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  1. #1

    Default Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    I recently flagged an electrical Panel as contaminated and called for a sparky to evaluate/Replace/Recommend/etc...

    Most will say "Replace" however sometimes they will say "Contaminated but usable..." especially when it is in a Condo where replacing it is a pain as it really belongs to the Condo...and the House electricians really don't want to deal with it... If they say "OK" in writing, I must consider my client covered...however

    This one "SAID" he saw nothing wrong...needless to say the client was mad at me for having them spend money on a Sparky...

    His name must have been Sargent Schultz....

    I responded suggesting getting that "nothing" in writing and provided my letter from Square-D saying that if the contaminant can't be removed with a dry cloth that the panel should be replaced and they were so kind as to refer to code as well.

    Anyone have some "polite" words for when an Electrician (or any other trade) blows off a defect either from ignorance, doesn't want to deal with it in his building, or honestly believes that something like a FPE panel is OK... (yes I have had electricians say there was nothing was wrong with a FPE Stab-lock)

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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sisson View Post
    I recently flagged an electrical Panel as contaminated and called for a sparky to evaluate/Replace/Recommend/etc...
    Bob,

    That is the perfect example of why I keep saying NOT to call for them to "evaluate" - as soon as you do then you put that on their shoulders and you have nothing to complain about when they come back and say that it is "okay".

    Stick to calling for replacement. (Yes, that is a *Period* at the end.)

    If the tradesperson comes through and says nothing is wrong, you have something to hang your hat on and stick to - you called for replacement.

    In the case you gave, you called for them to "evaluate" it ... and that is exactly what they did.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    You could politely tell the client to inform the electrician that you recommend he get his eyes ... inspected.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Well...
    "Bless his heart!" and ..."his lil' ol' eyes".

    "Did ya get that in writin' darlin'? Did he sign it and date it? He could write now couldn't he darlin'? I wouldn't be acceptin' just an 'X' on a paper under some cipherin' and a lil' chicken scratch!" "Did ya get a picture of him standing in front of the open panel?"

    Seriously, what someone else says "the electrician" "SAID" is of little consequence. What is written down and documented, signed, dated, is another. Ask for the party to mail a copy of the signed & dated job slip which the sparky documented "I see nothing wrong" with the panel condition, and that it required/requires no remediation.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 10-07-2012 at 09:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    So I take it that electricity isn't getting through.


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    You should take another look at 2005 NEC 310.3(A)5, 6 or 8. Dry paint splatters would not qualify for any of the conditions mentioned in the quoted NEC. If the engineer who wrote the letter believes paint will attack the insulating materials, such is not covered by the quoted portions of the NEC. The possible voltage to be present inside this panel, would not arc thru a paint splatter. Such condition (arcing) would require voltage far in excess of the maximum 600 volt rating for this panel. And the voltage required for arcing thru paint would certainly far exceed the actual voltage which is present in this panel.


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    When I read the letter from Square D, I read that petroleum based paints would degrade the insulators requiring replacement of the interior, I.e. bars and insulators. Is the paint used petroleum based? How many painters use petroleum based wall paint? I would expect an electrician to call out nothing wrong with this panel because he sees this careless work by painters all the time. The paint is most likely latex based and therefore of no threat to the insulators integrity. The labeling could be an issue, although the AHJ is the local judge, and most likely observed and overlooked this workmanship issue. The bar contact area is the only real issue I see here.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sisson View Post
    I recently flagged an electrical Panel as contaminated and called for a sparky to evaluate/Replace/Recommend/etc...

    Most will say "Replace" however sometimes they will say "Contaminated but usable..." especially when it is in a Condo where replacing it is a pain as it really belongs to the Condo...and the House electricians really don't want to deal with it... If they say "OK" in writing, I must consider my client covered...however

    This one "SAID" he saw nothing wrong...needless to say the client was mad at me for having them spend money on a Sparky...

    His name must have been Sargent Schultz....

    I responded suggesting getting that "nothing" in writing and provided my letter from Square-D saying that if the contaminant can't be removed with a dry cloth that the panel should be replaced and they were so kind as to refer to code as well.

    Anyone have some "polite" words for when an Electrician (or any other trade) blows off a defect either from ignorance, doesn't want to deal with it in his building, or honestly believes that something like a FPE panel is OK... (yes I have had electricians say there was nothing was wrong with a FPE Stab-lock)
    Interesting. Is that a 3-phase panel feeding through, in a condo. What is the contaminant, is it paint?


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Bob, That is the perfect example of why I keep saying NOT to call for them to "evaluate" - as soon as you do then you put that on their shoulders and you have nothing to complain about when they come back and say that it is "okay".
    I'm in the "evaluate" camp for that very reason - put the burden on someone else.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  10. #10

    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Interesting comments. Would it change anyones comment if I said this was a 1979 Condo and is more likely Oil based paint?

    I try not to "lead" contractors by saying what the fix is, as they are supposed to be the 'experts.' If they pull all the breakers and see that the bars behind them are clean, and feel conformatle writing its safe, I am happy with that, its now their butt...

    I can see strength in leaving less room for interpritation by the contractor however, but don't want to overextend myself by quoting code (I am not a licensed electrician).

    What is the opinion of something like:
    "The Panel contains significant overspray in and on active components. Replacement of the comtaminated components is the typical repair, but a licensed electrician may make the final judgement. If replacement is not done, make sure to get a copy of the certification letter for use when the property is to be sold..."

    thoughts? This politely asks for it in writing and puts out there what the repair should be...

    PS.. at least one county code inspector for new construction in my area is quite clear about their interpritations. If the Panel is contaminated, it gets replaced. He doesn't argue about paint type. A few charge-backs to the painters and they don't "make mistakes" again is his opinion..


  11. #11

    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Sorry, I missed a few questions..
    • Yes the contaminant APPEARS to be paint,but it could be spray texture or a mixture.
    • The Panel appears to be a "Feed through" in a Condo. All of the Stacked units seem to be on the Same Feed. It is 110v/220v, single phase with 4-wires. 2-hots, a Neutral and a ground. Technically it is a "sub" panel and the main for each riser is in the Basement.
    • The Panel was "working" the day of the inspection, so yes the electricity was getting through. The issues is "Will the panel perform as it was designed to?" Is there paint in the connection between the breakers and the buss creating a hot spot, would a NEW breaker be at risk for that condition? Will the breakers trip properly if there is paint on the handles?...and many other questions. Square-D and Cuttler Hammer both gave me similar letters saying that panels should not be contaminated...I am sure they could go one for pages about why they don't want the panel contaminated.
    My issue is how to write a comment that says just the right thing without being alarmist, sounding like an "expert" or leaving too much room for interpritation. If an "expert" looks at the panel, pulls the breaker and WRITES an opinion such as: "Examind contamination in Panel. No Contamination was seem between breakers and buss, no signs of hot spots. Continued use of the Panel with the existing breakers should pose no issues." I don't have a problem, but when they say VERBALLY I "see" no problem it makes me look bad and doesn't give my client anything useful. When they go to sell the unit, the next inspector/electrician combination may want to replace the panel at $$ but my client was TOLD it was OK...


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Hi Bob,

    I like your "overspray" comment from 05:31. With your permission, I would like to copy it for my use.

    They hired you for your knowledge and opinion. While you are not an electrical contractor, you may well have information that the electrician did not. I would reply with a modified version for the buyer of your comment. Recommend that they hang onto the certification letter that the electrician provided. When they tell you that they did not receive one, let them know that the electrician's verbal comment is hearsay in court and that you stand behind your opinion. Provide the letter you posted as your reference and recommend they get documentation that supports the electrician's opinion. It may be that the electrician will be interested in the information that you have and change his tune.

    By the way, would you mind sharing the Cutler Hammer letter? I copied the Square D for my files and would like to have the other.

    Thanks

    Department of Redundancy Department
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Bob,

    One more thing. You might also let the buyer know that use will often change from occupant to occupant. There could be a latent problem that did not show up for the previous owner/tenant because that circuit was not, or rarely, used. The only way to be sure is to remove the circuit breakers.

    But, you know that.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    "Dear Mr./Mrs. Homebuyer,

    As we discussed at the beginning of the home inspection and noted in my contract, I have a broad/general knowledge of construction, but not some of the specialized knowledge that an electrical contractor (for example) would have. Please understand, I take my job and the safety of your family very seriously.

    Based on my experience, knowledge and the included letter from Square D, I am concerned about the conditions in the panel and believe that correction is warranted. If your electrician has other documentation, I would appreciate sharing it with me, to ensure that I make better informed decisions in the future."

    Department of Redundancy Department
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    And now for an off-topic observation....3-phase feeders at the top and bottom of the bars? I've not seen that type of feed-through configuration (yes, I have seen many 3-phase panels).


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    I'm in the "evaluate" camp for that very reason - put the burden on someone else.
    No problem ... just don't complain about it when the contractor dismisses you and your opinion.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Roberts View Post
    You should take another look at 2005 NEC 310.3(A)5, 6 or 8. Dry paint splatters would not qualify for any of the conditions mentioned in the quoted NEC.
    Not sure what your references of "2005 NEC 310.3(A)5, 6 or 8." have to do with "Dry paint splatters would not qualify for any of the conditions mentioned in the quoted NEC."

    There is an NEC reference with address "dry paint splatters" and such:
    - 110.12 Mechanical Execution of Work.
    - - (C) Integrity of Electrical Equipment and Connections. Internal parts of electrical equipment, including busbars, wiring terminals, insulators, and other surfaces, shall not be damaged or contaminated by foreign materials such as paint, plaster, cleaners, abrasives, or corrosive residues. There shall be no damaged parts that may adversely affect safe operation or mechanical strength of the equipment such as parts that are broken; bent; cut; or deteriorated by corrosion, chemical action, or overheating.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    This is NOT 3-Phase. Is is Normal everyday 110v/220v. It just happens to be a "Through" panel where the feeds start in the basement and go "through" each of the panels. The Panels in the basment are typical 110/220v just with a LOT of 150A breakers...No 3-phase.

    This is not typical, but I have seen it several times in older Appartments & condos.

    For the person who wanted the OTHER Manufactures letter, it is attached

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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    I agree with Jerry about the paint splatters. Stick to your guns Bob!

    HG - why are you not all over the "its a condo so we shouldn't be going in panels" crud you jumped all over me on a previous thread?


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sisson View Post
    For the person who wanted the OTHER Manufactures letter, it is attached
    Thanks Bob.

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Certainly looks like 3-phase. My question is is the owner paying for their electricity or is the condo paying, since it does feed through to somewhere. If the condo owns it they would have to repair it. That paint might have been there since 1979.


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    No problem ... just don't complain about it when the contractor dismisses you and your opinion.
    No complaints from moi. I've been dismissed quite a bit over the years. But usually my client's trust favors me and that's what's important.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  23. #23

    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Oh I am sure that paint has been there for a LONG time, judging from the paint I had to gouge out of the screwheads to get the panel open...

    Back to the three phase question...
    There are 4 conductors comming up from the basment. Color doesn't matter, they were just marked to keep them organized.

    Think SUB-PANEL where the Primary disconect/Panel is out in the garage and the Panel in the kitchen is really a sub-panel. It is feed with 4 conductors. a Ground, two hots and a neutral. That is exactly what we have here. Since this is NOT the 'main' the ground and neutral must be kept seperate.

    The only difference is that the 200A cable feeds THREE Appartments and the panel is constructed/laid-out to allow ease of "feed through" I never see these in new construction, only old Appartments/Condos.

    Jerry Peck...Other than there is no such thing as a sub-panel, did I get it mostly right? (there are only main Panels and Panels right?)


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I agree with Jerry about the paint splatters. Stick to your guns Bob!

    HG - why are you not all over the "its a condo so we shouldn't be going in panels" crud you jumped all over me on a previous thread?
    Guess you need to go back and actually read that entire thread Jack, because you continue to mischaracterize that discussion. The circumstances described by Mrs. Bob were specific and the conditions evidenced were likewise specific. Apparently you miss on every distinction with a difference, and continue to have no understanding of NFPA 70E.


    I'm not following Mr. Bob's assertion of single split phase panel in photo first post. I'm seeing four conductors plus gnd - three hots, a neutral and a bare grounding/bonding entering at the bottom of the panel, looks to be poly-phase.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 10-08-2012 at 04:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sisson View Post
    What is the opinion of something like:
    "The Panel contains significant overspray in and on active components. Replacement of the comtaminated components is the typical repair, but a licensed electrician may make the final judgement. If replacement is not done, make sure to get a copy of the certification letter for use when the property is to be sold..."
    Bob - Why not say what the safety consequences can be from over-spray e.g. poor connections, overheating, arcing, damage, fire. It's factual information that will be more difficult for the electrician to gloss over.

    If you recommend that the client get some sort of certification letter might it be interpreted as your acceptance of the condition? My approach - I say have it corrected - I don't give a second option.

    BTW - When a contractor wants to walk out on the plank I'm not going to be following him.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sisson View Post
    Oh I am sure that paint has been there for a LONG time, judging from the paint I had to gouge out of the screwheads to get the panel open...

    Back to the three phase question...
    There are 4 conductors comming up from the basment. Color doesn't matter, they were just marked to keep them organized.

    Think SUB-PANEL where the Primary disconect/Panel is out in the garage and the Panel in the kitchen is really a sub-panel. It is feed with 4 conductors. a Ground, two hots and a neutral. That is exactly what we have here. Since this is NOT the 'main' the ground and neutral must be kept seperate.

    The only difference is that the 200A cable feeds THREE Appartments and the panel is constructed/laid-out to allow ease of "feed through" I never see these in new construction, only old Appartments/Condos.

    Jerry Peck...Other than there is no such thing as a sub-panel, did I get it mostly right? (there are only main Panels and Panels right?)
    As I looked at the pic again it looks like there is no bus to the red wire in the middle. Never seen a panel like that.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    I think that we're all suffering from squinting too hard at a poor photograph. Why would a panel have a 3 connection and no bus? IMO this is definitely a 3 panel. Looking at the bottom breaker position there is a bus stab fed from the C phase bus on the right. Go up two breaker positions and there is a bus stab fed from the A phase bus on the left. The B phase bus is barely visible occupying the second breaker position from the bottom. If no one agrees with me that's OK.
    As soon as I wrote that I said "Well what is that red wire doing?" It's 3-phase, maybe not being used as 3-phase, but you can see it looks like they skipped a phase the first two times through the panel. Take another squint.


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sisson View Post
    Jerry Peck...Other than there is no such thing as a sub-panel, did I get it mostly right? (there are only main Panels and Panels right?)
    Bob,

    There are only service equipment panels and panels which are other-than-service equipment panels - the easiest way to think of of two types of panels: 1) service equipment panels; and 2) distribution panels (or just panels).

    One could have a service panel which only has the main disconnect and a separate distribution panel which has all of the branch circuits in it. That is a very common installation in many places. The "main" panel is the distribution panel. There are also many installation where the service equipment as the main service disconnect and a few branch circuits, for the a/c condenser unit, pool, spa, irrigation sprinkler pump, etc., and all the other circuits are from a distribution panel located someplace else, that distribution panel would be the "main" panel.

    The service equipment panel is the main one to remember, every panel which is not a service equipment panel is (long and boring term here ) is a other-than-service-equipment-panel (it is easier to just call the 'distribution panels' )

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Bennett View Post
    As I looked at the pic again it looks like there is no bus to the red wire in the middle. Never seen a panel like that.
    That setup is quite common in condos where the service is 3-phase but each unit is only supplied with 120 volts / 208 volts between 2 of the phases. Sometimes they will alternate floors to the different phases, sometimes they will put 3 floors on between two phases (such as A-B), then the next 3 floors between another two phases (such as B-C), then the next 3 floors between the other two phases (such as A-C). The attempt is to try to keep all the phases somewhat balanced.

    The thing to tell your clients is that it takes longer to heat water in the water heater with 208 volts than with 240 volts, longer to cook, longer to dry clothes, etc., as the appliances are the same, they will be rated 208 v /240 v.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Gerry,
    I think the bus is hidden by the insulating plastic - and that bus bar extends up through the panel to connect the top and bottom lugs.

    The panel is contaminated with paint/texture and should be replaced.


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    That's a feed-through MLO riser distribution panel 3PH 4-wire+gnd feeder providing 208/120V for the unit.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    That's a feed-through MLO riser distribution panel 3PH 4-wire+gnd feeder providing 208/120V for the unit.
    Question on the feed through we are looking at...the way it's wired, can you put a meter on that individual panel?

    Thanks


  33. #33

    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    All utilities are included so there is no metering per unit or even per riser, there was just one (big) meter for the building, and it was on a BIG enclosure feed by some big trough/raceways...not something that I was going anywhere near...

    If Jerry says it is really 3-phase, then I believe him. Everything I tested looked like 110/220, but 110/208 would behave to the simple instruments I use as the same. The ONLY "double breaker" equipment was the water heater and the range. They might heat "slower" but nothing that I could test or see different.


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen G View Post
    Question on the feed through we are looking at...the way it's wired, can you put a meter on that individual panel?
    No, the meter would need to be for all the units feed from the feeders. Depending no the installation, the service could be split off with separate meters for, as an example let's say we have a mid-rise with three towers connected by open corridors, each tower could be metered separately and the usage split between all units, or there could be one meter for the entire three tower structure and the usage is split equally. Either type of metering discourages conserving electricity because 'I'm not directly paying for what I use' and 'My neighbors are paying for some of mine if I go hog wild on usage' and what they forget is that their neighbors may be thinking the same thing and everyone ends up paying a lot for a lot of usage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sisson View Post
    All utilities are included so there is no metering per unit or even per riser, there was just one (big) meter for the building, and it was on a BIG enclosure feed by some big trough/raceways...
    Now, they could have installed CTs (current transformers) at each panel and installed CT reading meters so that each unit can be charged for their electrical usage, however, either I missed seeing those in the panel or they did not install them. But it is one possible solutions to provide separate metering of each unit.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  35. #35

    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Nope, there was just one "Meter" for the entire building... Wasn't a typical meter, looked like the one I saw on 800A service,(only even bigger) Ie it wasn't in-line with the feeds, but more likely had current transforners in the raceways that feed it. I didn't pay to much attention to it as I was looking for breakers for my "unit" not the mains for the building.

    Big power, or Comercial stuff is different from what most of us see routinely. By the time it gets to the "units" we are looking at it looks like 110-120v...especially if we only see two legs, it again looks a lot like 120/240. In this case I am thinking that each panel picked 2 of the three legs going through it. The "Middle" one would just go through the panel untapped. The 1st floor would skip-A, the 2nd floor would skip-B and the 3rd floor would skip-C, makes sense to me...

    This development is Huge, and most of the Condo's are all inclusive, even the single family's sometimes don't have meters, just disconects. Really weird. But the Development takes care of the power inside the area, many buildings, and the like...

    As someone said, it really discourages energy savings as there is no reason...they also have lots of really old HVAC equipment that wastes energy, but there is no reason to upgrade if it works, who cares if is has a SEER of 6 if I don't pay for energy. Lots of baseboard electric heat as well.


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Bob,

    That is the perfect example of why I keep saying NOT to call for them to "evaluate" - as soon as you do then you put that on their shoulders and you have nothing to complain about when they come back and say that it is "okay".

    Stick to calling for replacement. (Yes, that is a *Period* at the end.)

    If the tradesperson comes through and says nothing is wrong, you have something to hang your hat on and stick to - you called for replacement.

    In the case you gave, you called for them to "evaluate" it ... and that is exactly what they did.
    Generaly speaking, the term replace, is much preferable to evaluate IMHO. Evaluate says to me, take a look. The question arises, what do you want ME to do? Of course, you want them to either say it is safe, or not, and then fix the problem. The electrician says to himself " I know there is a problem, now I have to either scare or convince the HO that they should spend money to fix this problem." Is there even a code that says the HO HAS to upgrade or otherwise bring what was once ok, up to current code? I say this generally, not in particular to this one panel.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Bennett View Post
    As I looked at the pic again it looks like there is no bus to the red wire in the middle. Never seen a panel like that.
    There is a buss there, it is hidden behind a piece of plastic with a tab sticking through the plastic that the breaker mounts to. If you look closely at the picture, you will see on the right buss, a tab for future breakers, on the left the same, and between the two, there is a breaker that is on the bottom right. This breaker is using the center, red phase.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Weekly View Post
    Gerry,
    I think the bus is hidden by the insulating plastic - and that bus bar extends up through the panel to connect the top and bottom lugs.

    The panel is contaminated with paint/texture and should be replaced.
    I agree, with the note I made above.
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    There are a few of us who see this as 3.





    A cheap DMM (digital multi-meter) will really help to determine the voltage and type of system that your testing. If I could make a suggestion it would be to use the standard system voltages when reporting. The correct system voltages mentioned in this thread would be 120/240 and 208Y/120. You cannot have both 110 and 208 volts in the same system. Forget the voltage 110! My 2 cents.
    It IS 3. Call it 208Y/120 Series rated. This is what it is. I have no doubts on it. I see a lot 2 pole loads, very few 120V loads, electric heat? In any case it does not appear to be compliant with NEC article 210.5 C. Which is identifying phase conductors.

    To the OP, yes this electrician was being lazy. He didn't want to have to shut down all the units using that same riser just to repair the one panel,

    Next time a contamination issue comes up, just say that the panel needs to be brought up to NEC 2008 article 110.12 B standards. This would be where the article from 2005 has moved to. Sorry, I don't know where the article would be in the 2011 code.

    Last edited by J. Renner; 11-08-2012 at 06:25 PM. Reason: added another code issue

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Much Ado about nothing.

    I have seen quite a bit of paint spray and have anguished about what to tell my clients.

    I do tell them that it could be an "issue" that they may have to deal with in the future.

    Did any of the above posts cite references to fires proven to be caused by paint splatter?

    Panel equipment manufacturers will naturally condemn contamination but will they actively stand between "you" and the 'offended' parties and deflect the blowback that might be engendered when you call for panel replacement?


  38. #38

    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Panel replacement isn't so bad for newer panels...they just unbolt the inards and bolt in new from a replacment panels.

    Where it gets interesting is when you have a panel that is no longer in production...those have to be "replaced" and the expense is HIGH.

    About 50% of the time the seller gets an electrician to "bless" the panel, about 25% they ignore it and only about 25% get replaced.

    I bring it up as a possible insurance issue, since it has been identified as an issue, if there -is- a fire their insurance could balk if it had anything to do with the panel...

    As for the manufacture standing up, it was like pulling teeth to get the letters I did...


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
    Much Ado about nothing.

    I have seen quite a bit of paint spray and have anguished about what to tell my clients.

    I do tell them that it could be an "issue" that they may have to deal with in the future.

    Did any of the above posts cite references to fires proven to be caused by paint splatter?

    Panel equipment manufacturers will naturally condemn contamination but will they actively stand between "you" and the 'offended' parties and deflect the blowback that might be engendered when you call for panel replacement?
    I have seen lots of paint and texture sprayed panels and not one had evidence of a problem from this contamination. However, I think you have to write it up as contaminated as described in the code. The code reference that Jerry presented, doesn't offer a solution to the contamination, so I fall into the camp of those who advocate calling for further evaluation by a licensed electrician and let him/her assume the burden of responsibility.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Robert is correct, ( probably Watson also, but the poly phase reference confused me ). It is a three phase, four wire panel - - - a feed through panel at that. One of the phase busses is out of sight / behind and insulated from the others with only the breaker attachment portions protruding. Regarding the metering question, the loads could be exclusively house loads, ( hallways, elevators, common area light & heating etc. ). Alternatively; the leases or rentals can be what property managers call triple net which means one flat fee for everything, ( utilities included ).


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    The code reference that Jerry presented, doesn't offer a solution to the contamination,
    Actually the code does offer a solution, an unstated solution, but a solution nonetheless.

    If a contaminated panel is not allowed, and is not allowed to be cleaned with solvents, water, abrasives, etc., then the solution is - replace the panel.

    There are some inspector who just do not seem to be able to make that simple call, but it is in their client's best interest for that call to be made. Don't make the call and nothing can be done about it. Make the call and something can be done about it (replacement) or maybe nothing will still be done, but your client knows it should be replaced, and when they sell they cannot come back to you and say that you should have told them because now they are being asked for replace it for their buyer.

    Remember, each year home inspectors increase their knowledge of what if not right and/or not good, so after a few years have gone by the standard of care may have changed dramatically ... do you want to be the last one on the page?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Robert is correct, ( probably Watson also, but the poly phase reference confused me ). It is a three phase, four wire panel - - - a feed through panel at that. One of the phase busses is out of sight / behind and insulated from the others with only the breaker attachment portions protruding. Regarding the metering question, the loads could be exclusively house loads, ( hallways, elevators, common area light & heating etc. ). Alternatively; the leases or rentals can be what property managers call triple net which means one flat fee for everything, ( utilities included ).
    poly-phase: more than one phase

    The prefix "poly" means more than one (or may mean "many").


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    poly-phase: more than one phase

    The prefix "poly" means more than one (or may mean "many").
    And of course it's easier to confuse things by using a non-standard term, right? Simply using the accepted term "three-phase" would have been too easy I guess.


    I would have used the term "poly-phase" for panels like four, five and six phase panels.....oh wait, those don't exist.


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Polyphase is the accepted and correct universal term.


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    And of course it's easier to confuse things by using a non-standard term, right? Simply using the accepted term "three-phase" would have been too easy I guess.


    I would have used the term "poly-phase" for panels like four, five and six phase panels.....oh wait, those don't exist.
    Polyphase is the general, accepted term. Has been since the late 1800s. (1891 to be precise, physics, EE, etc.).

    Perhaps it might be helpful if you expanded your thinking to that beyond limited experience, and kept in mind that "the world" is not limited to 60 Hz frequency for AC power generation or distribution. As far as your closing statement and stupendous sarcasm, it only provides further evidence of your lack of experience and knowledge.

    A polyphase system is a means of distributing alternating-current electrical power. Polyphase systems have multiple energized electrical conductors carrying alternating currents with a definite time offset between the voltage waves in each conductor. Polyphase systems are particularly useful for transmitting power to electric motors.

    Higher phase numbers than three have been used. A common practice for rectifier installations and in HVDC converters is to provide six phases, with 60 degree phase spacing, to reduce harmonic generation in the AC supply system and to provide smoother direct current. Experimental high-phase-order transmission lines have been built with up to 12 phases. These allow application of Extra High Voltage (EHV) rules at lower voltages and would permit increased power transfer in the same transmission line corridor width.




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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Perhaps it might be helpful if you expanded your thinking to that beyond limited experience, and kept in mind that "the world" is not limited to 60 Hz frequency for AC power generation or distribution. As far as your closing statement and stupendous sarcasm, it only provides further evidence of your lack of experience and knowledge.
    Hey HG, GFY!

    NO, in the real world poly phase is NOT the "accepted and correct universal term". I guess it is in your twisted and wacked out world. I guess I shouldhave said 6 & 12 phase systems don't exist in our wolrd, or even the non-experimental real world.
    I'd love to see a six or twelve phase system in use in the US, and even better, one that a H-I on this board would go and inspect.
    You just use terms like that, and post novels, just to TRY and prove to everyone what superior knowledge you think you have.

    Considering your poor reputation on this and every other forum I see you on I take your above arrogant comments very lightly.
    If you don't like my sarcasm then out me on ignore. Pretty simple concept for a genius such as yourself.


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    HG,

    Dihydrogen Oxygen is a commonly accepted term too. However, most would be happy just to say water. Perhaps you also prefer the term fossil fueled vehicle conveyance method or some other over complicated term to car or automobile?

    Does demeaning people that you have no knowledge of their experiences, certifications and licenses make you feel bigger? If so I pity a truly sorry life that you must lead. You really should learn to accept that others can and do have knowledge and can share in a constructive manner before you leave this earth.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Gentlemen,

    You are simply stubbornly confused and muddying the field yet again.

    This is not the first time Mr. or Mrs. Bob, and for that matter a number of responders, have had an issue, not being able to identify when a distribution system is OTHER THAN SINGLE (split) PHASE, and that a distribution panelboard is NOT 120/240 VAC. Split single phase is the usual service equipment panel that is seen by an HI for a SFR, although occasionally a SF home has polyphase service equipment.

    Not all, and frankly FEW larger multifamily (i.e. more than six flats) units have true split single phase panels, and for that matter fewer larger multi-family, and esp. multi-occupancy classification occupancies have "simgle phase" service, although both of you two have refered to same as 2 phases not two halves of the same phase, many times.

    Fewer still larger multi-family (esp. those with complicated building services such as elevators, lifts, pumping stations, etc.) which are of SIGNIFICANT AGE, rarely have simple LV 208/120Y SERVICE to the BUILDING (usually higher voltages to larger transformer IN the building or its own vault). Even with same, a usual 120/240 single phase panel wouldn't be appropriate for the unit, and the unit itself rarely has its own "service".

    This is the third in recent months between Mr. & Mrs. Bob where they have photographed and discussed polyphase feed-through riser panels which were common property (of the building) and where private distribution and supply of power was provided to a condo, co-op, or apartment unit.

    Each of those times, without knowledge or understanding that the power ratings were NOT 120/240 vAC, Not split single-phase, and of unknown ampacity, and without knowledge one way or the other of the presence or not of delta breakers in the system.

    And yes, there remains a HOST of actual 2-ph equipment in the field (and we usually use a scott tsf to supply same), and YES, I have seen in Mr. & Mrs. Bob's "neck of the woods" the very conditions, situtations, and occurances of exactly that AND also many times other than WYE configurations for polyphase building power distribution.

    Other than a true rectified single-phase alternating current has been referred to as poly-phase since the early Tessla/Westinghouse days, and continues to be.

    The key in the actual SUBJECT discussion with the actual OP and subject panelboard is that it is OTHER than SINGLE PHASE, it is infact POLYPHASE, and a FEED-THROUGH riser panel for MULTIPLE UNITS.

    POLY = more than ONE. MULTI = more than ONE.

    SPLIT-SINGLE PHASE is still a SINGLE (albeit center tapped) PHASE of alternating current.


  49. #49
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Geeze guys. I too have been thumped by The Watsonator, but have lived to see another day. There may be an all too often condescension in H.G. posts, but also occasional information to be gleaned. I believe, ( evidently similar to the site master ), spirited communication is OK - - - within reason. Counter punching is unavoidable, but I question the value in being a protaganist.


  50. #50
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    Smile Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Higher phase numbers than three have been used. A common practice for rectifier installations and in HVDC converters is to provide six phases, with 60 degree phase spacing, to reduce harmonic generation in the AC supply system and to provide smoother direct current. Experimental high-phase-order transmission lines have been built with up to 12 phases. These allow application of Extra High Voltage (EHV) rules at lower voltages and would permit increased power transfer in the same transmission line corridor width.


    Your statement above is why it confused me. I have no experience with non-standard phasing, but am aware of it's existence. On this site and in this industry single phase, three phase Y or three phase delta is going to cover 99.9% or more of all electrical services. "poly phase" would indicate something other than a standard phasing configuration to me. Calling a 120/208 volt Y system poly phase is like calling this post poly worded. Poly meaning more than one, ( in case you need a Webster lesson )



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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Calling a 120/208 volt Y system poly phase is like calling this post poly worded. Poly meaning more than one, ( in case you need a Webster lesson )
    Classic!


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Gentlemen,

    You are simply stubbornly confused and muddying the field yet again.
    I don't think Petey or I are confused or muddying the field. For whatever reason you seem to feel the need to overly complicate even a simple thing.

    The purpose of communication is to assure that the sender conveys the message and is understood by the receiver. If someone cannot understand what you are saying the effort is wasted.

    Simply typing a lot of unnecessary words does not mean you have greater intelligence.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I don't think Petey or I are confused or muddying the field. For whatever reason you seem to feel the need to overly complicate even a simple thing.

    The purpose of communication is to assure that the sender conveys the message and is understood by the receiver. If someone cannot understand what you are saying the effort is wasted.

    Simply typing a lot of unnecessary words does not mean you have greater intelligence.
    Jim,

    The purpose of most communications is that ("to assure that the sender conveys the message and is understood by the receiver"), however, one must remember that it is Watson you are speaking of, and it appears from his posts, past, present, and most like future, that his purpose is to hear himself talk (read what he wrote) as there is nothing, or very little at most, of his posts which indicate an intent to "to assure that the sender conveys the message and is understood by the receiver".

    Yeah, now he will start on me again, but his hammer is a little itty bitty tack hammer and I can take it. (sigh)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    I'm just a little bit beyond peeved with the ignorant jackass remarks.

    The NEC uses the term polyphase to describe other than single-phase, for example when defining what a "neutral point" is.

    I referred EARLY on to the OBVIOUS 3-PH panelboard, as Mr. Bob continued to insist the panel was a single-phase 120/240 one.

    I responded to the obvious ignorant sarcasm regarding the claim of the ever-ignorant Speedy (who has also never heard of a countertop dishwasher appliance! - they've only been around for decades upon decades) claim that there was no such thing as six-phase - and one who likely couldn't get an invitation to a power generation tour at Niagra or anywhere else.

    It is BEYOND unfortunate that another suggests Mr. Bob MEASURE live voltage in the 208/120 Y panel - as that would require a QUALIFIED PERSON and is undertaking a LEVEL 2 activity requiring PPE and QUALIFIED status that Mr. Bob (and Mrs. Bob) ARE NOT, as they have again proven they are unable to determine the minimum factors required to assess the RISK of performing and the required distances, protection, and what is required to PERFORM LIVE WORK (and testing voltages IS PERFORMING WORK).

    The gosh-darn NEC DEFINES Neutral Point in Chapter 1 (NEC) Article 100 (Definitions) as:
    Quote Originally Posted by NEC

    Neutral Point. The common point on a wye-connection in a polyphase system or midpoint on a single-phase, 3-wire system, or midpoint of single-phase portion of a 3-phase delta system, or midpoint of 3-wire, direct-current system.
    It was pointed out specifically. I also referred to it as a 3 PH 208/120 Y.

    I referred to it initially as being polyphase and NOT single phase which had been asserted by Mr. Bob - repeatedly. POLYPHASE was the CORRECT TERM. I refered to it as a 3PH 208/120 Y feed-through panel soon after, and LONG BEFORE the ankle-biting dung-throwers showed up.

    If you flat workers can't grasp the obvious (and Peck who still refers to it as 120/208 not 208/120 Y!) then TOUGH BEANS and go on with your ignorant dung flinging.

    It serves no purpose other than to make you look continually petty, small, and ignorant.

    The communication of the POINT which is YET AGAIN, ANOTHER condo, apartment, or co-op panel which is NOT 120/240 is NOT single-phase, has 3 ungrounded conductors, a neutral and a grounding conductor (four conductors PLUS GROUND) is NOT a single-phase panel.

    POLYPHASE communicates the fact that the supply is OTHER THAN single phase. Mr. Bob should NOT be testing voltages in this panel, frankly I do not believe it has been evidenced that he should be opening them in the first place, as he has not gathered the necessary information a QUALIFIED PERSON would to determine the safety requirements to have done so.

    NFPA 70E (not the NEC) is a document ALL should review, if you're even THINKING about tinkering with a panel in a large (multi-occupancy, multi-unit, multi floorS) building. SEE Especially 130. You check-in and gain permission from BUILDING management BEFORE you even THINK about removing that COVER.


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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    I also referred to it as a 3 PH 208/120 Y.

    If you flat workers can't grasp the obvious (and Peck who still refers to it as 120/208 not 208/120 Y!) then TOUGH BEANS and go on with your ignorant dung flinging.
    Watson rants on ... and still does not get it ... or even get it right!

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    If we're splitting hairs, the correct denotation for a WYE system is 208Y/120
    Ah ... but splitting hairs is what Watson is doing, and in doing so he gets NO LEEWAY in using incorrect terminology.

    but having said that I think that it's safe to say that everyone would understand what you meant if you said 208/120 Y.
    That is not good enough for Watson, thus it is not acceptable for Watson to post that way. (sigh)

    Watson ... rant on ... show us how many errors you can make in ranting on ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sisson View Post
    I recently flagged an electrical Panel as contaminated and called for a sparky to evaluate/Replace/Recommend/etc...

    Most will say "Replace" however sometimes they will say "Contaminated but usable..." especially when it is in a Condo where replacing it is a pain as it really belongs to the Condo...and the House electricians really don't want to deal with it... If they say "OK" in writing, I must consider my client covered...however

    This one "SAID" he saw nothing wrong...needless to say the client was mad at me for having them spend money on a Sparky...

    His name must have been Sargent Schultz....

    I responded suggesting getting that "nothing" in writing and provided my letter from Square-D saying that if the contaminant can't be removed with a dry cloth that the panel should be replaced and they were so kind as to refer to code as well.

    Anyone have some "polite" words for when an Electrician (or any other trade) blows off a defect either from ignorance, doesn't want to deal with it in his building, or honestly believes that something like a FPE panel is OK... (yes I have had electricians say there was nothing was wrong with a FPE Stab-lock)

    I always call for the expert in the field which inspectors are generally not. Most of the time we are generalists.
    "If" he signs the paperwork, then he owns it. You have done your job and drawn attention to it, as you should have.

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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    I mentioned this in another thread but it fits here, too. In my inspection area, only a licensed electrician would be permitted to measure the voltage in the panel with a DMM. As a Home Inspector, I am permitted to visually examine the inside of the panel, but not permitted to perform work in that panel.

    For a condo building, if a dryer or range outlet is accessible, I can measure voltage there to determine if the service is 3-phase or single phase. This is assuming the electrical room is not accessible, which is usual the case.

    I often put 'probable' or 'possible' if I can't get any real evidence, but I will not stick a tool into an electrical panel.

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

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    Default Re: Electrician said "I see nothing wrong"

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Filian View Post
    I always call for the expert in the field which inspectors are generally not. Most of the time we are generalists.
    "If" he signs the paperwork, then he owns it. You have done your job and drawn attention to it, as you should have.
    This debate rages all over this forum, but for most components, I agree with you. Even if a HI is an expert and/or licensed in some trade (or a PE), he/she is considered a generalist in other areas of practice. As generalists, we should identify problems or communicate suspicions and call for further evaluation by the appropriate experts. However, the flip side of my position is that you shouldn't be in this business if all you do is practice personal "cya" and call for experts on everything.


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