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  1. #1
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    May 2012
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    Default Crisscrossed electric in Duplex

    I was looking at a brick duplex built in 1964. The owner/builder has install two new style breaker boxes and hooked them into the old screw fuse boxes and has crisscrossed the connections; said that if one unit is vacant and the power is shut off he just flips a switch and it transfers the power from the adjacent unit to the vacant unit so he has power to work on the unit! He also has tied both water lines together with a valve so in the event of needing water he turns on the water valve and it allows water to be used in the vacant unit. I'm sure this is not code or legal. Would this pass if a mortgage company wanted and inspection or if I bought it this way?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Chicago IL
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    Default Re: Crisscrossed electric in Duplex

    The electrical might be determined to be unsafe and hazardous during an inspection based on what you've posted. I would suggest you have money available to replace whatever he did by a good electrician as part of your post purchase costs. The electrical is unlikely to be Code compliant
    The water sounds iffy. Figure on having a Plumber straighten it out to whatever extent.
    As far as what a mortgage company would want or find is like tossing feathers into the wind. You just don't know how it will end up. If they send someone good out, there could be issues. If they send out some guy who just wants to help the deal close, he won't find anything.
    In a situation like this you need to hire your own good inspector to let you know all the issues with the home. I'm sure the two items you mentioned are not all Mr. DIY King has done in the home. Depending on how much he did and how things were done, remediation costs could make the purchase less feasible than you are aware.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Western Maryland
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    131

    Default Re: Crisscrossed electric in Duplex

    Many duplexes I see have a single water service entrance which then splits to the separate units with shut-offs to isolate either side. I don't know what your situation is, but 2 units sharing a single source in of itself may not be a problem.

    Mark Fisher
    Allegany Inspection Service - Cumberland MD 21502 - 301-722-2224
    Home Inspections, Mold Testing, Thermal Imaging

  4. #4
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
    Garry Blankenship Guest

    Default Re: Crisscrossed electric in Duplex

    Code compliant wiring is what matters. Comingling utilities in a duplex may or may not comply w/ AHJ requirements, but it is not a safety concern. I've seen one home converted into a five unit dwelling. Common utility use only represents a pro-rata billing challenge, ( which rentor used how much ). Buildings w/ common utilities usually have what they call triple net leases or rent which is a single monthly fee that includes all utilities.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
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    4,170

    Default Re: Crisscrossed electric in Duplex

    This is a big safety hazard on electrical. Get it corrected by a professional.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Crisscrossed electric in Duplex

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Code compliant wiring is what matters. Comingling utilities in a duplex may or may not comply w/ AHJ requirements, but it is not a safety concern.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    This is a big safety hazard on electrical. Get it corrected by a professional.
    Ditto Jim.

    It is a big safety concern and is also not allowed.

    The water, on the other hand, is not "stealing" water as it is metered and is being paid for regardless of which meter it goes through. The problem there is that one tenant may be paying for the other tenants water use.

    Depending on "how" it is connected there me well be a risk of a cross connection, regardless, get a plumber to correct that just like you need to get an electrician to correct the electrical.

    NEITHER is done properly and BOTH create conditions which are, or could be, unsafe.

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

  7. #7
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
    Garry Blankenship Guest

    Default Re: Crisscrossed electric in Duplex

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ditto Jim.

    It is a big safety concern and is also not allowed.

    The water, on the other hand, is not "stealing" water as it is metered and is being paid for regardless of which meter it goes through. The problem there is that one tenant may be paying for the other tenants water use.

    Depending on "how" it is connected there me well be a risk of a cross connection, regardless, get a plumber to correct that just like you need to get an electrician to correct the electrical.

    NEITHER is done properly and BOTH create conditions which are, or could be, unsafe.
    I am not understanding how anyone can be sure this is unsafe. No photos and the O.P. is terminology challenged. Admittedly it does not sound good, but condeming it w/o good facts is premature. Multiple people sharing an electrical panel or water service is not a safety concern. There may well be only one meter for the entire building. The taps out of a fuse panel might be a problem - - - and they might not.


  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,252

    Default Re: Crisscrossed electric in Duplex

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    I am not understanding how anyone can be sure this is unsafe. No photos and the O.P. is terminology challenged. Admittedly it does not sound good, but condeming it w/o good facts is premature. Multiple people sharing an electrical panel or water service is not a safety concern. There may well be only one meter for the entire building. The taps out of a fuse panel might be a problem - - - and they might not.
    ALL OVERCURRENT DEVICE must be accessible to ALL OCCUPANTS ... how are the occupants of unit A going to access the overcurrent devices in unit B when unit A is getting its power through unit B?

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

  9. #9
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
    Garry Blankenship Guest

    Default Re: Crisscrossed electric in Duplex

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ALL OVERCURRENT DEVICE must be accessible to ALL OCCUPANTS ... how are the occupants of unit A going to access the overcurrent devices in unit B when unit A is getting its power through unit B?
    By going to the enclosed entry, hallway, laundry, basement or other common area where all the panels are located ? The odds are it is a hacked up mess. When I saw fuse panel I envisioned gas heat and/or cooking and the two typical 60 amp fused pull-outs converted to sub-feeds for more branch circuits. The crisscross part is intriguing.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Crisscrossed electric in Duplex

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    By going to the enclosed entry, hallway, laundry, basement or other common area where all the panels are located ?
    The panels may be in each unit.

    I am thinking of the duplex as two separate, but attached, units, each with its own service.

    "The crisscross part is intriguing."

    Agreed. I would like to know what was used and how it was done.

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

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