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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    50

    Default Help on my daughters apartment building main service panel

    You have all helped me many times, I ask for your thoughts on this one.
    My daughter's maintenance man said nothing is wrong with this panel. I know different, but I need some advice from you out there so I can point to specific code violations when the Management Owner calls me back.

    1. Here is the backstory.That "triplex" of 40 amp breakers in the center service both the electric stove AND the individual apartment AC unit.
    2. The outer green one on the left appears broken and the wire and clamp move up and down, so I know it is an issue of itself.
    3. The outer right wire apparently goes to the AC
    4. All 4 (3 with center connected) 40 amp switches need to be on for either the stove or the AC to work. Shutting off one at either end shuts down both.
    5. The outer wires appear to be #12 at most #10 but hard to tell due to outer casing being thicker in my opinion (older wires) In any case, it seems like much too high of a breaker for that size wire without knowing the amperage draw of either unit.
    6. There is no nameplate on the enclosure that I could find.
    7. The wall gets hot above the box when they are cooking and running AC.
    8. The center circuit trips a lot, and sometimes shocks her boyfriend when resetting.


    The maintenance man has been out twice and said they were imagining things, that there is no issue.
    I would normally write this up as improper and needing a licensed electrician to make proper repairs. I need more for this one. I wanted to give a list of what I need corrected to the Owner so he will call a licensed Electrician out to do the repairs, but since I cannot trust his maintenance man, I fear I will not trust his Electrician. Want my daughter and grandbaby safe so Please give me a laundry list of what needs to be done before he calls me back.

    IMG_3638.jpgIMG_3640.jpgIMG_3641.jpgIMG_3642.jpgIMG_3643.jpgIMG_3644.jpgIMG_3646.jpgIMG_3647.jpg

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: Help on my daughters apartment building main service panel

    Quote Originally Posted by chris viscomi View Post
    Here is the backstory.That "triplex" of 40 amp breakers in the center service both the electric stove AND the individual apartment AC unit.
    Based on the remains of the wiring schematic, the quad breaker is connected to both line in bus bars for 240 volts between the left side and the right side of the breaker (left two and the right two), with the handle ties for the center two 40 amp breakers going to the range.

    To clarify, the two outside breakers are 30 amps, not 40 amps, and each is for 120 volt items, not a 240 volt item as there is no handle tie between them.

    If ALL four breakers need to be on for the range to operate, something is wrong inside those breakers as only the two inner breakers should operate the range - either that or something is wrong with the way it is all wired ... however, another photo shows the two larger conductors going to the two center 40 breakers with the handle tie - which should be for the range ... indicating the breaker needs to be replaced.

    Is the AC unit 120 volt? If it is 240 volt, then the replacement breaker would also need handle ties between the two outside breakers as well as between the two inside breakers.

    The outer green one on the left appears broken and the wire and clamp move up and down, so I know it is an issue of itself.
    Yep.

    The outer right wire apparently goes to the AC
    Does the AC unit work with just 120 volt on it from that one breaker?

    All 4 (3 with center connected) 40 amp switches need to be on for either the stove or the AC to work. Shutting off one at either end shuts down both.
    See my reply above.

    The outer wires appear to be #12 at most #10 but hard to tell due to outer casing being thicker in my opinion (older wires) In any case, it seems like much too high of a breaker for that size wire without knowing the amperage draw of either unit.
    AWG 10 is good for the 30 amp rating of the two outer breakers they are attached to.

    There is no nameplate on the enclosure that I could find.
    Other than the wiring schematic?

    The wall gets hot above the box when they are cooking and running AC.
    Not good, that indicates a potential problem, possibly behind that wall.

    The center circuit trips a lot, and sometimes shocks her boyfriend when resetting.
    Refer to "not good" comment above.

    The maintenance man has been out twice and said they were imagining things, that there is no issue.
    Have the maintenance man provide documentation as to what he has checked, voltages, current draw, opened wall up, photos showing that all is well, etc.

    I would normally write this up as improper and needing a licensed electrician to make proper repairs. I need more for this one. I wanted to give a list of what I need corrected to the Owner so he will call a licensed Electrician out to do the repairs, but since I cannot trust his maintenance man, I fear I will not trust his Electrician. Want my daughter and grandbaby safe so Please give me a laundry list of what needs to be done before he calls me back.
    Advise the owner that if a licensed electrician does not address this and resolve the matter, you will call the fire department improper wiring in the wall which may cause a fire ... that should get the owners attention.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Help on my daughters apartment building main service panel

    You need to clarify a few things. Is the AC 120 volts or 240 volts? If 240 volts the two outer 30 ampere breakers should be tied together.

    Regardless of the above, neither outer breaker should affect the operation of the range. If they do, a breaker is defective. If someone gets shocked a breaker is defective. If a breaker keeps tripping something is wrong.

    From my experience, maintenance men at apartment complexes generally know a little about everything, and most of what they know is usually wrong.

    If he does not understand paragraph 2 above, then they should insist that an electrician checks the system. If they will not agree, then they could move, report the problem to code officials, or pay for the repairs and deduct from rent. Of course, that is not legal advice.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,258

    Default Re: Help on my daughters apartment building main service panel

    It sounds like this is accessible to your daughter and you. I think you should have an electrician come out and take a good look at it, and give you the details to present to the owner. It's hard to diagnose from a distance. Shouldn't cost you much just to have him look at it and give you a short list of corrections. If he still refuses, then you already have what you need to present to whomever is in charge of rental standards in your area. If you have to go that route, you can probably recoup the charge for the electrician anyhow.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    MKE
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Help on my daughters apartment building main service panel

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Murray-Style...-/181408987886

    The two outer 30A green handles should have an external handle tie as shown in this ebay link

    It is basically a "tandem" double pole breaker

    Other than that, it seems to be wired correctly for two 240V loads.

    Steve


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Help on my daughters apartment building main service panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Koszuta View Post
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Murray-Style...-/181408987886

    The two outer 30A green handles should have an external handle tie as shown in this ebay link

    It is basically a "tandem" double pole breaker

    Other than that, it seems to be wired correctly for two 240V loads.

    Steve
    Agreed, except that if they are correct that the outer breakers need to be on for the range to function, something is not correct.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, electrical only
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: Help on my daughters apartment building main service panel

    Quote Originally Posted by chris viscomi View Post

    1. Here is the backstory.That "triplex" of 40 amp breakers in the center service both the electric stove AND the individual apartment AC unit.
    2. The outer green one on the left appears broken and the wire and clamp move up and down, so I know it is an issue of itself.
    3. The outer right wire apparently goes to the AC
    4. All 4 (3 with center connected) 40 amp switches need to be on for either the stove or the AC to work. Shutting off one at either end shuts down both.
    5. The outer wires appear to be #12 at most #10 but hard to tell due to outer casing being thicker in my opinion (older wires) In any case, it seems like much too high of a breaker for that size wire without knowing the amperage draw of either unit.
    6. There is no nameplate on the enclosure that I could find.
    7. The wall gets hot above the box when they are cooking and running AC.
    8. The center circuit trips a lot, and sometimes shocks her boyfriend when resetting.


    The maintenance man has been out twice and said they were imagining things, that there is no issue.
    I would normally write this up as improper and needing a licensed electrician to make proper repairs. I need more for this one. I wanted to give a list of what I need corrected to the Owner so he will call a licensed Electrician out to do the repairs, but since I cannot trust his maintenance man, I fear I will not trust his Electrician. Want my daughter and grandbaby safe so Please give me a laundry list of what needs to be done before he calls me back.

    IMG_3638.jpgIMG_3640.jpgIMG_3641.jpgIMG_3642.jpgIMG_3643.jpgIMG_3644.jpgIMG_3646.jpgIMG_3647.jpg

    There are a few facts that will help determine whether it was wired correctly, and what needs to be done: copper vs aluminum conductors, which helps determine ampacity; year of initial installation and ideally <i>NEC</i> edition in force at the time, which determine whether various aspects were installed legally--whether or not the AHJ representative caught any violations; and NEC edition presently adopted. Then there are the characteristics that need to be corrected whether or not everything was legal at the time of initial installation: these include a defective breaker; and very possibly (I couldn't tell for certain) breakers whose arc chutes were exposed to contaminants. The NEC edition in force currently may very well determine what much be done for remediation.


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