for that matter…we loose the balanced potentil argument…so…is it possible for a panel to TICK without tripping the breaker or faulting out…

Personally I think it is quite possible…

If the panel becomes energized due to lets say a sheetrock screw being used as a panel cover screw…and the panel has not been bonded correctly…

What is quite scary is that people think the ground rod actually will save them in a situation where they are getting shocked…

The surface voltage gradients are going to be progressivly less the furthur you are away from the ground rod…IF one was present…so if one is not present…the ground rod is useless in this anyway…where was I…oh sorry…I digressed…

Ok…earth itself is not a good effective ground fault path…neither is a concrete floor for that matter if you are thinking hell I will just shock myself on a floor…other than earth…

Point is…it is quite possible for a panel that is improperly bonded…and if in the main means no connection between the grounded conductors and the case…now the screw gets in contact with a LIVE ungrounded conductor…the panel COULD possibly hold that voltage and not fault anything out…very possible…

Not sure however as Richard stated that was the intent of the image…heck If I know…personally guys if a panel causes a ticker to light up…I would defer it…ahhh…have Richard come look at it…lol…

Sorry richard I could not resist

lol…are you trying to tease me tonight richard…lol…man I am in some kinda pissy mood…lol…in fact half the stuff I say tonight may be wrong because of my mood…lol…but I love ya brother…been a LONG day…lol

Because the resistance of the earth is so great ( 10-500 OHMS ), very little current will return to the power supply via the earth if the earth is the only ground fault return path…and floor as well in this case. The result is that the circuit OCPD will never trip…metal parts will and could become energized at a lethal touch point known as “Touch Voltage” and just waiting for someone to come in contact with it…

What is touch voltage- it is the potential difference between a grounded ( bonded ) metal structure ( ie:Panel ) and a point on the earth 3 feet from the structure.

Many again think a ground rod can be used to reduce touch voltage, that is proven not true by the research done by the IEEE and NFPA.

1 Foot ( shell 1) has 68% resistance and touch voltage of 82V on a standard 120V connection…so…can 82 volts kill ya…

so we know if it is 82 Volts…and the resistance is say 25 OHMS…the amps would be potentially 3.28 AMPS…only takes 1/10th of an AMP to kill…if you are GROUNDED right…:slight_smile:


You and I are the experts

Without going into my background - you have the NACHI blessing as the expert in electrical and as well as Joe T

I can not put my trust in Mr Bell in this area - I can not see changing MOP for electricians and HI’s to make this check

Once again if I am wrong I will change my ways and I will start to require that all MOP that I sign off on have a check to see it the panels are hot

Your call Pall – is Mr Bell off base or not?


Tell the real estate agent there is a problem with the panel box. He will promptly tell you that you do not know what you are doing and just to show you how smart he is, he will remove the cover panel for you.

I am not sure of your question…to be honest with you as I gave my version of "Is is possible "

As for being an expert for NACHI…I think with the removal of me as a paid electrical speaker that your image of my position at NACHI is incorrect…

I will leave JOE T as the only expert…I am just here to give info…

SO what is your question for me again…I am getting LOST in my own posts tonight…lol

Thanks for all the discussion about this question. I am sure that many NACHI members will learn from it.


We are off the time gap of posting – you say one thing and I say something else and before the other one responds the other one says something that is not relevant to the post

So welcome to the Internet

In short I follow your Ohms law logic

Now back to the HI and the Ele. world

Do we change our MOP ( method of procedure) to check HP (hot panels) to be hot and how do we do it?


Richard…are you refering to this…

Despite the fact that the person’s feet are still contacting ground, any single point in the circuit should be safe to touch. Since there is no complete path (circuit) formed through the person’s body from the bottom side of the voltage source to the top, there is no way for a current to be established through the person. However, this could all change with an accidental ground, such as a tree branch touching a power line and providing connection to earth ground:

This might lend one to believe that it’s impossible to be shocked by electricity by only touching a single wire. Like the birds, if we’re sure to touch only one wire at a time, we’ll be safe, right? Unfortunately, this is not correct. Unlike birds, people are usually standing on the ground when they contact a “live” wire. Many times, one side of a power system will be intentionally connected to earth ground, and so the person touching a single wire is actually making contact between two points in the circuit (the wire and earth ground):

The ground symbol is that set of three horizontal bars of decreasing width located at the lower-left of the circuit shown, and also at the foot of the person being shocked. In real life the power system ground consists of some kind of metallic conductor buried deep in the ground for making maximum contact with the earth. That conductor is electrically connected to an appropriate connection point on the circuit with thick wire. The victim’s ground connection is through their feet, which are touching the earth.

tehehhe…these little images are soooo COOL…feel like SHOCKIN the little freakin image myself…

OH…my bad…sorry I was giving you all the potential theory’s and logic and so on…hmmmmm…ahhh…you got me Richard…does NACHI have a MOP…yeah I am a bad member…I thought HI’s only had the SOP…

I will gladly give you my opinions my friend…explain the current MOP for me…yeah I am a member of NACHI but I have my OWN way of doing things since 1988…so educate me a little and I will give you my opinion fella…most certainly.

Good morning all

Perhaps a Method of Procedure (MOP) should be written on how to check home electrical systems.

Yes I agree that an electricaly charged panel is possible and checking it before removing it might be a good idea

The proper way of testing it is the question

Is the risk high enough that we should test or is the use of gloves enough protection?

I look at it this way it can test ok before you start to take it off and become energized during removal or reinstalation thus the testing gives you a false idea of safety

One should always assume that it is energized and use the proper equipment to remove same

We do not need a shocking experience to light up our day