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  1. #1
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Electrrical panel or Service panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Chambers View Post
    Please explain the difference, is there a difference or just a difference in terminology...nomenclature?

    Jerry?
    IMO, an electrical panel would be any breaker or fuse box, the "service panel" would be the panel that is the first connection to the meter and would be the first point of disconnect.


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

    Elizabeth,

    The "service equipment panel" (aka "service equipment") is the panel which contains the first disconnecting means (breaker, pullout with fuses, safety switch with fuses, etc) which shuts off power to the structure.

    There are allowed to be up to six disconnects in that panel enclosure, or even up to six separate enclosures with one disconnect in each (or any combination of enclosures and disconnects for a total of up to six disconnects).

    If separate disconnects and enclosures are used, then they must be grouped together, and labeled as to what they control (typically such as 'Main A', 'Main B', etc, with panels being 'Panel A', 'Panel B', etc).

    There are exceptions, but I don't recall ever seeing a fire pump at a house, not even 30,000 st houses.

    That FIRST disconnect (or group of first disconnects) is the "service equipment panel".

    All other panels (electrical panels) after (downstream of) the "service equipment" are "other than" service equipment panels ... such as: 'Remote panel', 'electrical panel', 'distribution panel', or by another name, even if next to the "service equipment" , but are not one of the "service equipment panels".

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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

    Hi E,

    The NEC/CEC definition of service equipment is:
    Service Equipment. The necessary equipment, usually consisting of a circuit breaker(s) or switch(es) and fuse(s) and their accessories, connected to the load end of service conductors to a building or other structure, or an otherwise designated area, and intended to constitute the main control and cutoff of the supply.

    Yeah... Doesn't help much, does it?

    On Jerry's recommendation, I have been using the term "Electrical Service Equipment" instead of "Main Panel" in my reports since around 2004 and have yet to have had anyone call me and ask what I meant. The definition is in my included glossary (both the NEC definition as well as CREIA's interpretation) and there is a picture of the service equipment next to the comments in the report. It's pretty straightforward and has not been a problem. As a matter of fact, electrical contractors that have given me feedback have commented to me that using correct terminology gives them confidence that I actually know what I'm referring to in my report.

    By the way, four recommendations (some of which you may have already dealt with).

    1) If you don't already have them, you can download most of the California codes at "Internet Archive": https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/bsc.ca.gov/

    The California Electric Code is not included in the download because NFPA sued to have it locked up claiming copyright protection and not for free public access. NFPA finally provided public access, but not in any searchable fashion. It's necessary to page through, one click at a time - not user-friendly (I suppose they want us to purchase so we can have the search features). Internet Archive does have a searchable version of the CEC, but I do not believe it can be downloaded. https://archive.org/details/gov.ca.bsc.title24.2016.03

    I purchased the California Electric Code, but later found an unlocked version somewhere online. Unfortunately, I can't remember where. If I do, I will let you know.

    2) I recommend picking up Douglas Hansen's "Electrical Inspections of Existing Dwellings". While it isn't exactly fast-paced and exciting, it does have a tremendous amount of information and will really up your game in inspecting the electrical part of a home. It's not cheap though.

    3) Code Check. These are a real help in finding the actual code. So much easier to look through the flip books and then look up the actual code. Both the flip books and the inspection book can be found on their website.

    4) CREIA will have a two or three day conference in 2020. I believe it is slated for San Diego area, in the beginning of May. Lots of stuff to learn there. I highly recommend it.

    Happy inspecting!

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

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

    And #5- Learn not to let a typo get past you in a thread naming. Otherwords, it's "Electrical" not "Electrrical".

    I almost bought that exact book a few weeks ago. I will invest in it ASAP. I like the title "Electrical Service Equipment" and will use it in my reports. San Diego area was my teenage stomping grounds during part of the 70's. I think that conference sounds doable. Thank's for that link too.. I always appreciate info from you guys!


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Electrrical panel or Service panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Chambers View Post
    And #5- Learn not to let a typo get past you in a thread naming. Otherwords, it's "Electrical" not "Electrrical".
    Yes, and it lives on forever (or as long as Brian maintains this archive) as a reminder.

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

  7. #7
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    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
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    Default Re: Electrrical panel or Service panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Hi E,

    On Jerry's recommendation, I have been using the term "Electrical Service Equipment" instead of "Main Panel" in my reports since around 2004 and have yet to have had anyone call me and ask what I meant. The definition is in my included glossary (both the NEC definition as well as CREIA's interpretation) and there is a picture of the service equipment next to the comments in the report. It's pretty straightforward and has not been a problem. As a matter of fact, electrical contractors that have given me feedback have commented to me that using correct terminology gives them confidence that I actually know what I'm referring to in my report.
    That's interesting because my experience has been quite different. As an example, on a fixer-upper I did a few years ago, when I was ordering a change in the service drop with the power company, the coordinator for the power company didn't know what I meant by "service drop" and "service equipment." Those are the "overhead wires" and the "main panel."
    We've had this conversation many times over the years. Technically correct terminology is sometimes at odds with common usage even among the professionals or technicians. I have never heard an electrician say "service equipment." I am often silently sighing as I explain obvious "things" to licensed tradespeople or technicians who should know better than me. At the same time, it's hard to know it all and/or be perfect.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Electrrical panel or Service panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    That's interesting because my experience has been quite different. As an example, on a fixer-upper I did a few years ago, when I was ordering a change in the service drop with the power company, the coordinator for the power company didn't know what I meant by "service drop" and "service equipment." Those are the "overhead wires" and the "main panel."
    We've had this conversation many times over the years. Technically correct terminology is sometimes at odds with common usage even among the professionals or technicians. I have never heard an electrician say "service equipment." I am often silently sighing as I explain obvious "things" to licensed tradespeople or technicians who should know better than me. At the same time, it's hard to know it all and/or be perfect.
    Lon,

    I get that too. The same is true for drip leg and sediment trap in gas plumbing. Do you ever get cement slab instead of concrete slab? Or floor beams instead of floor joists. Try this little experiment. On you computer or phone, search for main panel and main electrical panel. Then search for electrical service equipment.

    Maybe it's because I am in California and my clients are much more sophisticated than homebuyers in other areas (I rather doubt this), many of my clients (those under 40, at least) will almost automatically perform online searches for information (not just generated by my inspection reports, but pretty much anything). When I search for main panel or main electrical panel, the hits that I get are DIY sites, home handyman sites, and big-box home centers. When I search for electrical service equipment, I get hits from Mike Holt, IAEA, & NFPA.

    Personally, I would rather my clients not go to Harry the Home Handyman for electrical information.

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

  9. #9
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    conyers, ga
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    86

    Default Re: Electrrical panel or Service panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Hi E,


    The California Electric Code is not included in the download because NFPA sued to have it locked up claiming copyright protection and not for free public access. NFPA finally provided public access, but not in any searchable fashion. It's necessary to page through, one click at a time - not user-friendly (I suppose they want us to purchase so we can have the search features). Internet Archive does have a searchable version of the CEC, but I do not believe it can be downloaded. https://archive.org/details/gov.ca.bsc.title24.2016.03

    I believe that any government requirement and any reference to any legal code, requirements should never be allowed to be copyright protected and required to be available online free, period!
    I for one fight battles with local government on these issues. Like when Georgia required all insurance to be in their database, but had no way at first for individuals to verify if correct, I made a lot of noise about that, was not my efforts but many other felt the same now have online verification that individuals can verify they are covered since the paper card means crap here in Georgia as proof, not in the database, going to to get a citation or jail time for no insurance. So I cannot stand anything the government requires us to do and not provide the necessary resources made available, and no one should let that slide with their state or local municipality


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Electrrical panel or Service panel?

    Want ... sort of ... copy and paste ICC codes?

    Look up the Florida codes (they are ICC based), copy the section you want, paste it into Notepad or other no formatting word processor), open the ICC code you want, edit out the Florida changes (saves typing the entire ICC code section) and you have it.

    Hey! I did say "sort of" copy and paste!

    You can also paste to Word, but then you'll have that text, formatting, etc, that you'll need to fix. But it is about the same amount of work.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Electrrical panel or Service panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Clarke View Post
    I believe that any government requirement and any reference to any legal code, requirements should never be allowed to be copyright protected and required to be available online free, period!
    I for one fight battles with local government on these issues. Like when Georgia required all insurance to be in their database, but had no way at first for individuals to verify if correct, I made a lot of noise about that, was not my efforts but many other felt the same now have online verification that individuals can verify they are covered since the paper card means crap here in Georgia as proof, not in the database, going to to get a citation or jail time for no insurance. So I cannot stand anything the government requires us to do and not provide the necessary resources made available, and no one should let that slide with their state or local municipality
    Mike,

    I will heartedly applaud if you take on NFPA and make them change their tune.

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Electrrical panel or Service panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Clarke View Post
    I believe that any government requirement and any reference to any legal code, requirements should never be allowed to be copyright protected and required to be available online free, period!
    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Mike,

    I will heartedly applaud if you take on NFPA and make them change their tune.
    All NFPA standards (they are "standards" not "codes") have free online access. (notice that I stopped at "access")

    NFPA makes that "access" as user-unfriendly as they possibly can: no search, no copy, no print, no ... well ... here is that "sort of" again ... "prt sc" is a magical tool to get around those last two "no" things.

    Simply print the screen, past it to a graphics program, copy the part you want and paste a new image. Now you can either insert that code section image into your reports or use OCR to convert to text (or print the image as a pdf and convert the pdf to text, depending on what you have at your disposal). I preferred pasting the image into the report just like a photo - that is the referenced document, unchanged.

    Convenient?

    NFPA makes it convenient? NO WAY!

    Put after you collect the code sections you use, you will have your own little library of insertable code references (is "insertable" a word?.

    I'll be danged! It is a word:

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insertable

    insertable adjective


    in?​sert?​able
    variants: or insertible \ ə̇nˈsərtəbəl \
    Definition of insertable
    : capable of being inserted

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    conyers, ga
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Electrrical panel or Service panel?

    I like the part you mentioned
    "I preferred pasting the image into the report just like a photo - that is the referenced document, unchanged"
    In some of my previous work, when collecting information a picture copy was considered proof in chain of evidence a copy of the actual text was not. think that is a great idea in any reporting too, then cannot (or should not be able) to argue to legitimacy of it, well would hope so.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Electrrical panel or Service panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Clarke View Post
    think that is a great idea in any reporting too, then cannot (or should not be able) to argue to legitimacy of it, well would hope so.
    They still argue, but now they are arguing with NFPA, not you.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
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    WV
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    Default Re: Electrrical panel or Service panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    That's interesting because my experience has been quite different. As an example, on a fixer-upper I did a few years ago, when I was ordering a change in the service drop with the power company, the coordinator for the power company didn't know what I meant by "service drop" and "service equipment." Those are the "overhead wires" and the "main panel."
    We've had this conversation many times over the years. Technically correct terminology is sometimes at odds with common usage even among the professionals or technicians. I have never heard an electrician say "service equipment." I am often silently sighing as I explain obvious "things" to licensed tradespeople or technicians who should know better than me. At the same time, it's hard to know it all and/or be perfect.
    May be different terms in different parts of the country , but in my years as a lineman service drop was used by us overhead guys, and service equipment referred to the meter base and maybe a disconnect . Which we called the service disconnect. The breaker box inside the residence we called the panel box. I'm in the east so maybe its different out west. Now it maybe different with the URD (underground residential distribution) guys , but we called there laterals service drops even though they were underground until they got to the service riser and meter base. Now you know why I took up plumbing and gas for the last 30 years.


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