Sub Panel

Originally Posted By: afernbaugh
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I inspected an older home last week that I need to ask all of you about.


The main panel was inaccessible due to owner stored items. I managed to get the swing door open but I couldn’t reach the top screws to pull the front panel off.


There was a 100 Amp two phase main (not un usual) and what appeared to be an additional 100 Amp breaker that by its size is single phase.

There is was a sub-panel in the addition that would need at least a 100 Amp feeder.
The owners are clearing out the closet so I can get to the main panel on Monday. What should I look for? I suspect something is very wrong here!

Let me hear it from the older pros...


--
Alan Fernbaugh
Five Star Inspection Services
Baton Rouge, La.

Originally Posted By: ecrofutt
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Read the electrical posts that are already here.


Especially the ones about isolated neutrals & grounds, & sub panels. Check out the pictures in those posts.

Lot's of good advice there and you can have it all by Monday.

Just gotta learn to skip the bs posts, (which we all occassionally inject whenever and wherever.)

About the time you get done reading those, you'll know plenty to feel comfortable with the re inspection.


--
Erby Crofutt
B4U Close Home Inspections
Georgetown, Kentucky

www.b4uclose.com

Originally Posted By: afernbaugh
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Thanks Erby.



Alan Fernbaugh


Five Star Inspection Services


Baton Rouge, La.

Originally Posted By: nlewis
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What do you mean by two phase?


See the post "Youngest NACHI member" for who's old and who isn't.![icon_wink.gif](upload://ssT9V5t45yjlgXqiFRXL04eXtqw.gif)


Originally Posted By: Dennis Bozek
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I believe what Alan is referring to, is that the main panel has a 100 amp breaker in it and also another 100 amp breaker to control what may very well be a subpanel. Remember that you do not add up the breaker sizes to determine the load on a panel. The addition, which is more than likely smaller that the house itself seems to have a subpanel rated for 100 amps. If you look at the addition and it has base board heaters, hot tubs, radiant heaters, or any thing that will typically create a lot of current, then yes something is wrong.


Chances are though all you are going to see in the addition are some outlets and some lighting circuits. Therefore is a 100 amp subpanel to much protection? Yes it is. If you see nothing there but a few outlets and a light or two, or maybe even a ceiling fan, I would recommend that the subpanel feed and breaker be inspected by a certified electrician. If you want...and this is totally up to you, recommend that the breaker in the main panel be decreased to a 40 or a 60 amp breaker. Be sure that the wire size feeding the subpanel is sufficeint first though for those breaker sizes. In a residential atmosphere, 4 gauge is typically good for 100 amps although us sparkies would run 3 gauge. 6 gauge is good for 60 and 8 is good for 50 but typically protected with a 40 amp breaker. 10 gauge is good for 30 amps.

You would have to determine why there is a 100 amp feed to the addition subpanel though. The previous owners may have been doing something in there that needed that 100 amps. Either way though, the load of the house based on the square footage and appliances used should be calculated. If as a HI you do not wish to do such calculations, recommend a certified electrician to do the load calcs. It does seem odd to see a 100 amp service and main breaker and then an additional 100 amp breaker to feed a addition. If the addition is in need of 100 amps....the main panel best at least be a 200 amp then or 100 amps for the addition and a remaining 100 amps for the rest of the house.

The subpanel may not be bonded to the neutral. The neutral must be floating from the enclosure itself and a separate ground bar, which is bonded to the subpanel enclosure must be installed. A EGC from the main panel must be connected to the ground bar....NOT the neutral.

All neutrals in the subpanel must go to the neutral bus and all grounds must go to the ground bus. They cannot be combined in any way. Although one is not likely to experience any problems from having such combined or by improperly grounding the subpanel, it is the code to do it as I previously explained.

Ideally, you would want the wire coming from a breaker to be rated for more than the breaker. This insures that the breaker trips before the wire burns. Typically in a residential environment, you do not see that often. In a industrial atmosphere, such would be more of the case than not. You want the protection device (breaker or fuse) to trip or open before the wire burns due to an overcurrent situation such as in a overload or short circuit. If the addition is nothing more than a few outlets and a lighting circuit, and something shorts...it could be possible to draw like 80 amps and never trip the breaker for the subpanel. However, the breaker for the branch circuit should trip in this case thus protecting the house from fire. However, if anything is double tapped off the main lugs for the subpanel....and it's wire gauge is smaller in comparison to the subpanel feed....one would be asking for a fire for you are then protecting wire not rated for 100 amps with a 100 amp breaker.

I know this all sounds confusing to those not electrically minded...but then it should answer your questions Alan.


--
This information has been edited and reviewed for errors by your favorite resident sparky.

Originally Posted By: rray
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Dennis, I notice you use the term “sparky” a lot. I consider that, and most nicknames for professions, to be somewhat condescending. It doesn’t bother you?



Home inspections. . . .


One home at a time.


Originally Posted By: Dennis Bozek
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I’m an ex marine…in the service I was a radar tech stationed mostly in SoCal. A radar tech in the marine corps was called a tweak. That didn’t bother me as much as garhead did. I actually think sparky is kind of humorous. Neat thing about being a sparky, is that very few trades have nicknames. I mean what do you call a carpenter? Answer…slop artist!


A plumber has no nicknames except once I heard one referred to as a toilet jockey.

A HVAC guy is just that....a HVAC guy.

So when it comes right down to it...I could be called worse....ask my ex, she always had some choice names for me lol.


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This information has been edited and reviewed for errors by your favorite resident sparky.

Originally Posted By: rking
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Dennis,


Careful now, there is a difference between a carpenter and a 'slop artist' as you call it. A carpenter can do magic with wood ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif) , a 'slop artist' otherwise known as a framer can frame a house, but give them a miter saw and a piece of trim and it is a different story.
I know, I spent many years framing and then I got into building log homes
which was a truly unique and fascinating experience .
As I was reading this thread and thinking about the monikers, I could not seem to come upo with one for a carpenter though. Guess I never thought about it before. I will let you know when comes back to me ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif)


--
Muskoka Home Inspections
"Wisdom is the Anticipation of the Consequences"
Steering Committee Member At Large

Originally Posted By: gbeaumont
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Hi Guys


actually where I come from (England) carpenters are called “CHIPPIES” many many moons ago when I was a kid I used to work for a Chippy during the school holidays.


Regards

Gerry


--
Gerry Beaumont
NACHI Education Committee
e-mail : education@nachi.org
NACHI phone 484-429-5466

Inspection Depot Education
gbeaumont@inspectiondepot.com

"Education is a journey, not a destination"

Originally Posted By: rking
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Chippie,


I like it!


--
Muskoka Home Inspections
"Wisdom is the Anticipation of the Consequences"
Steering Committee Member At Large

Originally Posted By: Dennis Bozek
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Gerry.


I hope chippy isnt short for chipendale ![icon_lol.gif](upload://zEgbBCXRskkCTwEux7Bi20ZySza.gif)


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This information has been edited and reviewed for errors by your favorite resident sparky.

Originally Posted By: gbeaumont
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maybe the furniture maker, I would hope not the male strippers icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif


Gerry


--
Gerry Beaumont
NACHI Education Committee
e-mail : education@nachi.org
NACHI phone 484-429-5466

Inspection Depot Education
gbeaumont@inspectiondepot.com

"Education is a journey, not a destination"

Originally Posted By: Dennis Bozek
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Robert,


I worked as a carpenter for several years on the side, building decks mostly and I was told a "slop artist" was one that could finish off the mess he made framing a house. So I'm really confused now ![icon_lol.gif](upload://zEgbBCXRskkCTwEux7Bi20ZySza.gif)

Other than that term I cannot think of another name for a carpenter.


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This information has been edited and reviewed for errors by your favorite resident sparky.

Originally Posted By: Dennis Bozek
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I would hope not too Gerry icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif



This information has been edited and reviewed for errors by your favorite resident sparky.

Originally Posted By: afernbaugh
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Thanks everyone.


Down here the other trades call carpenters "wood butchers".


--
Alan Fernbaugh
Five Star Inspection Services
Baton Rouge, La.

Originally Posted By: rking
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Boy, us carpenters have it tough!


You all must remember though that without the butchers there would not be a house for all the other trades to work in icon_twisted.gif


One of my pet peeves as a carpenter, up here anyway, was that the framers always had to deal with the elements, and it gets real cold and ugly in the winter, and we got paid the least amount of money of everyone invloved.


In a lot of cases even the guys doing the insulation made more money than the guys that built the darn house


And the women just LOOOVVVEEE the Chippendales so can it be all that bad?


--
Muskoka Home Inspections
"Wisdom is the Anticipation of the Consequences"
Steering Committee Member At Large

Originally Posted By: jremas
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Wow! In the Marines I was an avionics tech and aircrew on helicopters so they called me a tweak too. Now it looks like I am a “jarhead tweak”. With my initials being JAR, you could imagine how often the jarhead comes up. When I did industrial control work, I came into work one day and everything that I had my initials on “JAR” was completed by the previous shift with “HEAD”, hence the JARHEAD has been with me for the past 20 years.


I will not review the names that my ex-wife has for me either.


--


Jeff Remas
REMAS Inspections, Inc.
Northeastern PA & the Poconos
www.NEPAinspector.com

570-362-1598

Originally Posted By: Dennis Bozek
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Ooohrah Jeff… icon_lol.gif


Actually I hated the term pickle worse....cuz after all what is green and comes out of a jarhead!!


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This information has been edited and reviewed for errors by your favorite resident sparky.

Originally Posted By: Dennis Bozek
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True Robert but then if it wasn’t for us sparkies them carpenters would be using hand saws and hammers. No power for circular saws, or miter saws or air compressors to run the Senco framing nailer icon_eek.gif So even though houses would still be built under such conditions…just think how much longer it would take! I think you should thank all the sparkies that has made your life easier hehehe



This information has been edited and reviewed for errors by your favorite resident sparky.

Originally Posted By: rking
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It is a vicious circle in this tangled web that we weave isn’t it?



Muskoka Home Inspections


“Wisdom is the Anticipation of the Consequences”


Steering Committee Member At Large