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  1. #1
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    Mar 2012
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    Default A Half updated two family Main Panels question

    Jerry or others, I need your expertise.

    I know there is issue here, I want to understand the issue a little better than stating "Have a licensed Electrician review the panels".

    This is a two family home with a split basement. It is basically one basement with a wall down the center and a door to the side with the original panels and the mains for both.

    One of the original fused mains was converted over to breakers and the original panel was converted to a junction box to extend the wires to the other side, but not the main breaker?

    Please take a look and see what you find so I can state some more specifics versus a general statement for my client.

    Thanks in advance....IMG_0164.JPGIMG_0161.JPGIMG_0160.JPGIMG_0159.JPG

    Inspection Referral

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A Half updated two family Main Panels question

    First a question: Is it one structure with two "apartments", or is it being considered as two separate but attached structures ... I.e., a two-family townhouse?

    Makes a difference as to how and where the service equipment and panels are installed, as well as wired.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A Half updated two family Main Panels question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    First a question: Is it one structure with two "apartments", or is it being considered as two separate but attached structures ... I.e., a two-family townhouse?

    Makes a difference as to how and where the service equipment and panels are installed, as well as wired.
    It is one structure with up and down apartments. Official county records list it as a Duplex (any combination) Problem is that "listing info" is all I really have to qualify the property. I would assume Definitely one structure due to UP/DOWN combination as well.

    See it here.

    FYI 1965 CONSTRUCTION

    4009 Fruitland, Parma, OH, 44134 - Duplex/Triplex/Fourplex Property for Sale on LoopNet.com

    Last edited by chris vis; 11-25-2014 at 10:56 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: A Half updated two family Main Panels question

    Quote Originally Posted by chris viscomi View Post
    It is one structure with up and down apartments.
    That says it all right there - to be two structures they would have to be side-by-side and separated from the foundation up to the underside of the roof decking with a separation wall between them which would be independent of each to the extent that one side would burn/fall down and the other side would remain standing.

    One building, one electrical service, one main service disconnect (could have two grouped together), could have additional disconnects for each apartment, and could have a separate meter for each apartment.

    Sounds to me like there may be some common areas (such as the exterior or interior egress stair from the upper unit passing down through or alongside the lower unit, etc.), in which case there may be a "house panel" which controls the common electrical elements (lighting, exit signs, etc.).

    I will go back and look at the photos base on it being one structure with two apartments.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: A Half updated two family Main Panels question

    Quote Originally Posted by chris viscomi View Post
    This is a two family home with a split basement. It is basically one basement with a wall down the center and a door to the side with the original panels and the mains for both.
    One apartment is above the other apartment but also has part of the basement? Okay.

    The wall splitting the basement, does it have a door connecting the two basements? Are the panels on the same side of the basement wall?

    One of the original fused mains was converted over to breakers and the original panel was converted to a junction box to extend the wires to the other side, but not the main breaker?
    Based on that, I am going to presume the answer to one of the above questions is that the panels are all in one side of the basement wall - the occupants of the other unit (the one which does not have the panels on their side of the wall) is required to have access to the basement which has the panels on that side of the wall - hopefully, the occupants of the side with the panels understands that and thus there is a door in that separation wall.

    Which brings up a question on the fire separation rating of that wall and the floor/ceiling assemblies of the basement to the units above - raises all kinds of questions. Think of the structure as a two unit condo building (if each unit is separately owned) or a two unit apartment building (if there is one owner and the units are rented out) - either way, there may be fire separation issues.

    Regarding the panels, a quick look shows that the service entrance conductors of the reworked service go through the now junction box with other conductors (not permitted) to the new service equipment - unless there is another service equipment and those are just feeders ... lots of things wrong based on what I am envisioning from the information provided ... and which could get worse (or better) if it is not as I am envisioning it.

    Without getting into details for all I see (based on what I think you are describing) - this "Have a licensed Electrician review the panels" should be more like this "Have licensed electrical contractor reconfigure the service equipment and panels as required by code, obtain permit and inspections." (once the work is permitted and signed off, you are off the hook, it is up to the electrical contractor and the city).

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 11-25-2014 at 02:54 PM. Reason: removed errant [/quote]
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A Half updated two family Main Panels question

    Here is what I see to be wrong.
    In the first pic, a grounding conductor enters the panel thru a conduit occupied by a feeder to the fuse panel.

    2nd pic, The main breaker panel is poorly mounted half way into the window opening.

    3rd pic as JP pointed out, the feeder enters and exits. No sign of that grounding conductor but it must be there, hidden.

    4th pic, double-tapped fuses, 2 questionable taped splices on neutrals. Could be crimped connectors but we can't tell.

    #5 is the unseen panel to which a large splice in the 2nd pic appears to be coming and going from. We can only guess there are more faults to be had.

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: A Half updated two family Main Panels question

    First, a presumption: There are no other disconnects before these panels, thus these panels are the service equipment ... if that is not the case, then some things will change while other things will remain the same (just like life, huh? ).

    Let's start with the above presumption and at the old unmolested panel, the fuse panel in the 4th photo - and presume that the 3rd photo of the now-junction box was essentially similar before being molested by someone:
    - Service entrance conductors enter the old fuse panel on the right - okay - two hots and an insulated neutral, the insulated neutral can serve as the grounded and grounding conductors as that would be the service entrance conductors.
    - - Okay, here is one problem already if separate service entrance come in from the meters (which must be outside and are not shown, and there is no disconnect out at the meters, then both sets of service entrance conductors should not be routed to these panels on the interior basement wall. The panels are mounted on a wood on a block wall, presumably a basement exterior wall - so unless the meters are directly outside, those should be feeders, not service entrance conductors, so there should be disconnects and the service equipment outside.
    - - If there is service equipment outside, then the neutral is not permitted to serve as the grounding conductor in addition to being the grounded conductor.
    - - Okay, that needs to be explained and cleared up - what is outside?
    - The grounding electrode conductor goes from the neutral terminal bar to (presumably) the grounding electrode system ... or that copper conductor may be the bonding conductor to the interior metal water piping?
    - Other than that you have an old fuse panel which has multiple taps and likely has overfused conductors, improperly terminated grounding conductor to a screw through the bottom of the panel, no bushings around the old NM cables going out through the back of the panel, and other things.

    Now let's go to the 3rd photo (which likely was similar to the above before someone made it even worse):
    - The service entrance conductors enter in through the back and goes out the left side, in the panel with other conductors - the service entrance conductors are not permitted to do this ... of course, though, if these conductors are feeders, then they would be allowed in that panel.
    - However, the service entrance conductors also go out through the top of the panel - yep, the service entrance enters through the top right, are wire nutted (not permitted for service entrance conductors) to two sets of conductors, one set goes out the left side of the panel and the other set goes out the top ... where in tarnation do those conductors going out the top go?
    - And, yeppers, the same problem with old NM cables which go out the back with no bushings/clamps. Also have open holes with wood showing through them.
    - Improperly terminated grounding conductors at the back in the upper right, and other items.
    - This was re-wired, but it was re-wired by someone who either did not know, or did not care, what they were doing.
    - And a similar copper wire going out the top - goes where? Grounding electrode system or interior metal water piping system?

    Okay, 2nd photo:
    - Good overall photo showing relationships of the installation.
    - Also shows that there is no ceiling on the underside of the floor joists, this could well be a floor-ceiling rating problem between units - depends on many things not stated or shown.

    Now to the 1st photo:
    - What do the feeders going up feed, a new panel inside one unit? If so, it needs a proper grounding conductor in addition to the two hots and the one neutral. The grounding conductor comes in from the right, but does not continue out the top.
    - If the this is the service disconnect for one unit (the one with the now-junction box in the 3rd photo), then the feeders going out the top feed a panel where, and why all the circuits in the now-junction box panel in the 3rd photo? They should be up at the other panel ... unless all those circuits are new, in which case where is the main and breakers for these circuits?

    Way to many things which are not Kosher in those photos. Also information is missing, such as are there disconnects outside by the meters, etc.

    I say get the city inspector out there if the electrician gives a problem, let the city inspector either give the city's blessing on it or tell the electrician what is required to be corrected - yep, the city inspector is the one who can "require" things be done ...

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
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    Default Re: A Half updated two family Main Panels question

    Thanks everyone. I would give you the additional information, but that would only lead to the same end result.

    Therefore I thank you and will quote appropriately for the number of defects found suspect.

    You guys are great....and fast.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Md and or PA
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    Default Re: A Half updated two family Main Panels question

    too many violations to list :

    Junction box: service conductors and branch circuits in same enclosure,grounding electrode conductor not continuous ( double tapped under a single conductor lug - if spliced it must be irreversible) mounting screw used for ground termination, greenfield not supported per NEC missing cable connectors, missing knockouts
    Fuse panel: white conductor used as current carrying, double tapped at fuses, self tapping screw used for ground termination, missing knockouts, missing cable connectors,

    "new main disconnect": possible missing bushing on greenfield ( depends on conductor size- #4 or larger) Green field not supported per NEC, not labeled Main /service disconnect.
    That metallic nipple between the Junction box and the service disconnect requires a bonding bushing to be used on 1 end of it minimum

    This was just a quick look at the pictures .
    Needs to have a licensed contractor correct / replace


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