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  1. #1
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    Default New House Panel - Potential Issues

    I saw this in the service panel of a new construction house this afternoon. The 1st pic shows what appears to be evidence of arcing on the hot bus bar. It looks like somebody hit about 4 stabs at once and created some attention grabbing arcing. Does this pose any issue moving forward like rendering those stabs unacceptable for breaker installations or void any warranty from the panel manufacturer?

    The second pic shows how all the breakers in the panel are labeled. For a 200 amp panel in a 2700 square foot house, I expected to see more breakers. Are there any code issues at play here with the way some of these circuits are set up? Some have 3-4 different areas wired to the same circuit.

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  2. #2
    Robert Meier's Avatar
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    IMO those particular bus stabs have been compromised.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    IMO those particular bus stabs have been compromised.
    I usually don't worry too much about things like this if they're not right on the stab, but I COMPLETELY agree with you.


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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    The second pic shows how all the breakers in the panel are labeled. For a 200 amp panel in a 2700 square foot house, I expected to see more breakers. Are there any code issues at play here with the way some of these circuits are set up? Some have 3-4 different areas wired to the same circuit.
    That's IT???
    I don't know how they got away with it, but I will say, the letter of the code allows for quite a large ares on one 15A circuit. You have to remember, in the US residential general lighting and receptacle circuits are covered in the 3va/sq ft load calc. There is NO limit to receptacle on a circuit.

    IMO that panel shows the bare minimum for a house that size. I'd guess spec house, all-in-one contractor with little regard for customer satisfaction, or a completely clueless/careless owner who got taken advantage of.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    I'm wondering now if maybe the builder set the breakers up in this manner to avoid using the stabs that have the arcing damage.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I'm wondering now if maybe the builder set the breakers up in this manner to avoid using the stabs that have the arcing damage.
    There's plenty of good stabs there that can still be used. I think the spark show scared him away.

    For Canadian inspectors lurking here, the CEC allows no more than 12 fixtures or duplex receptacles on one 15 amp circuit. 20 amp, 16 outlets.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  7. #7
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    But is the bottom section of that bus bar suitable for future use? What are the chances any breakers connected to those stabs could have poor contact and arc? I don't know that I would feel comfortable using those stabs in my own house.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    But is the bottom section of that bus bar suitable for future use? What are the chances any breakers connected to those stabs could have poor contact and arc? I don't know that I would feel comfortable using those stabs in my own house.
    I should have said it looks like 4.5 tabs are still OK, which would be good for about 50 15 amp outlets.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  9. #9
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Nick, I'm curious about how you were able to see the panel bus bars exposed like that (pic #1). Did you remove the breakers as part of your routine?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Does this pose any issue moving forward like rendering those stabs unacceptable for breaker installations or void any warranty from the panel manufacturer?
    Yes. If the buyer decides to accept the panel as is he'll likely have to deal with it when he sells the home down the road and another inspector calls it out.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  11. #11
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Locurcio View Post
    Nick, I'm curious about how you were able to see the panel bus bars exposed like that (pic #1). Did you remove the breakers as part of your routine?
    There were no breakers installed on those affected stabs. Once I removed the deadfront cover, they were fully exposed. Those stabs were in the lower half of the panel

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  12. #12
    cuba_pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    IMO those particular bus stabs have been compromised.
    I second that...we wouldn't even accept that for government work! If I laid my eyes on that it would come out!


  13. #13
    Lou Romano's Avatar
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I saw this in the service panel of a new construction house this afternoon. The 1st pic shows what appears to be evidence of arcing on the hot bus bar. It looks like somebody hit about 4 stabs at once and created some attention grabbing arcing. Does this pose any issue moving forward like rendering those stabs unacceptable for breaker installations or void any warranty from the panel manufacturer?

    The second pic shows how all the breakers in the panel are labeled. For a 200 amp panel in a 2700 square foot house, I expected to see more breakers. Are there any code issues at play here with the way some of these circuits are set up? Some have 3-4 different areas wired to the same circuit.
    This house probably has all gas appliances; stove, dryer, water heater, heat etc... That would explain the minimal amount of big loads in the panel.

    As for the stabs being compromised, that goes without saying! However if the spaces aren't needed and not used there is no need to replace the panel at this time.

    Last edited by Lou Romano; 05-12-2012 at 11:32 AM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Romano View Post

    As for the stabs being compromised, that goes without saying! However if the spaces aren't needed and not used there is no need to replace the panel at this time.
    I'm surprised you would say this considering your signature.


    A MUCH mroe accurate quote would be:
    "NEC is the "minimum requirement" so compliance with NEC means you did the minimum SAFE job you were allowed to get away with! "



  15. #15
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Romano View Post
    This house probably has all gas appliances; stove, dryer, water heater, heat etc... That would explain the minimal amount of big loads in the panel.

    As for the stabs being compromised, that goes without saying! However if the spaces aren't needed and not used there is no need to replace the panel at this time.
    At some point, the house is going to be sold again and the seller (my client) will need to try and convince the buyers it is a non issue. The builders should just suck it up and replace the panel.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  16. #16
    Lou Romano's Avatar
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    At some point, the house is going to be sold again and the seller (my client) will need to try and convince the buyers it is a non issue. The builders should just suck it up and replace the panel.
    Yes, you're right! The builder should replace the panel IF this happened during construction. The electrical inspector who signed off on the job should have demanded it be replaced IF it was damaged prior to final. And the current homeowner should pay to have it replaced if he is selling the house!

    I understand the dilemma you face, however the panel could last as is for just as long as a new one (it is a new one) if those spaces are not used. I wouldn't replace it if it were in my own house until I needed more space!


  17. #17
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Totally irrelevant question, but what could have possibly gotten across that many tabs at once?


  18. #18
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    temp power GF cordsets open neutral along with the hot(s) for protection of workers.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Harbeck View Post
    Totally irrelevant question, but what could have possibly gotten across that many tabs at once?

    I wondered the same thing Ken.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  20. #20
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    Default Re: New House Panel - Potential Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Harbeck View Post
    Totally irrelevant question, but what could have possibly gotten across that many tabs at once?
    An unruly bare ground wire.
    No that it's ever happened to me. Nope. Never. Not once.
















    OK, once.


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