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  1. #1
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    Default Service or Distribution panel?

    FPE sub-panels (you didn't think I'd gone all the way did you Jerry) are installed in condos, as far as I know over 52 of them. They are listed as suitable for use as service equipment when protected with main breaker and have diagrams with and without the main breaker. I assume they are trying to indicate it is also suitable as a distribution panel. There is no grounding buss so all the ground wires are stuffed in one lug connection and bolted to the panel along with the ground lug (see pic). The question is, do I have more than the standard FPE blurb to give for reason to have the panel changed?

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    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Service or Distribution panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    The FPE issues aside these are not services.
    Does that mean the panel is incorrectly being used as a distribution panel?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Service or Distribution panel?

    To the best of my knowledge, "suitable for use as service equipment" means it can ALSO be used as service equipment, not that it should only be used as service equipment.

    As you noticed, the installer did not provide a grounding terminal. That would have been purchased separately (remember batteries not included? Well...) Pretty common back then. Just use a split bolt or large terminal and stuff all of the grounds (if any) under a single lug.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Service or Distribution panel?

    Equipment grounding for the small branch circuits is by way of conduit, is it not?

    If that neutral bus on the left is floating, then the panel is correctly installed, and you have only standard FPE issues to report. But I can't tell from these 2 pics.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Service or Distribution panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Equipment grounding for the small branch circuits is by way of conduit, is it not?

    If that neutral bus on the left is floating, then the panel is correctly installed, and you have only standard FPE issues to report. But I can't tell from these 2 pics.
    The only place we see conduit is in commercial in this area John.

    I guess the panel was installed correctly for the time period. I was hoping to give extra ammo for replacement.

    Thanks all.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2007
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    Plano, Texas
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    Default Re: Service or Distribution panel?

    How about pointing out the paint overspray on the electrical bus bar?
    That is as good a reason as any. It is a violation of the NEC & IRC .


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Service or Distribution panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Burnett View Post
    How about pointing out the paint overspray on the electrical bus bar?
    That is as good a reason as any. It is a violation of the NEC & IRC .
    Good point, but I fear the hand full of paint specks would diminish the sincerity of the FPE argument. Report is done now and I doubt I will hear anything about it.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  8. #8
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Service or Distribution panel?

    Vern,
    You appear to feel strongly that it should be replaced. Whether it be for the standard FPE stuff or for other observations, you should list what you observe and make a recommendation. Why did you feel a need for more "ammo"?


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Service or Distribution panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    Vern,
    You appear to feel strongly that it should be replaced. Whether it be for the standard FPE stuff or for other observations, you should list what you observe and make a recommendation. Why did you feel a need for more "ammo"?
    Being a fairly large condo complex the FPE argument, as strong as it is, will likely fall on deaf ears. Report what I observed is exactly what I did. My request of this board was to make sure I reported everything. Requesting a panel be replaced due to a few paint specs would only have me labeled a nit picker with an ax to grind.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  10. #10
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
    Darrel Hood Guest

    Default Re: Service or Distribution panel?

    Vern,
    I agree with your statement about the paint specks. I was referring to the FPE issues.
    By the way one of my clients on a maintenance contract is a condominium community with 94 Stab Lok panels. Certainly I have identified the issues with the panels, and their property managers and board members have not decided to take action. I have to be comfortable with the fact I have done all I can.

    As an inspector, whether it's one FPE panel on a home, or 94 panels in a community, my power is limited to identifying the problem and making the recommendation. Other than that . . . "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change."


  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Service or Distribution panel?

    Vern,

    What I used to do was report all that I saw, call for replacement of the panel because it was an FPE (or Zinsco) panel, and for an electrical to make sure that the installation of the new panel meets code.

    Sometimes, the electrician would not be familiar with the problems with FPE panels and would simply correct the incorrect items; however, most of the time the electricians would state that they cannot correct the items in the FPE as that would make them liable for any resulting fire, damage, shock, etc., caused by them leaving the FPE panel - they would HAVE to replace the FPE panel with a safer and modern panel.

    Either way, there was nothing that I (as a home inspector) could 'require anyone to do', all you can do as a home inspector is report what *needs to be, and should be, done*.

    It is then up to your client to either insist that the seller replace the panel or that the client replace the panel after closing at their expense ... or for the client to shrug their shoulders and say they won't worry about it, now or when they go to sell and the FPE panel issue comes up again with them as the seller.

    A couple of times, not many, maybe 2 times, the electricians would convince the condo association board that ALL of the FPE panels in the entire complex needed to be replaced so as to help mitigate the damage to the condo building (the condo association owns the building) and the common areas (the condo association owns the common areas too) which would result from a fire in an individual condo unit (the condo association is not responsible for the interior of any individual unit, but when has the damages from a condo fire ever been confined to only an individual unit?).

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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Utah
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    112

    Default Re: Service or Distribution panel?

    This panel is obsolete. At the very least, a ground bar should be added. This would eliminate combining the existing ground leads into a single lug. Several of the circuits in this view, do not include a ground conductor. 13 circuits are visible, with four visible ground conductors. This panel may be grandfathered, but still presents a shock hazard for the occupants.


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