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  1. #1
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    Default Which way did you say was "UP"?

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    Michael Thomas
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    That was OK for a long time, in the 1970's I-T-E, Cutler-Hammer, GE, all had those type of panels as a standard catalog item, they are no longer allowed. If it is in bad shape then it needs to go, but if installed to the codes in effect at the time it's just fine.

    If anyone says anything to the contrary, they should have their home bulldozed / razed / leveled & rebuilt every code cycle to bring it up to current codes.

    The GE loadcenter in the OP's photo dates back to the early 1960's.

    240.81 showed up in the 1975 NEC, requiring "UP" to be ""ON".


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Codes want to make things uniform and idiot proof.

    How many people do not know the direction to turn a valve to close it?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    I love the breakers reading "no, no, no" going across the top.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    It's THAT way... err... THAT way...
    Curious, how many of you would write this up as a "defect"? Knowing full well that it was perfectly legal when installed.


  6. #6
    Don Gerjevic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    I would definitely get rid of this death trap of a panel! at least mark it up very legibly so as to let other unsuspecting electricians/people see that this is a very different setup!


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Gerjevic View Post
    I would definitely get rid of this death trap of a panel! at least mark it up very legibly so as to let other unsuspecting electricians/people see that this is a very different setup!
    "Death trap"??? Seriously?
    That's a bit over dramatic, don't you think. It's just an old panel, and it IS labeled very clearly as to tripped and reste and the breakers have a very clear "off" & "on" on them.

    What exactly is so death trappy about this?

    Also, this is not so "very different" to any electrician I know. This is a pretty common sight in our world.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Panel is a problem only to the blind or the illiterate. I now a 7 year old that could figure it out, but she can read. So, sorry, bad example.

    "I would definitely get rid of this death trap of a panel! at least mark it up very legibly so as to let other unsuspecting electricians/people see that this is a very different setup!"(Don)

    If you are an electrician and can not recognize what you are looking at you must be one of the blind electricians working under the Disability Act. Only say that because you phrased it as ".... other unsuspecting electricians/people....".

    It is different than typical found currently, but so is a manual trans that is "three on the tree". Not dangerous just different.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Panel is a problem only to the blind or the illiterate. I now a 7 year old that could figure it out, but she can read. So, sorry, bad example...
    Garry, the stamped labeling on the deadfront indicates that the breakers are "tripped" when they are in in the ON position, while moving them to "reset" position turns the breakers OFF.

    IMO, that could be confusing to building occupants.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Garry, the stamped labeling on the deadfront indicates that the breakers are "tripped" when they are in in the ON position, while moving them to "reset" position turns the breakers OFF.

    IMO, that could be confusing to building occupants.

    OK, You have me confused. RESET - TRIPPED with arrow shows direction to Reset the breaker (off) or if it is in the direction of the arrow it has been tripped. Or

    Looking closer at #5-6 breaker it has the OFF on the housing/cover of the break instead of on the switch like the others. By following the arrow direction it would be in the OFF position which would also reset that breaker.

    If the panel was turned 90 deg would it make more sense/conventional appearance?

    I am looking at the wording being combined with the arrow.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Garry, the stamped labeling on the deadfront indicates that the breakers are "tripped" when they are in in the ON position, while moving them to "reset" position turns the breakers OFF.

    IMO, that could be confusing to building occupants.

    The arrow is showing to turn the breaker OFF to reset. The top breakers are ON when down, not up as is now required.

    To reset a breaker requires it to be turned off and then on.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Garry, the stamped labeling on the deadfront indicates that the breakers are "tripped" when they are in in the ON position, while moving them to "reset" position turns the breakers OFF.

    IMO, that could be confusing to building occupants.
    So is it your SOP to report anything you consider "confusing"? I thought it was about safety and structure?

    If this is the case I hope you write up every 3-4-3way switching setup you find. They are "confusing" to almost every homeowner I know.

    If this is the type of thing you typically call out I can only assume your reports are very long.


    There is nothing unsafe about this panel.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Jim,
    I understand that, at least I looked at it that way.
    Its is labeled and makes sense to me on how to operate breakers, which is my point. Just because a device is different from what is used today does not make it defective, dangerous or a death trap.

    I just do not understand Michael's comment "...deadfront indicates that the breakers are "tripped" when they are in in the ON position...". I think he is just confused, which surprises me. Since it looked totally obvious to me as to its operation.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    So is it your SOP to report anything you consider "confusing"? I thought it was about safety and structure?
    Anything IMO likely to confuse a occupant about whether a circuit in energized or not gets a mention in my report.

    You and I understand that labeling, that a breaker may have to moved fully to to OFF position to be reset, etc.

    A client may not.. and my standard of care is based on what I can reasonably anticipate "typical client" will understand about their property based on my report... and on what I have *not* reported.

    In this case, in the electrical panel descriptive sections required by the IL SOP, I noted that branch circuits in that panel were powered when the circuit breakers were in the ON position as indicated on the circuit breaker handle, and that the upper breakers are "ON" when their handle is in the "NO" position, accompanied by a picture which indicated the ON position of each bank of breakers.

    That's perhaps not perfect, because some breakers are installed "up-side down" down by current standards.

    But it it least alerts the client that the breakers themselves are most likely to provide an unambiguous indication of whether the breaker is ON or OFF.

    BTW, that's not a casually established standard, it's based on legal advice that the standard of care in IL is calibrated to what a "typical" homeowner, not a HI or tradesperson, would be assumed to understand.

    On that basis,

    "It's obvious to anyone who understands how electrical panels work, based on that labeling, when those circuit breakers are ON or OFF."

    is NOT going to be a very good answer when the surviving spouse's attorney asks why that panel didn't merit specific mention in my report.

    YMMV.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    .................................................. .....................
    .................................................. ...........................................
    .................................................. ...........................................

    "It's obvious to anyone who understands how electrical panels work, based on that labeling, when those circuit breakers are ON or OFF."

    is NOT going to be a very good answer when the surviving spouse's attorney asks why that panel didn't merit specific mention in my report.

    YMMV.
    So your saying Americans are less intellegent then Canadians? The Canukistani's seem to have no issues seducing out breakers that are mounted in that manner.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    So your saying Americans are less intellegent then Canadians? The Canukistani's seem to have no issues seducing out breakers that are mounted in that manner.
    I was confused by that pic the first couple of times I looked at it. I thought for 'reset', they meant 'turn back on'. It shouldn't take a home owner long to figure out, though.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 06-19-2012 at 09:14 PM. Reason: that was rude :>)
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Yes, you are less intelligent, because you don't use Spellcheck on four syllable words.

    Even someone as intelligent as me was confused by that pic the first couple of times I looked at it. I thought for 'reset', they meant 'turn back on'. It shouldn't take a home owner long to figure out, though.

    Spellcheck does not work on this site, & only this site.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post

    is NOT going to be a very good answer when the surviving spouse's attorney asks why that panel didn't merit specific mention in my report.
    Nope, I don't buy it. This is just more CYA for fear of litigation.
    The whole Ill standards things does NOT hold water anyway. I bet that standard is much newer than that (perfectly legal) panel, so IT DOES NOT APPLY.

    I'd hate to see a report on an older home that has not been touched in years. I bet you call out every last thing that is not up to current standards.
    Guess what, old homes get sold. They are NOT required to be brought up to current standards, NOR are they "defective" for not being up to current standards.

    Anyone who cannot tell if one of those breakers is on or off, and then does not test before touching, should NOT be anywhere near an electrical panel in the first place.
    I'm sorry, idiots will always be idiots, and it's not our fault if they get hurt. But I will admit, most idiots will try and blame someone else when it happens.
    FAR too many people in this country were not taught by their parents to admit their own mistakes. Now we teach our kids to immediately point a finger at the easiest and most likely scapegoat.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    That is one of those issues in which I would point out the hazard and point out that, at one time it was legal to make and install panels that way, and, at one time it was legal to make and sell cars with no seat belts, but everyone recognizes that not having seat belts is not safe, and that those panels are not safe either.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That is one of those issues in which I would point out the hazard and point out that, at one time it was legal to make and install panels that way, and, at one time it was legal to make and sell cars with no seat belts, but everyone recognizes that not having seat belts is not safe, and that those panels are not safe either.

    There is nothing "unsafe" about that panel, it just does not meet current NEC standards,it did comply when installed if it was unsafe then it needs to be removed, simple as that.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Is it possible that looking for a problem, a problem is created. In that, should a person who walks up to the panel not be able to understand that on = no / off = ffo and tripped reset with an arrow would not know what they are looking at, if they could read. How would that person know that breaker orientation is not uniform? The assumption is that all people think breakers are the same and they have a lot of experience to reinforce that understanding.

    Often someone looking for trouble generates a problem where there is not one. The presumption is that all people are trained to expect breakers to be in a specific orientation and will not actually look to see fi the breaker actually says off or on. Which may be giving the person more credit in electrical experience than they really have.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    In my opinion, it is a non-issue. The issue with that panel is simply that it is old antique equipment and may not function as well as a new panel with the new advanced breaker designs. Replace it and no problemo.

    In my area, as Rollie has pointed out, we see occasionally, maybe not as often as Big Mike does, panels laid sideways, breakers up, breakers down, whatever. Get it wrong, no power. Get it right, power. Can't figure it out? Hands off. Go ask somebody else. Sheesh.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    There is nothing "unsafe" about that panel, it just does not meet current NEC standards,it did comply when installed if it was unsafe then it needs to be removed, simple as that.
    Likewise, then, there is nothing "unsafe" about driving fast old cars which did not come with seat belts.

    I'm going to guess that there are a lot of insurance and Department of Highway and Traffic Safety people who would disagree about that fast old car which did not come with seat belts; just like there will be a lot of people involved in eliminating those "ON-is-down" panels who would disagree with you on that panel.

    just because something 'came that way' does not make it safe, especially when, over the years, it has been recognized as not being safe enough to the extent that the code was changed.

    Like guards with openings 12" wide - do you consider them "safe"?

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

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Which way did you say was "UP"?

    Everything has a service life...even I'm not going to last forever...be safe and replace it..

    Matt Kiefer, Columbus Advanced Inspections
    Home Inspection Columbus Ohio
    Radon Testing Columbus Ohio

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