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Thread: Receptacles.

  1. #1
    Greg Frazier's Avatar
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    Default Receptacles.

    I inspected a house today with an addition. It had 10 receptacles, about one every 4 feet (!) on the walls. There was no power to these until I rechecked the panel and found a 50 amp breaker tripped. How can 110v receptacles be on a 220v, 50 amp breaker? The breaker in question is at the top left. (And yes, I will recommend upgrading the panel to provide a main breaker shutoff.)

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    Question Re: Receptacles.

    Greg, I would say they used a unused range plug and tied the #12 wires into the # 8 wires and ran it to each plug. I would call it out to be evaluated by a licensed electrician.


  3. #3
    Tim Voss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Receptacles.

    Maybe that breaker feeds a new panel for the addition?


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    Default Re: Receptacles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Frazier View Post
    (And yes, I will recommend upgrading the panel to provide a main breaker shutoff.)
    Is that the service equipment?

    If so, then that should not be a "recommendation", it should be a "needs proper service equipment installed" and "have corrected by a licensed and competent electrical contractor".

    If that is the service equipment and you just recommended it have a main installed, it is possible that a main is not intended to be installed in that panel, that the panel is not rated as "Suitable for use as Service Equipment". In which case you just made a somewhat big mistake.

    If that is not service equipment, no main is required, and your recommendation might be ridiculed - unless you worded it properly. I always like a main at each panel, just makes sense and makes it safer. But, it is not required, so the 'recommendation' would be 'while there is no requirement to have a main breaker at each panel, I recommend it as a standard of care as having a main breaker offers greater protection in that the occupants are able to shut the panel down faster in an emergency' - something like that, making sure not to imply that a main is required there.

    However, being as that *is* service equipment (the grounds and neutrals are on the same terminal bar), go back to my first part of this post:

    "
    Is that the service equipment?

    If so, then that should not be a "recommendation", it should be a "needs proper service equipment installed" and "have corrected by a licensed and competent electrical contractor".
    "

    That circuit, if what Tony said may have been done was done, is not allowed to be used for that use.

    If that feeds a new panel in the addition, as Tim suggested, that circuit is not allowed to be used for that use either.

    Basically, that circuit is wrong, that panel is wrong, and, being as it is service equipment, it is all wrong (okay, not "all" "wrong", but more than enough to get the electrical contractor out there for some major re-wiring work.

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    Default Re: Receptacles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Frazier View Post
    I inspected a house today with an addition. It had 10 receptacles, about one every 4 feet (!) on the walls. There was no power to these until I rechecked the panel and found a 50 amp breaker tripped. How can 110v receptacles be on a 220v, 50 amp breaker? The breaker in question is at the top left. (And yes, I will recommend upgrading the panel to provide a main breaker shutoff.)
    Could there have been an additional panel, maybe in a closet that is connected to that 50 amp breaker?

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    Default Re: Receptacles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Could there have been an additional panel, maybe in a closet that is connected to that 50 amp breaker?
    Hopefully not, not fed by that circuit. Not allowed.

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  7. #7
    Greg Frazier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Receptacles.

    There was no other panel that I found. I knew it couldn't be right as is. Thanks all.


  8. #8
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Receptacles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Could there have been an additional panel, maybe in a closet that is connected to that 50 amp breaker?
    You have it exactly. There is another burried panel in the home. I have found that before. Were in the heck would they run wires that size to if not another panel. Concidering he says that the outlets were the only thing out.


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    Default Re: Receptacles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Could there have been an additional panel, maybe in a closet that is connected to that 50 amp breaker?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    You have it exactly. There is another burried panel in the home.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Mount View Post
    Greg, I would say they used a unused range plug
    Tony,

    You are going to enjoy this ... I think Tony is correct.

    At least to the extent that "they used a unused range plug".

    The reason is that the NM cable going out from the breaker is 2 conductor with an uninsulated grounding conductor, which 'used to be allowed for ranges and clothes dryers'.

    I think that whoever wired that picked up that circuit, possibly using the range receptacle junction box, removed the range receptacle, installed a blank cover, and ran their NM cables to the new receptacles from that point.

    The "visible and known" evidence suggests that. Whether that is the case or not, only a licensed and competent electrical contractor will find out when they start tracing the circuits out.

    I would be surprised if they find another panel, however, even if they do, that circuit *is still not allowed* to be used for that use - there is no "insulated neutral", which is required.

    Not wanting to degress too far, but if you were to use that circuit for feeding receptacles, be it directly or through a new panel ... *how could you "isolate the neutral from ground" *?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Receptacles.

    The not-so-instant replay, and after further review, ... the call stands.

    Service entrance cable with an uninsulated neutral from that breaker to wherever it goes.

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    Default Re: Receptacles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Is that the service equipment?

    If so, then that should not be a "recommendation", it should be a "needs proper service equipment installed" and "have corrected by a licensed and competent electrical contractor".

    If that is the service equipment and you just recommended it have a main installed, it is possible that a main is not intended to be installed in that panel, that the panel is not rated as "Suitable for use as Service Equipment". In which case you just made a somewhat big mistake.

    If that is not service equipment, no main is required, and your recommendation might be ridiculed - unless you worded it properly. I always like a main at each panel, just makes sense and makes it safer. But, it is not required, so the 'recommendation' would be 'while there is no requirement to have a main breaker at each panel, I recommend it as a standard of care as having a main breaker offers greater protection in that the occupants are able to shut the panel down faster in an emergency' - something like that, making sure not to imply that a main is required there.

    However, being as that *is* service equipment (the grounds and neutrals are on the same terminal bar), go back to my first part of this post:

    "
    Is that the service equipment?

    If so, then that should not be a "recommendation", it should be a "needs proper service equipment installed" and "have corrected by a licensed and competent electrical contractor".
    "

    That circuit, if what Tony said may have been done was done, is not allowed to be used for that use.

    If that feeds a new panel in the addition, as Tim suggested, that circuit is not allowed to be used for that use either.

    Basically, that circuit is wrong, that panel is wrong, and, being as it is service equipment, it is all wrong (okay, not "all" "wrong", but more than enough to get the electrical contractor out there for some major re-wiring work.
    I agree that the 50 amp breaker supplying general purpose receptacles is wrong. The Code limits GP receptacles to a maximum of 20 amps.

    However, this panel is a split buss panel and the "main" falls under the 6 or less throws of the hand for disconnecting means. The bottom left breaker above the split kills the botttom half of the panel. You can see the factory installed wires leaving the top buss and going to the bottom buss.

    Typically the top of the panel held up to 5 double pole breakers for things like the stove, dryer, water heater etc. The 6th breaker contolled the bottom buss containing the GP circuits.

    While this style is no longer installed it was common before.

    Information really needs to be accurate and shared so that others can learn from this board. After all isn't becoming a better educated inspector the goal here?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Receptacles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I agree that the 50 amp breaker supplying general purpose receptacles is wrong. The Code limits GP receptacles to a maximum of 20 amps.
    While you are missing one important thing in the above posts, I missed the conductors going back to the bottom part of the split bus panel.

    However, this panel is a split buss panel and the "main" falls under the 6 or less throws of the hand for disconnecting means. The bottom left breaker above the split kills the bottom half of the panel. You can see the factory installed wires leaving the top buss and going to the botttom buss.
    The part that you are missing (or maybe you are not and you just did not mention it) is that there is no insulated neutral with that circuit going from the 50 amp breaker to the receptacles.

    Without an insulated neutral conductor (and a separate grounding conductor), it does not matter about all the other things (breaker size, whether there is or is not a separate panel someplace else, etc.).

    The reason is that 'breakers are cheap and easy to replace', a 'panel someplace else is cheap and easy to correct' whatever might be wrong in it, however, it will not be cheap nor easy to replace that circuit from the panel shown to the receptacles.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying "it does not matter about all the other things" as in 'it does not matter', but as in 'cost-wise, it does not matter'. The 'cost' will be in running new circuits.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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