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  1. #1
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    Default Load Miser - good or bad?

    One of the few times I've moved a fridge, after spying this load miser panel behind it. It appears to split 40 amps from the panel to the range and to the dryer. I believe if the overall load exceeds 40 amps, the 25 Amp dryer circuit shuts down.

    I described what it is supposed to do to my client, and explained that testing it is beyond my scope, consult with an electrician. This one is mounted directly below the panel, so there is less worry in my estimation then when we find them on the end of a long run. even then, the 40 amp breaker in the panel should protect the cable if the switch fails.
    Does anyone have more to add?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Load Miser - good or bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    One of the few times I've moved a fridge, after spying this load miser panel behind it.
    That in and of itself is a problem "moved a fridge, ... load miser panel behind it". If you Canadian National Electrical Code is like the NEC here, the space where that refrigerator was setting was required to be the working space in front of that electrical equipment, no storage allowed, not even a refrigerator.

    It appears to split 40 amps from the panel to the range and to the dryer. I believe if the overall load exceeds 40 amps, the 25 Amp dryer circuit shuts down.
    Reading the label it feeds both the range and the dryer, and that model 45/25 will, according to the label supply the dryer with 25 amps OR the range with 40 amps, but when the dryer is on and the range is turned on, that controller shuts the dryer off, and, if the range is on it keeps the dryer from being turned on.

    As best I can see in that label, when the preferred load current (the range) exceeds 15 amps the less preferred load is dumped off (losses power to it).

    This one is mounted directly below the panel,
    That is also a problem as the refrigerator would be in the panel's required working space.

    Does anyone have more to add?
    Did you notice that the 25 amp breaker for the dryer is AFTER that controller? Meaning NOT in the panel.

    Did you also notice the conductor sizes required? Does that say No. 3? As in #3 AWG? That is a large conductor for that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Load Miser - good or bad?

    Jerry that is a #8 required for the 40 amp and #10 for the other. OK

    Our code requires 1 meter or 39.4" of clear space in front of the breaker panel, so yeah we slapped that fridge with a citation.

    I don't know if the Load Miser qualifies as a breaker panel, no user-friendly parts in there. Maybe ok hidden behind the appliance. In this case a moot point. I did not discover another breaker panel for the dryer downstream from the Load Miser. If it is there, it is also inaccessible, good point.

    I believe the dryer will run as long as the range draws less than 15 Amps. In other words, total current draw remains under 40 Amp.

    Service is 100 amp and they've put in a second kitchen, hence the need for this contraption. I am not sure if a 25 Amp breaker can be had for this breaker panel, normally we see 30 for the dryer. I suppose a dedicated 30 amp dryer circuit could overload the main breaker, or at least that was the installer's concern.

    Does anyone routinely test these things by turning everything up?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Load Miser - good or bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Jerry that is a #8 required for the 40 amp and #10 for the other. OK
    See? I said I couldn't read it well.

    Our code requires 1 meter or 39.4" of clear space in front of the breaker panel, so yeah we slapped that fridge with a citation.

    I don't know if the Load Miser qualifies as a breaker panel, no user-friendly parts in there. Maybe ok hidden behind the appliance. In this case a moot point.
    Does your code state breaker panel or electrical equipment? If it states electrical equipment, then look up the definition for electrical equipment (which includes EVERYTHING in the electrical system), then our NEC also has the qualifier "likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized" and that electrical equipment sure fits that qualifier.

    I believe the dryer will run as long as the range draws less than 15 Amps. In other words, total current draw remains under 40 Amp.
    Yes and no. Separate your two statements into 1) and 2), and 1) would be correct based on what that says, with 2) being incorrect. That really does not care "how much current is for the less preferred load" or how much current is for the total load, that only dumps the "less preferred load" when the current for the "preferred load" is less than 15 amps, at which point the less preferred load is dumped and only the preferred load remains energized.

    Service is 100 amp and they've put in a second kitchen, hence the need for this contraption. I am not sure if a 25 Amp breaker can be had for this breaker panel, normally we see 30 for the dryer. I suppose a dedicated 30 amp dryer circuit could overload the main breaker, or at least that was the installer's concern.
    Don't add a 25 amp breaker to the panel if they are going to keep using that thing, but it requires the 25 amp breaker (or fuse) between it and the dryer.

    Does anyone routinely test these things by turning everything up?

    Never have seen one before.

    No, I would NOT test it. If you did, how would you test it properly?

    You would need to monitor the current to the preferred load and the voltage to the less preferred load, and when the current to the preferred load reaches 15 amps the voltage to the less preferred load would have to be removed (those terminals de-energized). What control would you use to try to control the current to the range for that test - the burner controls?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Load Miser - good or bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post




    Does your code state breaker panel or electrical equipment? If it states electrical equipment, then look up the definition for electrical equipment (which includes EVERYTHING in the electrical system), then our NEC also has the qualifier "likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized" and that electrical equipment sure fits that qualifier.
    How is that equipment any diff than the outlet, which is always behind the fridge? I'd be out of line as a HI to tell my client that LM needs to be moved, because it is fine where it is. JMO
    That really does not care "how much current is for the less preferred load" or how much current is for the total load, that only dumps the "less preferred load" when the current for the "preferred load" is less than 15 amps, at which point the less preferred load is dumped and only the preferred load remains energized.
    OK, got it. If the preferred load exceeds 15 Amps, the dryer is shut off.
    Never have seen one before. No, I would NOT test it. If you did, how would you test it properly?
    A HI would "test" it by turning on the dryer, then turning on range burners and watching for smoke and sparks.
    Anyway, I've posted the pics for educational purposes, something not seen in normal training courses.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Load Miser - good or bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    How is that equipment any diff than the outlet, which is always behind the fridge?
    You asked, so here it goes: A LOT DIFFERENT.

    When you use a receptacle outlet you plug things in to it, you do not remove the cover to expose the energized parts.

    With that equipment, and as you did, the cover IS removed, thereby exposing the energized parts.

    I'd be out of line as a HI to tell my client that LM needs to be moved, because it is fine where it is.
    Nope, you would not be out of line as an HI to recommend that, and, it IS NOT "fine where it is" - providing the requirements for working space are similar to ours, a question you have not yet answered.

    Anyway, I've posted the pics for educational purposes, something not seen in normal training courses.
    And not seen in normal inspection practice either, not unless they are used a lot in your specific area. I've only been around electrical work, helping wire things, etc., for about 50 years, and that is the first one I've seen. I am sure, though, that had I been in your area that I would have seen them before, those have just not been used where I've been - maybe I've been leading a sheltered life??

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Load Miser - good or bad?

    Jerry, I see maybe one a year, (the rest are hidden behind fridges and stuff ).
    There's probably one electrician in this town, now retired we hope, who likes them. Yes the fridge has to be moved for someone to work on it. The installing electrician knew that when he put it there beside the outlet. The fridge must also be moved to access the outlet, which needs a cover plate.
    So do you apply code rules to a 1930's house, reno'd in 1970? I look for the unsafe stuff, never using the C word.

    As for recommendations, for this place I recommended a larger bedroom window, remove indoor oil tank, install liner in unlined chimney, avoid disturbing vermiculite, and repair a faulty circuit.
    I mentioned the poor acces to the breaker panel above the fridge. Nothing will be done about that.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Load Miser - good or bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    The fridge must also be moved to access the outlet,
    And which is not a problem being behind the refrigerator, only that it was missing it cover.

    So do you apply code rules to a 1930's house, reno'd in 1970? I look for the unsafe stuff, never using the C word.
    Yep, because ... whether or not it was recognized as being unsafe back then, it has since been recognized as being unsafe and ... electrical shock and electrocution *do not read code books* to know when it is okay, or not okay, to shock or electrocute someone.

    Besides, do you know that it was not that way back then? I could look it up, but it is a moot point - it is recognized as being unsafe, and just because a house is old does not make it safe, in fact, being an old house with old systems means it even less safe than when it was old and new.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Load Miser - good or bad?

    Thank you Jerry. I am proud to have revealed an electrical device of which you were not aware, and hope others learn from these posts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    it is recognized as being unsafe,.
    Acknowledged. Unsafe for the electrician then, because it isn't something a homeowner can service.
    IMO. the outlet is more unsafe for my client and the tenant because they have to move the fridge to pull the plug, as when defrosting the old relic. They have no reason to remove the cover of the Load Miser, and certainly not while it is energized.
    So if the LM had been mounted on a clear stretch of wall, it would likely have been obscured by a Bob Marley poster and by now, 7 coats of paint. I would have missed it and we, including my cleint would be oblivious to its existance. In this case, I'm happy it's behind the fridge out of harms way.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 05-10-2009 at 09:56 PM. Reason: We're Jah-men, JP gets the last wurd.......

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Load Miser - good or bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Unsafe for the electrician then, because it isn't something a homeowner can service.

    John,

    "can"

    Never underestimate the power of an ill equipment, ill prepared, unknowing home owner.

    "should" - that would have been a better word to have used.

    "because it isn't something the homeowner SHOULD service"

    But THEY WILL ... all the more reason to have proper and required working space in front of it.

    Bob Marley gets blamed for everything, doesn't he?

    First he stirs it up ... YouTube - Bob Marley - Stir it up

    Then he gets redemption ... Dailymotion - Bob Marley _ Redemption Song _ live - a Musique video

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Load Miser - good or bad?

    Hey guys. Thanks for the pics and discussion. In over 20 years in the electrical field I have never seen one of these, (possibly a product used exclusively in Canada?), but did notice a couple of items.
    It looks like the cover has a CSA id but no UL, and it was made by Federal Pacific aka FPE. I can tell you from my experience that the FPE breakers are dangerous as they will sometimes fail to trip from a fault or overcurrent condition. I saw a range circuit junction box in a basement on one property that had a ground fault when the power was restored after being "off" for a couple of months. There was a missing knockout in the 4 11/16" metal box, and the resulting arc flash came through this opening, igniting the insulation near the box. After about ten seconds of fireworks i ran to the panel and manually opened the breaker, and then went back to put the fire out. The breaker and loadcenter were FPE and I later found out that this equipment was notorious for such incidents.
    In your situation, if it was my house, I would get rid of that contraption and upgrade the service to facilitate the installation of individual branch circuits. Additionally, if this new kitchen had been constructed in my area under a permit, I'm fairly certain that the AHJ would have required this to be done. Take care, GM


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Load Miser - good or bad?

    Criminy, my second Load Miser in less than a month! This one made by "The Pioneer Control Co." is readily accessible, in the ceiling, and nicely painted. The lid was lightly sprinkled with mouse turds.

    The second pic shows the dryer merrily drying away with all the burners and bake element on in the stove.

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