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  1. #1
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    Default Electricians Terminology

    An electrician did some work in the service panel of a house I inspected back in November. My client sent me an e-mail he received from the electrician that stated they found 4-5 double taps in the panel which pose a major fire hazard and said the inspector should have found them. The end result is the electrician installed a subpanel to the tune of $695.00.

    The client obviously was not happy and wanted to know how I could have missed these defects. I reviewed my picture file from the inspection and the pics I have of the panel do not show even one double tapped breaker or any that look close to a double tap. So I called the electrician and he said that while it was one of his techs that did the job, he knows there were double taps. I asked where these double taps were but he couldn't specify the breaker locations and is pretty sure they were present. Then he told me the spliced connections at the top of the panel box interior were double taps. OK.......so he's calling spliced connections double taps, saying they are a fire hazard, and that you can't have any splices inside a service panel box. I debated his definition of a double tap, said those wire nutted connections are splices, and do not pose a fire hazard as long as the wires are properly sized for the breaker and the number of wires in the wire nuts do not exceed the capacity of the nut. He said there are a couple ways of looking at it. Huh ?????????? I also said everything I have learned is that spliced connections are allowable inside the panel but he said no, no splices at all and they are against code. I asked him if I look in the NEC will I see that and he said yes.

    So now I have to try and explain to the client that double taps did not exist and that the electrician's terminology/assessment is incorrect. His e-mail to my clients likely has them believing I put them at risk of burning up.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Then he told me the spliced connections at the top of the panel box interior were double taps. OK.......so he's calling spliced connections double taps, ...
    A "splice" is where a conductor is added to and lengthened, with the connection between the conductor sections being the "splice".
    - This "_._" has "." as the "splice" point between the one "_" conductor and the other "_" conductor which makes the conductor longer.

    A "tap" is where a conductor has another conductor added to it, resulting in two (or more) conductors continuing on.
    - This "_.=" has "." as the "tap" point between the "_" conductor and the other two "=" conductors which go to different places (otherwise the "=" would represent parallel conductors and that would create another issue).

    ... saying they are a fire hazard, ...
    If the "splice" or the "tap" is made with a listed connector and used in accordance with its listing, there would not be any fire hazard any greater than if there were no splice or tap.

    Now, if the tap was made with a connection which was not listed for that purpose, that is something the electrician would need to correct but is not something you would know unless you were to dig into the connection and determine what is was listed for and that is beyond what a home inspection is for.

    ... and that you can't have any splices inside a service panel box.
    Tell that electrician that he needs to go back to school and read the code, ask when was the last time he looked that up - that it is quite obvious that it was NOT before he spoke those words, otherwise he would not have said them.

    From the 2011 NEC: (bold and underlining are mine)
    - 312.8 Switch and Overcurrent Device Enclosures with Splices, Taps, and Feed-Through Conductors. The wiring space of enclosures for switches or overcurrent devices shall be permitted for conductors feeding through, spliced, or tapping off to other enclosures, switches, or overcurrent device where all of the following conditions are met:
    - - (1) The total of all conductors install at any cross section does not exceed 40 percent of the cross-sectional area of the space.
    - - (2) The total area of all conductors, splices, and taps installed at any cross section of the wiring space does not exceed 75 percent of the cross-sectional area of that space.
    - - (3) A warning label is applied to the enclosure that identifies the closest disconnecting means for any feed-through conductors.

    That kinda blows what he is saying out of the water, doesn't it?

    So now I have to try and explain to the client that double taps did not exist and that the electrician's terminology/assessment is incorrect. His e-mail to my clients likely has them believing I put them at risk of burning up.
    Tell your client that the electrician needs to go back and read the code book, that the above is from the 2011 NEC, that the 2008, 2005, etc. versions had slightly different wording but that each addressed splices and taps in panels and put strict limitations on the but did not fully prohibit them (close to fully prohibiting them in past editions with regard to the 'passing through' part, but one was still allowed to have taps and splices in the enclosure if they terminated within the enclosure - Bill and I have had long debates about this in the past, which is why I posted the 2011 wording - it specially permits them ... with strict limitations ).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Unless there is a local amendment the NEC allows the splices as Jerry has posted. Also some breakers do allow for a double tap so that could also take some wind out of his sails.

    Post the pics you took of the panel and let us see who was correct.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Here ya go.





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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Nick,

    The questionable thing I see regarding taps or splices is one, possibly two, taps of branch circuit neutrals where there are three white neutrals in a single wire nut.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Gotcha Jerry. But if the wire nut is rated to handle up to three conductors, the conductors are not oversized for the wire nut, and the conductors are not undersized for the breaker, I don't see how he is calling this a major fire hazard. Now all that said, I can't say with any certainty that the wire nut is or is not of the proper size. But like you said, that would require digging into the connection, determining listings, etc. Am I off base on this?

    So technically, these splices can be called double taps or even triple taps depending on the number of conductors in the splice, correct?

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Probably not relevant, but why was the sparky on site?

    The panel in the photo looks like the stereotypical install for a 10 year old, 4 BR home.

    Dom.


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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    The electrician could be referring to the possibility that the loadcenter could be rated as a 30/40 and there are currently 42 circuits installed. Just a possibility.


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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Throw the electrician under the bus! Tell and show your client the photos that prove no double taps and then let your client know that a "helper" not the licensed electrician is the one that did the unnecessary work.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Richter View Post
    The electrician could be referring to the possibility that the loadcenter could be rated as a 30/40 and there are currently 42 circuits installed. Just a possibility.
    Brad is on the right track. Here is what happened. My clients moved in and said they started experiencing problems with breakers tripping at abnormal rate. The electrician got the service call and said the panel was overloaded. This part I am not necessarily questioning as the tripping of breakers points towards a possible overload of the circuits. But I don't know which rooms or areas of the house were affected nor do I know what the clients had plugged in or were using in the affected rooms. Either way, the clients were having a usability issue that needed to be addressed. I have told my client I would like to come back to the house and look at his panel and subpanel install. I'll need to take a look at the service panel schematic and see if it states anything regarding the number of circuits or twin breakers.

    What I need to determine now is do I feel that I am $695.00 wrong on this and foot the bill for the subpanel install. Part of me says maybe but most of me says this is a load calculation issue that is beyond what we do as part of a home inspection.

    Thoughts?

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Beyond the scope of a home inspection to to a load test or to operate a bunch of electronics and appliances you don't own.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Gotcha Jerry. But if the wire nut is rated to handle up to three conductors, the conductors are not oversized for the wire nut, and the conductors are not undersized for the breaker, I don't see how he is calling this a major fire hazard. Now all that said, I can't say with any certainty that the wire nut is or is not of the proper size. But like you said, that would require digging into the connection, determining listings, etc. Am I off base on this?
    Nope - you are safe at home, electrician had no right to try to block your path and deserves to have dropped the ball when you slid through him.

    technically, these splices can be called double taps or even triple taps depending on the number of conductors in the splice, correct?
    I would call them taps (plural).

    The potential problem is that they are neutrals, not hots.

    I don't see the fire hazard either.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    I would call them splices, no different than a splice in a junction box.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I would call them splices, no different than a splice in a junction box.
    Okay, then what is a tap and how is it different than a splice?

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Here ya go.




    The electrician has no clue what hes talking about, splices are allowed in panels as long as the wire nut is listed and has the correct number of wires as per packaging. You should've quipped back "I can only imagine how many j boxes you put over a panel when you do a panel change and the wires come up to short". Every wire nut that is allowed in say a junction box or outlet box can go in a panel. I would let the electrician know he is wrong on that; and always ask for a code article reference. Always. So many people in the electrical industry say its code but have no clue where to find it.



    Now, on to the panel. I see several things of concern. One, there are multiple neutrals under one screw on the neutral bar. I also see ground and neutrals under one screw. You can have 2 grounds of the same size under one screw as long as the panel is listed for it and most panels are. However all the neutrals and other ground scenarios require each there separate screw.


    Second, the panel panel has 42 circuits in it and it might be listed for 40. This however is not a fire hazard. Thousands of panels exist with this type of "technical" violation and often the same panels in Canada get all tandems giving 60 circuits since its allowed by code there. While before the 2008 NEC a panel could not have more than 42 circuits in it, its ok today, and if the panel is listed only for 40 but has more its nothing more than a technical violation. In this case it looks like someone added a few too extra tandems. I wouldn't loose sleep over it.


    Now, third, the wire nuts. Depending on how many breakers protect the neutrals going into the wire nuts will determine if its safe or not. From the picture its hard to tell, but I do see 4 cases where 3 neutrals going into one wire nut and a 4th coming out and down into the neutral/ground bar. This is ok as long as those the neutrals come from cables protected by the same breaker. I also see about 3 cases where 2 neutrals go in and out of a wire nut. They all appear to be the right guage, ie 14 to 14 and 12 to 12 so that is 100% safe and code compliant. I also see a ground wire and a neutral under one wire nut, that is a quick fix to, the ground just needs a seperate wire nut and wire extension to the neutral/ground buss.

    Now, going back to the 4 neutrals under a wire nut. If those 3 neutrals are fed from the same breaker, guess what, that is also 100% safe and code compliant. However, if those 3 neutrals all come from circuits where the hots come from different breakers that is a fire hazard. Since 3 15 amp circuits could put 30 (or even 45 amps if those 3 breakers are all on the same phase) on that neutral coming out of where the 3 neutrals join. If that is the case then there was a potential fire hazard there that you missed....


    >>>>>>> HOWEVER!!!!!!! That can be fixed in literally 15 minutes without a sub panel if those 3 neutrals do come from different breakers. If not no need to touch anything. All one would need is some 14 and 12 guage and a few extra wire nuts if a fix was needed. The neutral/ground bar can get cleaned up as well to eliminate the double lugging. All would take 35 minutes by an electrican tops.


    To sum it up, you may or may not have missed a fire hazard, however the electrician is a total rip off. The electrician scammed the customer either out of ignorance or greed. I would give him a piece of my mind. There was absolutely no need for a sub panel to fix something that is one part legal 1 part fixable in 5 minutes if not done right.

    Hope this clears things up


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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    I don't see 42 circuits, I see 37.
    32 single pole 120v and 5 double pole 240v.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I don't see 42 circuits, I see 37.
    32 single pole 120v and 5 double pole 240v.
    But there are 42 breakers!

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    But there are 42 breakers!
    I counted 37, but I sometimes have trouble with those double digit numbers.

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

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I counted 37, but I sometimes have trouble with those double digit numbers.
    You counted the doubles as one, the other guys counted them as two. Technically they are single circuits, but the wording is not clear to me either. Who's right?

    The electrician was wrong on several counts, but the client now has a sub(marine) panel with less crowding and hopefully the one splice on the neutrals is corrected. The client is better off, not ripped off. But he can forget about accusing the inspector of negligence. Suck it up and move on with a safer installation.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    You counted the doubles as one, the other guys counted them as two. Technically they are single circuits, ....
    That's what I was saying.
    A double pole circuit is still just one circuit.
    37

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    You counted the doubles as one, the other guys counted them as two. Technically they are single circuits, but the wording is not clear to me either. Who's right?
    Both.

    The label stating 42 is referring to the maximum number permitted for that panel with the permitted breaker configuration.

    If all of the breakers were double pole then only half of the allowed number of circuits could be installed.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Both.

    The label stating 42 is referring to the maximum number permitted for that panel with the permitted breaker configuration.

    If all of the breakers were double pole then only half of the allowed number of circuits could be installed.
    So your saying, for each double pole circuit installed, the number of allowable circuits is reduced by one?

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

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    So your saying, for each double pole circuit installed, the number of allowable circuits is reduced by one?
    The number of allowed circuits remains the same, however, the number of circuits which can now be installed (without installing breakers which are not allowed or installed where not allowed) is reduced by one for each double pole breaker for a 240 volt circuit.

    That is because the double pole breaker physically takes up one extra breaker space.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    I have a question. Isn't the CTL panel design suppost to prevent installing too many breakers?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    I have a question. Isn't the CTL panel design suppost to prevent installing too many breakers?
    Supposed to ... yes, but never underestimate the ability of stupid people to do stupid things, or that of people who just don't know, or even of people who may know but need just one more space ...

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    A double pole counts as two breakers in the code counting method.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    A double pole counts as two breakers in the code counting method.
    But only one circuit.

    Unless it is a multiwire circuit, then the double pole breaker counts as two circuits.

    The mix-up by some is that the panel listing is for the maximum number of circuits, not the number of breakers, and a double pole breaker for a 240 circuit is two breakers but one circuit.

    The panel label is only stating the "maximum" number of allowed circuits (such as one would get from having each breaker be a circuit). The label is not even attempting to try to address how many different combinations of breakers and circuits which "could" be in the panel.

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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    I have a question. Isn't the CTL panel design suppost to prevent installing too many breakers?
    It is, however on could it ether cut off the rejection tabs on the breaker or the panel (really unsafe); or use a non ctl type tandem breaker which is intended for in older panels where tandems are allowed in designated slots. In truth the non rejection tandems 98% of the time end up in slots where they shouldn't. The "non CTL replacement use only tandems" listing is really a loop hole that means they can be out in any panel without rejection taking place. A technical violation? yes. Dangerous? Not really, and certainly not if the breaker and panel brand match up, in this case they do.










    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    But only one circuit.

    Unless it is a multiwire circuit, then the double pole breaker counts as two circuits.

    The mix-up by some is that the panel listing is for the maximum number of circuits, not the number of breakers, and a double pole breaker for a 240 circuit is two breakers but one circuit.

    The panel label is only stating the "maximum" number of allowed circuits (such as one would get from having each breaker be a circuit). The label is not even attempting to try to address how many different combinations of breakers and circuits which "could" be in the panel.
    Well said

    Usually panel makers list there panels in spaces and circuits. For example a common one is 32/40. Usually that means 32 spaces are present, however, no more than 40 circuits (poles) can be present inside. Double poles usually bing in at 2 circuits, which like you mention a MWBC counts as 2 circuits.


    On most panels the directory will say where tandems are allowed.

    @ the OP, Do you have a pic of the circuit directory?


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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Nick, this is mildly off topic but do your clients generally join you at the inspection? You had a
    recent post of someone giving you a negative Google review. There seems to be some basic disconnect between you and your clients. Once again a client has not contacted you directly about a problem with the inspection.

    I find that having my client with me following me around creates some kind of bond that I am not a robot but a human being doing the best I can for them and this has helped me escape negativity. To each his own but it is an intangible that some HIs might miss. Just asking.

    Mike Lamb
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Okay, then what is a tap and how is it different than a splice?
    I tend to think of the tap rules definition vs a splice. I think it is the way you learned or the local terminology.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lamb View Post
    Nick, this is mildly off topic but do your clients generally join you at the inspection? You had a
    recent post of someone giving you a negative Google review. There seems to be some basic disconnect between you and your clients. Once again a client has not contacted you directly about a problem with the inspection.

    I find that having my client with me following me around creates some kind of bond that I am not a robot but a human being doing the best I can for them and this has helped me escape negativity. To each his own but it is an intangible that some HIs might miss. Just asking.
    Yes Mike, my clients are 99% of the time present at my inspections. This was the 3rd inspection I did for these clients and they went from being on top of me at the first one to stepping back and just letting me do my thing by the 3rd one. And I hardly think anybody could call me robotic or disconnected from my clients. We talk about our kids, favorite sports teams, and joke a bit. I bring my buyers up to speed on anything they may have missed multiple times throughout the inspection when they step away so they are not in the dark. I don't know how having them with me every minute of the inspection would have stopped the issue they had of tripping breakers. That would have happened whether they were with me or not. And the fact that they didn't contact me as soon breakers started tripping indicates to me they were not looking to blame me. Conversely, I think if you are hearing from your clients as soon as they experience something unexpected in their new house, they might be putting your in their crosshairs. I have my doubts I ever would have found out about this tripping breaker issue if the electrician hadn't placed direct blame on me. It's hard to avoid negativity in this situation when the electrician erroneously tells the client I missed a major fire hazard that didn't even exist. Not sure how you're finding some correlation between the this scenario and the other one. A little confusing.

    Last edited by Nick Ostrowski; 02-06-2014 at 06:26 AM.
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I would call them splices, no different than a splice in a junction box.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Okay, then what is a tap and how is it different than a splice?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I tend to think of the tap rules definition vs a splice. I think it is the way you learned or the local terminology.
    Same here, and taps are different than splices, which is why I was confused when you said no different than when in a junction box because, while we always said "splice those together" they were actually taps off the main branch circuit conductors going to different locations instead of running a single wire from the panel to the first junction box, to the next junction box, to the next ... etc. Instead the main branch circuit wire is brought in and then tapped off to run to the different outlets in a more efficient use of wire that would have been.

    However, that said ... there are specific "tap rules" but no definition of what a "tap" is or what a "splice" is. Even with "taps" run in accordance with the tap rules ... "splice those wires together and run them out to that box". So they are splices?

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    NEC--Tap Conductors. As used in this article, a tap conductor is defined as a conductor, other than a service conductor, that has overcurrent protection ahead of its point of supply that exceeds the value permitted for similar conductors that are protected as described elsewhere in 240.4.

    There is a difference between tap conductors and the broader category of spliced conductors.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Yes Mike, my clients are 99% of the time present at my inspections...
    OK. Just wondering.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    NEC--Tap Conductors. As used in this article, a tap conductor is defined as a conductor, other than a service conductor, that has overcurrent protection ahead of its point of supply that exceeds the value permitted for similar conductors that are protected as described elsewhere in 240.4.

    There is a difference between tap conductors and the broader category of spliced conductors.
    Not totally correct ... you may have glossed over the key wording in there: "As used in THIS article ... "

    That is applicable only to THAT article.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Not totally correct ... you may have glossed over the key wording in there: "As used in THIS article ... "

    That is applicable only to THAT article.

    Really, apparently you read past the part where the article covers overcurrent protection for "all" conductors. Tap is a subset of a splice and is used specifically in the NEC. Splice is used in general. I am not saying you are generally wrong, just specifically wrong.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    IMO this stuff is well beyond our scope. In situations like this as a show of good faith I might offer to refund the fee for the inspection just to help. A lot depends on the people's attitude. If they come out with guns blazing playing the blame game I'm a lot less willing to contribute.


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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    IMO this stuff is well beyond our scope. In situations like this as a show of good faith I might offer to refund the fee for the inspection just to help. A lot depends on the people's attitude. If they come out with guns blazing playing the blame game I'm a lot less willing to contribute.
    That's where I'm a little unsure which way I want to go with this. I'm going to the house on Saturday morning to see things in person and talk face-to-face with the client. They obviously had a problem with overloading of circuits but I don't know in which areas of the house and what they had plugged in. And a load calculation and more digging in the panel would have been required to determine this which is well beyond our scope. But......the electrician says I missed major fire hazards and now I look like the incompetent one. I guess I'll have to see how my visit to the house goes and decide from there.

    I've always said that all you need is to have the client let the right "wrong" person in their house and get the client's ear for your inspection fee or more go right out the window.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    Really, apparently you read past the part where the article covers overcurrent protection for "all" conductors.
    I didn't read past that part, but you seem to be trying to say that, because that article is for "overcurrent protection" and that because "overcurrent protection" applies to ALL conductors, and because "taps" are included in that article, that the use of the term "taps" therefore applies to ALL of the rest of the code, yet that article specifically and clearly states that - for that article - and then addresses "taps" FOR THAT article.

    Tap is a subset of a splice and is used specifically in the NEC. Splice is used in general. I am not saying you are generally wrong, just specifically wrong.
    Not by the definition of "tap conductors" IN THAT article which states that the definition as used in THAT article ...
    - Tap Conductors. As used in this article, a tap conductor is defined as a conductor, other than a service conductor, that has overcurrent protection ahead of its point of supply that exceeds the value permitted for similar conductors that are protected as described elsewhere in 240.4.

    I'm not saying that you are wrong in a general aspect, only specifically that you are wrong in this aspect.

    Read that definition and give an example of a tap. I will then give an example of a tap, by definition, that you will not agree with ... until you consider the actual wording of the definition, at which time will - should - agree with my example (based solely on the definition).

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    I feel for you Nick. It is very hard to prove what was wrong after it has been fixed. I am 99% sure that if the circuit breakers had been reseated on the buss and all of the connections tightened, the problem would have gone away without the sub panel.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    That's where I'm a little unsure which way I want to go with this. I'm going to the house on Saturday morning to see things in person and talk face-to-face with the client. They obviously had a problem with overloading of circuits but I don't know in which areas of the house and what they had plugged in. And a load calculation and more digging in the panel would have been required to determine this which is well beyond our scope. But......the electrician says I missed major fire hazards and now I look like the incompetent one. I guess I'll have to see how my visit to the house goes and decide from there.

    I've always said that all you need is to have the client let the right "wrong" person in their house and get the client's ear for your inspection fee or more go right out the window.
    Sounds like a good call. Explain what you know and dont be afraid to be honest.

    The overloading of the circuits is not your fault. How big is the house? Assuming its 2000 sqft, and (I see) at least 32 120 volt circuits in addition to the 240 volt ones which is more than enough circuits for a house like that. I frequently see new houses with literally half those circuits at 2000 sqft and its code compliant. As long as the VA per foot is met and the required dedicated circuits are in place its code compliant.

    If curious new dwellings are roughly calculated at about 3 VA per foot. So a 2000 sq foot house needs about 6000va for lights and general use outlets. That can be met via 4 15 amp circuits or 3 20 amp circuits; plus the required dedicated ones (SABC for the kitchen, washer, A/C ect) That would come to around 14 circuits total. Pushing the limit yes, but its up to code.

    Unless the house is a 10,000sqft mansion the client is either tripping circuits from extensive power needs or hidden poor electrical workmanship during construction. It certainly is possible if the original electrician did not distribute the loads correctly (puts nearly all lights and plugs on 2 breakers the rest just lead to capped off in j boxes or go to single outlets) Or, from the looks of it doubled up on circuits that should have been on separate breakers, but even a first glance its impossible to say just what is on those doubled up circuits, it might be 2 outlets and a 60 watt bulb or it could be half the house... there is just no way to find out during a home inspection. Judging from the incredibly poor workmanship of the main panel (which looks original) it would not surprise me at all if the house is bursting at the seems with electrical defects hidden in the walls and boxes. All which are out of your control. I would remind the client that there is no way of seeing whats behind walls nor is the scope of a home inspector to map out the individual circuits of the house.


    Being honest as I am, about the only thing you missed as a safety hazard is that there might be circuits coming from different breakers jointing into a single undersized neutral in the panel.
    But that is your only mistake. The rest is well out of the scope of a home inspection.

    IMO, the real person at fault here is the original electrician. The panel lacks workmanship and Id be worried what else is going on. I dont understand how a professional electrician could mess up cutting wire the right length or not knowing in advance to put in a larger panel or a sub panel if really need be. I would certainly advise the client to contact the builder about the issue. If I moved into a house with a panel like that and found out the original electrician did that I would certainly go after the builder like no tomorrow to pay the repair bill.


    The electrician like I said could have been more polite about the issue, but again thats out of your control.

    My point is dont sweat it. Admit that you did goof but know that others were the one who actually screwed this up, not you.

    The client might under stand they might no. Certainly let them know about the builder and your thoughts and see where it goes.

    Good luck


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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbrooke View Post
    Sounds like a good call. Explain what you know and dont be afraid to be honest.

    The overloading of the circuits is not your fault. How big is the house? Assuming its 2000 sqft, and (I see) at least 32 120 volt circuits in addition to the 240 volt ones which is more than enough circuits for a house like that. I frequently see new houses with literally half those circuits at 2000 sqft and its code compliant. As long as the VA per foot is met and the required dedicated circuits are in place its code compliant.

    If curious new dwellings are roughly calculated at about 3 VA per foot. So a 2000 sq foot house needs about 6000va for lights and general use outlets. That can be met via 4 15 amp circuits or 3 20 amp circuits; plus the required dedicated ones (SABC for the kitchen, washer, A/C ect) That would come to around 14 circuits total. Pushing the limit yes, but its up to code.

    Unless the house is a 10,000sqft mansion the client is either tripping circuits from extensive power needs or hidden poor electrical workmanship during construction. It certainly is possible if the original electrician did not distribute the loads correctly (puts nearly all lights and plugs on 2 breakers the rest just lead to capped off in j boxes or go to single outlets) Or, from the looks of it doubled up on circuits that should have been on separate breakers, but even a first glance its impossible to say just what is on those doubled up circuits, it might be 2 outlets and a 60 watt bulb or it could be half the house... there is just no way to find out during a home inspection. Judging from the incredibly poor workmanship of the main panel (which looks original) it would not surprise me at all if the house is bursting at the seems with electrical defects hidden in the walls and boxes. All which are out of your control. I would remind the client that there is no way of seeing whats behind walls nor is the scope of a home inspector to map out the individual circuits of the house.


    Being honest as I am, about the only thing you missed as a safety hazard is that there might be circuits coming from different breakers jointing into a single undersized neutral in the panel.
    But that is your only mistake. The rest is well out of the scope of a home inspection.

    IMO, the real person at fault here is the original electrician. The panel lacks workmanship and Id be worried what else is going on. I dont understand how a professional electrician could mess up cutting wire the right length or not knowing in advance to put in a larger panel or a sub panel if really need be. I would certainly advise the client to contact the builder about the issue. If I moved into a house with a panel like that and found out the original electrician did that I would certainly go after the builder like no tomorrow to pay the repair bill.


    The electrician like I said could have been more polite about the issue, but again thats out of your control.

    My point is dont sweat it. Admit that you did goof but know that others were the one who actually screwed this up, not you.

    The client might under stand they might no. Certainly let them know about the builder and your thoughts and see where it goes.

    Good luck
    Thanks but......I'm really not sure what goof-up I would be admitting to. There were no double taps in the panel as alleged which the electrician called fire hazards. I didn't see them, the electrician didn't seem them, nobody here can see them. He said there were 5. If there were 5, we shouldn't have a problem seeing at least 1 of them. Then the electrician is calling spliced connections double taps and says it is against code to have splices inside a service panel. His terminology is misleading and unless there is a local code amendment disallowing splices in a service panel for that township, he doesn't understand the electric code.

    I'll be interested in seeing what the electrician's service tech's work looks like tomorrow.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Article 240 allows and refers to the use of "tap" in reference to conductors in other articles. It is not exclusive to article 240 only specific to 240. The term is not as narrowly used in other articles. Splicing can be used to originate a tap or not. You are still specifically wrong in using the term to include every wired nutted splice in a panel. It may or may not also be a tap depending on the circuit conductors and overcurrent device used.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Thanks but......I'm really not sure what goof-up I would be admitting to. There were no double taps in the panel as alleged which the electrician called fire hazards. I didn't see them, the electrician didn't seem them, nobody here can see them. He said there were 5. If there were 5, we shouldn't have a problem seeing at least 1 of them. Then the electrician is calling spliced connections double taps and says it is against code to have splices inside a service panel. His terminology is misleading and unless there is a local code amendment disallowing splices in a service panel for that township, he doesn't understand the electric code.

    I'll be interested in seeing what the electrician's service tech's work looks like tomorrow.
    No problem


    You are correct, spliced connections are not double taps, even if multiple wires are under a wire nut. The electricians terminology is not correct. The splices themselves are not against code nor are they a fire hazard or an issue themselves. Unless its a local code amendment you can have wire nuts in a panel and is very frequently done by electricians when changing an older panel to a newer one and the wires do not reach all the way.


    I do however see 1, 2, or even 3 possible fire hazards from potential overloaded wires rather than the splices themselves. There is (what looks like) 3 cases where 2 neutrals from separate circuits join into one neutral. There is nothing wrong with that as long as both those neutrals are coming from circuits protected by the same breaker. If however they are coming from different breakers, one could see double the current flowing from where the 2 circuits join into one wire all the way through to the neutral bar. Its this piece of wire that now carries current from 2 circuits rather than one and can overheat. True, if those 2 circuits come from separate breakers on different phases the current will not add and its theoretically safe, however it impossible to tell from the picture if that is the case. (Even if to be proven they are on separate phases, you would then have a MWBC and the breakers would need handle ties if under the 2008 code.) Also just to point out, there might be a neutral wire jumping 2 of the wire nuts which is also of concern in terms of possible overload.

    I do see 3 or 4 neutral splices and 4 hot splice which are of no issue at all. All appear to be done right and are not of any concern.

    A smaller issue just to point out is multiple neutrals under the same screw on the ground bar. Not an immediate issue but over time these double taps or double luggings are more likely to become loose hence why the NEC forbids it.

    In case it helps I highlighted the areas of the panel that are of concern and those that are to code.

    BTW, if you can take a pic of the work the tech did. Im really curious what was done.


    Try this link for the pic:

    Cutlerhammerpanel120240_zps2c83cbef.jpg Photo by mbrooke22 | Photobucket rs[user]=139205121&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=0

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    You didn't do anything wrong. There was no need for a new panel. The minor things that were present could have been corrected in minutes. I would diplomatically tell them both to piss off. They are better off now, which is good, but no need for you to feel obligated to pay a dime.

    Jim Robinson
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Just got back from the clients' house. The subpanel looked fine. No issues with that

    Here is how the panel looked at the original home inspection:



    Here is how the panel looked today after the electrician's work was completed:



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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Just got back from the clients' house. The subpanel looked fine. No issues with that

    Here is how the panel looked at the original home inspection:



    Here is how the panel looked today after the electrician's work was completed:

    Looks better. He cleaned up the wire nuts which was good, but didn't fix the neutral bar. And Im not sure if GE AFCIs are listed to go into a cutler hammer panel. sighhh At least the major issue was resolved.

    Any pics of the sub itself?


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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    The subpanel looked fine. Neutral and grounds separated. Everything sized up and clean. Really nothing to see.




    The clients said what happened is they moved in just before Chistmas, were vacuuming in their family room on the 1st floor on Christmas Day, and the breaker tripped. They said the breakers tripped about 5-6 times during the first couple weeks in the house. They called the electrician who said your inspector really should have seen the problem and that the panel was way overloaded. At this point, I'm already sunk as a professional is telling them I screwed up and almost burned them up. It really didn't matter how I tried to explain things. The client was now of the opinion that I should have been able to just look at things and see that circuits were overloaded and he said as much. I advised before even opening the panel today that I received conflicting info from the electrician when we talked about splices inside the panel being against code and as luck would have it, I open the panel and there are all these splices which he said you can't have. The client didn't really care. All he knew was they were having breakers trip after being in the house for a couple days and the electrician said I should have seen the issue. I asked the clients if the sellers had disclosed anything regarding the electrical system and they said no. I am convinced the sellers had to know about this and probably worked around it by not plugging certain appliances in rooms where trips occurred. If just running a vacuum was doing this which I know is a higher draw appliance, the sellers had to know something.

    To wrap up, I told the clients I did not feel this was something I could have determined by looking at wire splices but offered to pay for the subpanel install ($625.00) regardless for the following reasons: they have used me 3 times now for home inspections, I don't like hearing they had this problem as soon as they moved in, just for good faith and them being loyal to me for their inspection needs, and the electrician had them convinced I screwed up. They were pleasant and not combative or cold in any way. They simply explained what happened and they accepted my offer to pay at the end of my time there. I also made it a point to let them know that the 4-5 double taps the electrician said I missed could not be identified by him in the pics I sent him nor was he able to tell me specifically where they were. But again, this really made no difference to them. I told them I know you're going to believe the electrician instead of me as he's the professional and he had you convinced I missed something and put your family at risk of burning up. But he had too many inconsistencies in his explanations to me to allow me to agree with him.

    - - - Updated - - -

    The subpanel looked fine. Neutral and grounds separated. Everything sized up and clean. Really nothing to see.




    The clients said what happened is they moved in just before Chistmas, were vacuuming in their family room on the 1st floor on Christmas Day, and the breaker tripped. They said the breakers tripped about 5-6 times during the first couple weeks in the house. They called the electrician who said your inspector really should have seen the problem and that the panel was way overloaded. At this point, I'm already sunk as a professional is telling them I screwed up and almost burned them up. It really didn't matter how I tried to explain things. The client was now of the opinion that I should have been able to just look at things and see that circuits were overloaded and he said as much. I advised before even opening the panel today that I received conflicting info from the electrician when we talked about splices inside the panel being against code and as luck would have it, I open the panel and there are all these splices which he said you can't have. The client didn't really care. All he knew was they were having breakers trip after being in the house for a couple days and the electrician said I should have seen the issue. I asked the clients if the sellers had disclosed anything regarding the electrical system and they said no. I am convinced the sellers had to know about this and probably worked around it by not plugging certain appliances in rooms where trips occurred. If just running a vacuum was doing this which I know is a higher draw appliance, the sellers had to know something.

    To wrap up, I told the clients I did not feel this was something I could have determined by looking at wire splices but offered to pay for the subpanel install ($625.00) regardless for the following reasons: they have used me 3 times now for home inspections, I don't like hearing they had this problem as soon as they moved in, just for good faith and them being loyal to me for their inspection needs, and the electrician had them convinced I screwed up. They were pleasant and not combative or cold in any way. They simply explained what happened and they accepted my offer to pay at the end of my time there. I also made it a point to let them know that the 4-5 double taps the electrician said I missed could not be identified by him in the pics I sent him nor was he able to tell me specifically where they were. But again, this really made no difference to them. I told them I know you're going to believe the electrician instead of me as he's the professional and he had you convinced I missed something and put your family at risk of burning up. But he had too many inconsistencies in his explanations to me to allow me to agree with him.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Sorry but I feel you both got taken. There is no way to predict the load on the circuit.

    The GE breakers should not be in the Cutler-Hammer panel

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    I agree with Jim.

    Also, the only real thing I see different in the photos is that he changed two breakers out - left side, top 3 breakers in each photo are full-size double pole breakers, previously there one tandem breaker of one type with 3 tandem breakers of another type below it.

    Now, though, the one tandem breaker of one type and the top tandem of the other type have been replaced with what looks to be 2 AFCI breakers of a different type.

    That means that 4 breakers have been combined into two breakers - which means that somewhere along the line the electrician moved some circuits around in the panel, and, if the electrician moved some breakers around in the panel he should have done a load calculation to determine that it was okay to combine two circuits together, otherwise they may wall get other breakers tripping.

    You also noticed the breakers laying in the bottom of the panel are no longer there - those extra breakers may have been there from the seller trying to figure out how to address the tripping breakers.

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    I feel like I was voluntarily robbed. Pretty bitter about having to write out a check to pay for this and have the electrician talk so irresponsibly about me. He had the sellers convinced all you need to do is look at the panel and splices to know circuits were overloaded. I could have walked on water but it would have made no difference to my clients.

    They changed one double pole breaker to a 100 amp feed to the subpanel and replaced two twin breakers with single pole full size breakers. Total circuits in the main panel went from 42 down to 40. Yes, the top of the panel is a little cleaner looking but I find the assertion that a visual inspection alone would tell you there are overloaded circuits to be completely unrealistic. The electrician had the benefit of coming in knowing my clients were having a problem with breakers tripping so he had a starting point. I had no such advantage.

    Is there any reference that states which breakers are compatible and allowable in a Cutler Hammer panel?

    Jerry, I see spare breakers at the bottom of service panel interiors on a regular basis so I can't say that really is an indicator of anything. But I do feel confident that the sellers knew there were overload issues and worked around them.

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    Nick,

    Now is the time you call your local building department and check for permits - replacing breakers technically calls for a permit in most places, installing the remote sub-fed panel always calls for a permit (except maybe in some remote localities where 'anything goes' and there are basically no inspections and no code.

    If he did not pull a permit then let the building department know and nail the electrician's butt to the wall. No permit means the electrician 'could have' created some real fire hazards in the work they did.

    It irks me when contractors bad mouth others, then don't pull permits as required and do poor work themselves, so they get no mercy. If they want to treat others with respect, they will get treated with respect.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    The allowable breakers will be listed on the label inside the panel.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    The subpanel looked fine. Neutral and grounds separated. Everything sized up and clean. Really nothing to see.




    The clients said what happened is they moved in just before Chistmas, were vacuuming in their family room on the 1st floor on Christmas Day, and the breaker tripped. They said the breakers tripped about 5-6 times during the first couple weeks in the house. They called the electrician who said your inspector really should have seen the problem and that the panel was way overloaded. At this point, I'm already sunk as a professional is telling them I screwed up and almost burned them up. It really didn't matter how I tried to explain things. The client was now of the opinion that I should have been able to just look at things and see that circuits were overloaded and he said as much. I advised before even opening the panel today that I received conflicting info from the electrician when we talked about splices inside the panel being against code and as luck would have it, I open the panel and there are all these splices which he said you can't have. The client didn't really care. All he knew was they were having breakers trip after being in the house for a couple days and the electrician said I should have seen the issue. I asked the clients if the sellers had disclosed anything regarding the electrical system and they said no. I am convinced the sellers had to know about this and probably worked around it by not plugging certain appliances in rooms where trips occurred. If just running a vacuum was doing this which I know is a higher draw appliance, the sellers had to know something.

    To wrap up, I told the clients I did not feel this was something I could have determined by looking at wire splices but offered to pay for the subpanel install ($625.00) regardless for the following reasons: they have used me 3 times now for home inspections, I don't like hearing they had this problem as soon as they moved in, just for good faith and them being loyal to me for their inspection needs, and the electrician had them convinced I screwed up. They were pleasant and not combative or cold in any way. They simply explained what happened and they accepted my offer to pay at the end of my time there. I also made it a point to let them know that the 4-5 double taps the electrician said I missed could not be identified by him in the pics I sent him nor was he able to tell me specifically where they were. But again, this really made no difference to them. I told them I know you're going to believe the electrician instead of me as he's the professional and he had you convinced I missed something and put your family at risk of burning up. But he had too many inconsistencies in his explanations to me to allow me to agree with him.

    - - - Updated - - -

    The subpanel looked fine. Neutral and grounds separated. Everything sized up and clean. Really nothing to see.




    The clients said what happened is they moved in just before Chistmas, were vacuuming in their family room on the 1st floor on Christmas Day, and the breaker tripped. They said the breakers tripped about 5-6 times during the first couple weeks in the house. They called the electrician who said your inspector really should have seen the problem and that the panel was way overloaded. At this point, I'm already sunk as a professional is telling them I screwed up and almost burned them up. It really didn't matter how I tried to explain things. The client was now of the opinion that I should have been able to just look at things and see that circuits were overloaded and he said as much. I advised before even opening the panel today that I received conflicting info from the electrician when we talked about splices inside the panel being against code and as luck would have it, I open the panel and there are all these splices which he said you can't have. The client didn't really care. All he knew was they were having breakers trip after being in the house for a couple days and the electrician said I should have seen the issue. I asked the clients if the sellers had disclosed anything regarding the electrical system and they said no. I am convinced the sellers had to know about this and probably worked around it by not plugging certain appliances in rooms where trips occurred. If just running a vacuum was doing this which I know is a higher draw appliance, the sellers had to know something.

    To wrap up, I told the clients I did not feel this was something I could have determined by looking at wire splices but offered to pay for the subpanel install ($625.00) regardless for the following reasons: they have used me 3 times now for home inspections, I don't like hearing they had this problem as soon as they moved in, just for good faith and them being loyal to me for their inspection needs, and the electrician had them convinced I screwed up. They were pleasant and not combative or cold in any way. They simply explained what happened and they accepted my offer to pay at the end of my time there. I also made it a point to let them know that the 4-5 double taps the electrician said I missed could not be identified by him in the pics I sent him nor was he able to tell me specifically where they were. But again, this really made no difference to them. I told them I know you're going to believe the electrician instead of me as he's the professional and he had you convinced I missed something and put your family at risk of burning up. But he had too many inconsistencies in his explanations to me to allow me to agree with him.
    Sub panel looks 100% fine. I hate to break it to you but this isnt an overload issue. The trips most likely were not occurring due to overload but rather from the AFCIs. AFCIs tripping on vacuum cleaners and televisions is known to every service electrician. A sub panel will not fix that, nor should the electrician be telling the client its an overload. Obviously the solution to the tripping AFCI was putting ones in that are not compliant for a cutler hammer panel, which is not to code. The electrician also failed to fix the double and triple taps on the neutral buss.

    The electrician is a rip off and not to a good one either. Obviously he took advantage of the fact AFCIs were tripping as an excuse to sell a sub panel. He then tells you one thing regarding the wire nuts then his technician does something else. Regardless it looks like he took advantage of the situation at both your and your clients expense.

    Even if you had called out the neutral buss and say the wire nuts, breakers would still have been tripping regardless.

    Sorry about the rant, but IMO an electrician should not be making up stuff as he goes along.


  55. #55
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Sub appears to have a MWBC connected to tandem breaker, center-left side.


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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Richter View Post
    Sub appears to have a MWBC connected to tandem breaker, center-left side.
    I agree. Also I would have removed the bond screw instead of leaving it in the hole. It does not appear to be fully installed so at least they may have gotten that correct.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  57. #57
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I agree. Also I would have removed the bond screw instead of leaving it in the hole. It does not appear to be fully installed so at least they may have gotten that correct.
    It did not appear to be fully seated so I didn't have anything to say about that.

    I had sent an e-mail to the electrician on Friday with the code verbiage about splices in panels and a reminder about what he told me that panels could have no splices. He replied but did not have any response about the splices. The info I have gotten from him vs. what I have seen in the panel and NEC is very inconsistent and confusing.

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

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Gotcha Jerry. But if the wire nut is rated to handle up to three conductors, the conductors are not oversized for the wire nut, and the conductors are not undersized for the breaker, I don't see how he is calling this a major fire hazard. Now all that said, I can't say with any certainty that the wire nut is or is not of the proper size. But like you said, that would require digging into the connection, determining listings, etc. Am I off base on this?

    So technically, these splices can be called double taps or even triple taps depending on the number of conductors in the splice, correct?
    I Live in Canada we don't allow wire nut splicing in a panel but as for the panel we call 2 wires on one breaker double tapping plus it looks like there 2 spare breakers there so why double tap that Electrican was only looking for work$$$$$. Challenge his call you have the photos.
    Good luck


  59. #59
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I would call them splices, no different than a splice in a junction box.
    Right on. It is tomato ~ tomatoe. Inturpretation of the "NEC" is the fodder of law smiths. The reality is that a splice is a splice. Some mfgs have paid for the requisite testing and fees to get their C/B approved for dual conductors. From what I have seen that amounts to nothing more than a conductor indented divot on both sides, ( as opposed to just one side ), of the tightening screw. If that divot, ( AKA as the mfg not having paid for the "rating" ), is not there; it may not be legally acceptable, but in practice, it works or it don't). Splicing in a panel enclosure is discouraged, but physically no different than splicing in a J-box. Jurisdictions and inturpretation again make this endless debate and legal fertile ground. Bottom line is can you visably trace the origin and exit of all conductors or can you not. If there are too many splices to visably determine that, it ain't safe.

    I did not see any "splices", but that existance is not important. From what I have seen you can take the "electrician" to the cleaners, if you so choose. Feel free to contact me privately, if you are so motivated.

    Last edited by Garry Blankenship; 02-10-2014 at 05:12 PM. Reason: Additional thoughts

  60. #60
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Okay, then what is a tap and how is it different than a splice?
    Semantics. A tap typically refers to a smaller or lesser capacity branching off. A splice typically refers to a same as or same size conjoining.


  61. #61
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Semantics. A tap typically refers to a smaller or lesser capacity branching off. A splice typically refers to a same as or same size conjoining.
    Based on the definition in the tap rules part Jim was referring to:
    - Tap Conductors. As used in this article, a tap conductor is defined as a conductor, other than a service conductor, that has overcurrent protection ahead of its point of supply that exceeds the value permitted for similar conductors that are protected as described elsewhere in 240.4.

    Stated conditions: A #14 wire is landed on a 20 amp breaker.

    The conductor, other than a service conductor, that has overcurrent protection ahead of its point of supply that exceeds the value permitted for similar conductors that are protected as described elsewhere in 240.4 ... that stated condition sure does meet the definition of a "tap" ... but that is not what we call it.

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

  62. #62
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Both.

    The label stating 42 is referring to the maximum number permitted for that panel with the permitted breaker configuration.

    If all of the breakers were double pole then only half of the allowed number of circuits could be installed.
    Not correct. In the case of single phase panels, ( like we see in residential use ), it is a 40 space max and in the case of three phase panels it is a 42 space max. Load center panel construction has a default rule of 10 amps per space, per phase, ( hot leg, if you prefer ). 10 amps per C/B space x 20 spaces = 200 amps. Another default general rule is no more than 42 spaces per panel, ( there are exceptions ). That is why single phase panels max out at 40 spaces and three phase panels typically max out at the code mandated 42 spaces, ( probably size considerations ). It would not likely happen, but that panel could legally contain 20 - two pole circuit breakers, ( 40 spaces ), and be legal. The panel is, ( I believe ), UL listed for 40 circuits, ( not spaces ), so any configuration not exceeding the UL listed 40 circuits is OK, ( including 20 two pole circuits ). Consider one of the integral circuit breakers being a 100 amp two pole C/B that feeds a sub-panel with 20 C/Bs in it. It all comes through that 200/2 MCB, but there could be as many as 59 C/Bs that are legally energised by that one 200 amp MCB. It would be legal to install 20- 100 amp two pole C/Bs that feed 20-100 amp panels - - - as long as the supply conductors are adequately protected by the 200 amp main C/B. The aggregate of down-stream C/B spaces, regardless of single or double pole, is not the concern. The concern is the aggregate load on either phase wire not exceeding the designed load of 200 amps, ( 80% of that in reality ).


  63. #63
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Not correct.
    Correct, you are not correct.

    To keep it simple, let us use a 8 circuit panel. Maximum number of circuits is 8 - agreed?

    If you install 8 single pole breakers you can get your 8 circuits listed as the maximum, agreed?

    If you install 4 double pole breakers for 240 volt circuits - no multiwire circuits - (those 4 double pole breakers take up those 8 circuit spaces) then you have 4 circuits, agreed?

    For each 240 volt double pole breaker installed you lose 1 circuit, agreed?

    Now multiply that up based on the number of circuits/breaker spaces in a larger panel. The answer is going to be the same (unless and until you start trying to fill in spaces allowed for tandem or quad breakers, but even with quad double poles the ratio would remain unchanged).

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

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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Garry, just an FYI, the NEC has dropped the 42 circuit limit for panels. This would only apply if the label allowed more than that and does not apply retroactively to older panels that did and still are restricted to 42 circuits or less.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  65. #65
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    Default Re: Electricians Terminology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Correct, you are not correct.

    To keep it simple, let us use a 8 circuit panel. Maximum number of circuits is 8 - agreed?

    If you install 8 single pole breakers you can get your 8 circuits listed as the maximum, agreed?

    If you install 4 double pole breakers for 240 volt circuits - no multiwire circuits - (those 4 double pole breakers take up those 8 circuit spaces) then you have 4 circuits, agreed?

    For each 240 volt double pole breaker installed you lose 1 circuit, agreed?

    Now multiply that up based on the number of circuits/breaker spaces in a larger panel. The answer is going to be the same (unless and until you start trying to fill in spaces allowed for tandem or quad breakers, but even with quad double poles the ratio would remain unchanged).
    Geeze Jerry; I've not been around for a long while, but you do know how to defend. Not biting on your keep it simple example and subsequent extrapolation/s. Not my intention to make your contributions "wrong". From what I have seen your contributions are invaluable. Just some clarification from my knowledge base. No; the maximum amount of circuits in an 8 circuit panel is not necessarily 8 circuits. If it is an 8 / 16, mfgs. will typically list an 8 circuit panel as an 8/16 circuit panel, or possibly a 16 circuit panel, assuming it is legal to use tandem breakers. Yes, I agree that 4 two pole C/Bs = 4 circuits. No you do not nesessarily loose one circuit per two pole C/B. A circuit, ( in single phase terms ), consits of two wires that get the job done. In the case of a 120 volt circuit the two wires are a hot and a neutral. In the case of a 240 volt circuit it is two hots. In both cases two wires. In the 240 volt situation a neutral wire is optional dependent upon the load / appliance needs. In all cases a ground wire or grounding means is required. If the panel in question is a full 40 circuit panel, it would be legal to install 20 - 100 amp two pole C/Bs. If the panel is what the trade calls a 20/40, ( 20 full sized C/Bs or 40 tandem sized C/Bs ), you could legally install only 10 - 100 amp two pole C/Bs. It is not typically a problem, but two pole C/Bs do not always limit the number of circuits by half. Absent the use of tandem C/Bs they do use more C/B space. I personally do not approve of the use of any C/Bs over 60 amps in load centers because of their limited contact surface area and the contact tension means they are limited to, but there are UL listed C/Bs for load centers up to 125 amps.


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