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  1. #1
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    Default Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    This house had a 200 amp service panel and a subpanel next to it. The way power was fed to the subpanel was with the cable attached directly to lugs on the service panel hot bus bar (no dedicated shut-off breaker for sub). I always see subpanel feeds having their own dedicated breaker in the service panel so this is a first.

    Since the feed for the subpanel comes right off the service panel lugs with no overcurrent protection for the sub, and the service panel is 200 amp service, wouldn't the cables going to the subpanel need to be rated to handle 200 amps as well and wouldn't the sub panel need to be rated for up to 200 amps?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    I'll give it a shot
    The cables will need to be rated at 200 amp, but not the second panel.

    But you should wait for someone with more experience than me to voice their opinion.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    There are tap rules that would allow this depending on the lenth of the tap and the tap would terminate in an overcurrent device thus the panel would be protected based on the size of that overcurrent device but I do not think the panel manufacturer would approve of the lugs being bolted with the main in that panel nor would they list or label the equipment for that use.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    The point of connection of the main breaker to the buss is not intended to be a place to tap connections by the manufacturer. The panel buss should either have feed through lugs, have tap lugs installed, or a breaker should be used to feed the other panel.

    Also, a wire marked as a neutral has been used on the left side (white stripes) as a line side conductor.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    I agree with Bill although if those bolts are properly tightened it will probably work for 100 years as is.

    Also what's with putting the EGC's in the cordless drill and twisting them together?
    I know. Somebody around here must think it looks pretty. I see this every once in a while.

    "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: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I know. Somebody around here must think it looks pretty. I see this every once in a while.

    Looks "pretty" but is a PITA to deal with if doing any service work in the future. There may be issues w/ the max number of conductors in a lug when terminating them as ground bars kits are normally listed for 2 maybe 3 conductors max., of the same size and conductor material.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    So was the sub panel rated for 200amps?
    (I bet when H.G. sees this thread, he will have the definitive answer)


  8. #8
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    Angry Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Nick,

    I seriously hope you flagged the main service pannelboard and informed whoever requested the inspection that the panelboard must be replaced.

    Issues with the connecting cable: Not tapped properly and unknown if it is a four wire cable.

    On the downstream panelboard, unless it is listed to accept a 200 amp supply it needs to go also.

    Not to mention the warranty issues with the unauthorized modification of the main panelboard which I'm sure also places it listing data as useless.

    I don't supposed that a permit was pulled for this or that someone from the local AHJ signed off on this?


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    I see a need to repair, but if a properly sized breaker is installed in the main panel to feed the subpanel with a 4-wire cable, I don't see a need to replace everything. Have it repaired.

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

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    [QUOTE=Donald Farrell;213474]
    Issues with the connecting cable: Not tapped properly and unknown if it is a four wire cable.QUOTE]

    So let's speculate further. Since there are unauthorized tandem breakers in the panel, a new subpanel or disconnect will need to be installed next to the service equipment for the 100 amp breaker.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Interesting way to get more circuit breaker space. Already stated there are tap rules that could make this legal, but also pointed out is the taps are not listed / allowable / legal as installed and the white striped wire is dangerous as used. If there were legal taps on the main panel for this, the sub-panel breakers would all be main disconnects unless the sub-panel had a main breaker.

    Sorry - - - Retraction. The tap is on the load side of the main circuit breaker, so I was wrong about any more main circuit breakers being created. I was wrong once in 1993 as well (:

    Last edited by Garry Blankenship; 11-18-2012 at 10:47 AM. Reason: Just Plain Wrong

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    [quote=neal lewis;213502]
    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Farrell View Post

    Issues with the connecting cable: Not tapped properly and unknown if it is a four wire cable.QUOTE]

    So let's speculate further. Since there are unauthorized tandem breakers in the panel, a new subpanel or disconnect will need to be installed next to the service equipment for the 100 amp breaker.
    A resourceful electrician can figure this out. He will move a couple of circuits over to the remote panel to make room for a 100 amp breaker in the main panel.
    It can be a 125, 150 amp or even a 200 amp breaker, AFAIK.

    They have a lot of arc fault breakers there, no wonder they ran out of room.

    What tandem breakers are unauthorized?

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    I noted multiple issues in both the service panel and subpanel and stated the panels need to be serviced by a professional electrician and all repairs made as needed.

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

  14. #14
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    Smile Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Okay, just for a minute I'll play devils advocate here and say the main panelboard can be repaired.

    Lets see, drop the supply to the main service panelboard. remove the cover, pull all of the breakers. Now, remove the guts of the main panelboard and replace the damaged bus bars. Pull the incorrect cable between the main panelboard and the downstream panelboard.

    At the main panelboard install the proper listed bus bars, all of the breakers. Install either a feed breaker to the downstream panelboard or install taps. At the downstream either install a MLO panelboard for use with the feeder's breaker or install a downstream breaker controlled panelboard that conforms to the code's tap regulations.

    Or, gee, replace the original main panelboard and know there are no hidden defects that may have occurred when the original panelboard was modified.

    Six of one kind - half a dozen of the other. Which process would a better safety net for the customer?


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    The only modification I see is that the nuts holding the main breaker have been removed to allow the lugs to be installed and then re-installed. The bus was not field drilled and tapped.

    The same arrangement exists in a disconnect enclosure where you install the desired size breaker in the enclosure.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Jim, I saw a similar service panel the other day and saw there were bolts and nuts in the exact same place on the bus bar which I took to be just as you described (the nuts that secure the main disconnect breaker). I don't think the panel in my opening post was modified in terms of being drilled. I think the installer took advantage of some taps that were already in place.

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

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Farrell View Post
    Nick,

    I seriously hope you flagged the main service pannelboard and informed whoever requested the inspection that the panelboard must be replaced.

    Issues with the connecting cable: Not tapped properly and unknown if it is a four wire cable.

    On the downstream panelboard, unless it is listed to accept a 200 amp supply it needs to go also.

    Not to mention the warranty issues with the unauthorized modification of the main panelboard which I'm sure also places it listing data as useless.

    I don't supposed that a permit was pulled for this or that someone from the local AHJ signed off on this?
    Agreed - recommend evaluation from an electrical specialist.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Could a picture of this entire panel and the sub panel with the covers off be posted? There are certainly a lot of questions about this installation that would need to be evaluated. Thanks

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Here is a pic of the subpanel. I don't have one pic with both panels in the same pic. But I'll repost the main panel next to the sub here so there are in the same message.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Nick,

    The first two things I noticed in the distribution panel is that the feeder ground is split and is in two or more terminals in the ground bar, and, the neutral terminal bar on the right is bonded to ground.

    The neutral terminal bar needs to remain isolated from ground in the distribution panel.

    The feeder ground conductor is not allowed to be split like that and in more than one terminal.

    Didn't have time for a good look at them right now.

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

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Looks like they didn't understand the color coding either. The red is being used as the neutral.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    As stated before the tap would not be allowed from the securing point for the main breaker but if a tap was allowed the tap must terminate in an single overcurrent device in that panel. The proper way for the repair would be to move a couple of circuits to the down stream panel then install a breaker to feed the panel and as others have stated correct the bonding and color coding.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Subfed panel:
    1) Requires a main breaker not exceeding the rating of the panel.
    2) Correct the bonding (ie. neutral and equipment grounds need to be insulated and isolated from each other).
    3) Correct the identification of the the identified (neutral) conductors.

    Main Panel:
    1) check splices of branch conductors to ensure compliance with UL listed products.
    2) I personally wouldn't concern myself with the way the feeder was tapped if the above corrections were made and the feeder ampacity matched the subfed panel overcurrent device as long as the connection was sufficiently torqued.
    3) Make sure feeder complies with one of the NEC tap rules.

    Sometimes "close and safe" is all you can get without a major expense involved.

    I would guess the inspector people here would simply write it up to have the violations corrected by a licensed contractor/electrician and that would be appropriate. I would leave it as above as an electrician and electrical inspector. There is "code compliant" and then there common sense after the fact.

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    Subfed panel:
    I would guess the inspector people here would simply write it up to have the violations corrected by a licensed contractor/electrician and that would be appropriate. I would leave it as above as an electrician and electrical inspector. There is "code compliant" and then there common sense after the fact.
    You have two interesting points that constantly cause discussion here. Since, I am not a licensed electrician, I usually point out the defect that causes me to call for
    "further evaluation and repairs as necessary by a licensed electrician", but rarely describe the actual repairs. Since, you are a licensed electrician, spelling out the actual recommended repairs may be more appropriate, but do you want to stick your neck out on a recommendation that falls short of "code compliance"?
    Which leads into the second point. What constitutes an adequate remedy? In this case, can a licensed electrician, make a "common sense" repair or should all repairs be code compliant? In many municipalities, this kind of repair must be done with appropriate permits obtained. So, then the decision falls on the the code enforcement officer.
    And this leads me to a curiosity question. Gillette is a small market area. Do you ever find yourself doing the electrical repairs that you find during a home inspection?
    And finally, since I am on a roll with the questions, as a home inspector, if you were to open a panel with a "common sense" functionality, but not code compliant, what wouldyour comments or recommendations be?


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    but do you want to stick your neck out on a recommendation that falls short of "code compliance"?

    I did this all the time as an electrical code compliance inspector. There's pure code compliance and there is a safe installation.

    What constitutes an adequate remedy?


    What ever the AHJ will accept.

    should all repairs be code compliant?

    As close as possible to ensure electrical safety. What does strapping your conduit at 10' 1/2" instead of 10' have to do with electrical safety?

    Gillette is a small market area.

    What's your point?

    Do you ever find yourself doing the electrical repairs that you find during a home inspection?

    No-it's not ethical. You should know this by now..

    if you were to open a panel with a "common sense" functionality, but not code compliant, what wouldyour comments or recommendations be?

    Everything is specific to the installation. Vague question = no answer


    Oklahoma State law requires a Home Inspector to inspect the service entrance conductors and the make note of the type as well as the branch circuits. You have to take the panel cover off to do this. The manufacturer requires the panel to be de-energized to do this. How many out there de-energize the panel? Or do you violate the manufacturers instructions, UL listing and ultimately the NEC and remove it energized?

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    I did this all the time as an electrical code compliance inspector. There's pure code compliance and there is a safe installation.

    Well, duh....you were the code compliance inspector, so what else would you do, but your second sentence has me wondering if you distinguished between what you considered pure code compliance and what you deemed safe installation?

    should all repairs be code compliant?

    As close as possible to ensure electrical safety. What does strapping your conduit at 10' 1/2" instead of 10' have to do with electrical safety?

    Didn't you answer that with "What ever the AHJ will accept." (my answer agrees with your inferred point)

    Gillette is a small market area.

    What's your point?


    Goes with below question.

    Do you ever find yourself doing the electrical repairs that you find during a home inspection?

    No-it's not ethical. You should know this by now..

    Gosh durn it....sure glad you cleared that up........But having gotten in my in-kind shot, I'll expand on my question. In the remote rural areas of Colorado, many inspections are done by local tradesmen who are frequently the best qualified tradesperson available to do repairs. I was just wondering if it might be similar in your area. I have never done any repairs on any of my inspections either for the same reason you mentioned. But as we put together a HI licensing law here in Colorado, this is one of questions that has come up.

    if you were to open a panel with a "common sense" functionality, but not code compliant, what wouldyour comments or recommendations be?

    Everything is specific to the installation. Vague question = no answer

    Your "no answer" is answer. Frankly, it's not an answer that I disagree with, but does point at one of the issues in this business. Is it our role to note every code violation even if minor and not a common sense violation? (such as your strapping conduit comment) My position is no, but some here will disagree, even vehemently disagree.

    Oklahoma State law requires a Home Inspector to inspect the service entrance conductors and the make note of the type as well as the branch circuits. You have to take the panel cover off to do this. The manufacturer requires the panel to be de-energized to do this. How many out there de-energize the panel? Or do you violate the manufacturers instructions, UL listing and ultimately the NEC and remove it energized?

    Dunno about what those Sooner inspectors do, but I'd be more concerned with the SoP than the manufacturer's instructions which are frequently written by company attorneys for the protection of the company rather than any common sense instruction.

    I think common sense is important for a home inspector, but I also understand, that attorneys make livings off of folks who tried to use common sense in the decisions that they made.


  27. #27
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    Cool Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Jerry Peck answer was very good. There are to many mistakes, for a home
    inspector to write up. I would write is up as both electrical panels shall be inspected by a license electrician, and a electrician should be hired to correct
    all the wiring errors.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    FYI, In the state of Washington a HI can not work on a home for 1 year, nor any company that is affiliated with the HI.

    I rarely see sub panels wired correctly. In fact when I do I am almost amazed.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Just a newbie, but I just had to stare in amazement in how messed up that sub-panel is....wow.
    Nick, thanks for posting the pics.
    I count 8 unique problems...


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Feed From Service Panel to Sub Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post

    Oklahoma State law requires a Home Inspector to inspect the service entrance conductors and the make note of the type as well as the branch circuits. You have to take the panel cover off to do this. The manufacturer requires the panel to be de-energized to do this. How many out there de-energize the panel? Or do you violate the manufacturers instructions, UL listing and ultimately the NEC and remove it energized?
    Can someone provide a link to where the manufacturer requires that the power needs to be shut down before the panel cover is removed? Is this a requirement of all manufacturers?

    If it is, It can create a problem for local HI Boards. We need to have further discussions with our state Board of Home Inspectors. They will either have to modifiy SOP's or incorporate safety training for home inspectors.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

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