Electric Panel Question - two v one panels

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My house originally had electric as follows...
Main supply wires come out of the ground, go thru the electric meter and into a main breaker panel on the outside of the house that has a single large breaker in it that shuts of the entire house. Inside the garage is another panel that is fed from that main breaker and it has all the individual breakers for the various circuits, lights, plugs, A/C, Stove, etc.
Later I had a pool built and by some means the pool people went into the outside panel and tapped into the electric ahead of the big breaker. So flipping that main breaker to off does not de-power the panel for the pool equipment. The pool equipment panel has no "main" breaker but just individual breakers for the different pool things.
OK, so a while ago the breaker in the pool panel that was for the 220v swimming pool pump went bad and it would not stay "on". There was no short or anything. I had turned it off to replace the pump motor (bad bearings) and found it would no longer stay on. Again, I verified no shorts and in fact if I flipped it to on "just right" it would stay on and the pump would run. In mucking around in the panel I realized there was no way to disconnect the panel from the mains and I had no desire to RR the bad breaker with the box live. So I called the local electricians I trust and had them come over to RR the breaker.
They said they have never seen a pool panel that did not tap in after the main house breaker and were concerned it did not meet code. They weren't 100% sure but insisted that I (not they, they wouldn't do it), they insisted that I needed to label the two panels (they are side by side) as 1 of 2 and 2 of 2. They didn't want to even have the label in their handwriting but did want it labeled!
So now finally the question..... Does what I described violate code or is it just unusual?
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On Sunday, December 14, 2014 6:47:53 PM UTC-5, Ashton Crusher wrote:

*There should have been another main breaker installed right after it was t apped from the existing main for the pool sub-panel. That entire feed to t he pool sub-panel is unprotected. Maybe you can replace your existing main breaker with a small outdoor panel and put a main for the pool sub-panel i n there.
Here are two possible options: Siemens EQ LoadCenter outdoor four circuit p anel #W0406ML1225CU or #W0406ML1225CUb which can handle up to six circuits. I don't know what the largest branch breaker is that they are rated for.
Catalog: https://extranet.w3.siemens.com/us/internet-dms/btlv/Residential/R esidential/docs_LoadCenters/SIE_SA_ESPL_Sel_App_Guide.pdf
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On Sun, 14 Dec 2014 16:38:37 -0800 (PST), John G

pool panel. Putting a main breaker at the pool panel would likely make it code compliant, although you would still have an unprotected feed.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Very weird. Did they do this to save few bucks on main breaker for the pool?
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Ashton Crusher posted for all of us...

It violates code. In fact they are updating the code with an emphasis toward pools and docks because of shocks and electrocutions.
You should have it corrected and have the installer pay the bill.
--
Tekkie

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wrote:

The installer went out of business 20 years ago.
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On Wednesday, December 24, 2014 1:36:55 AM UTC-5, Ashton Crusher wrote:

Whether your arrangement is in violation of the National Electric Code or n ot depends on several facts as yet unrevealed.
How many breakers are in the pool panel and what ampacity are they? If the re are five or fewer breakers and there is no room for additional breakers to be added then the installation may well have been compliant when it was built. If there are more than five breakers in the pool panel then the ins tallation was a done in violation of the Code.
Are both panels listed for use as service equipment?
Were the Grounding Electrode Conductors brought into and terminated in both panels?
Were the taps off of the meter load side done with listed materials install ed in conformance with their listing and labeling.
Answer those questions and we may be able to give you a sound judgement on whether the installation is code compliant
--
Tom Horne

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On Sat, 27 Dec 2014 10:25:44 -0800 (PST), Tom Horne

I won't be able to answer those other then it does use at most 5 breakers. But there is room for more. For now I'll have to trust that the electrician that didn't really like how it was set up still thought it was "safe" in a practical sense. I suspect it isn't quite up to code from all the comments. I put permanent labels on the two boxes saying 1 of 2 and 2 of 2 like he requested.
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On Sunday, December 14, 2014 6:47:53 PM UTC-5, Ashton Crusher wrote:

I think that would have always violated code, but definitely violates curre nt code.
I suspect the pool people made a simple error in the panel with what side o f the feed they tapped into, and it probably is a quick and easy fix. Hope they left a little slack in the conductor.
The reason it violates code AND is a real hazard is the length of circuit b etween the breaker panel and the pool is completely unprotected. If anythi ng happens to that line you may dump 20,000 amps to ground, pretty likely b urning down the house in the process.
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On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 11:15:58 AM UTC-5, TimR wrote:

pe they left a little slack in the conductor.

hing happens to that line you may dump 20,000 amps to ground, pretty likely burning down the house in the process.
I'd like to see the specific code that it violates. I think Tom has a valid point. If the pool panel has 6 breakers or less, it meets the qualification as a panel. Many houses have more than one panel. The disconnecting means has to be readily accessible and I believe there is something to the effect that it has to be as close as possible to where the service conductors *enter* the building. That's because code is concerned about conductors without overcurrent protection within the building. But I don't know that applies to conductors outside the building and from the description, it sounds like those conductors are probably outside, but the OP didn't say for sure.
What Tom is saying is the OP has two main panels, one for the house, one for the pool. And he outlined relevant issues that must be complied with to do it right. I'd say it's certainly not the typical way of doing it. Typically you'd put a breaker in the main panel, make the pool a subpanel. I agree that would be a better approach, because it provides over current protection for the outside run to the subpanel. But there may have been reasons they did it that way, eg existing main panel full. If there is an NEC code cite that says you can't do what was done, I'd be happy to see it.
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On 12/30/2014 10:15 AM, TimR wrote:
[snip]

Yes, it's a hazard. Also, there is no quick way to shut off everything at the pool. Someone may think there is, but there isn't.
--
"Nothing fails like prayer" -- Annie Laurie Gaylor

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On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 12:10:22 PM UTC-5, Sam E wrote:

ything happens to that line you may dump 20,000 amps to ground, pretty like ly burning down the house in the process.

Nonsense. You can shut off everything at the pool just like you do with the millions of pool subpanels that are installed. You just turn off the individual breakers.
And again, if it's an NEC code violation to have two main panels like this is wired, I'd be happy to see the cite of the applicable section.
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On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 12:31:45 PM UTC-5, trader_4 wrote:

I'm not a code expert. In my opinion it is not a code violation to have tw o panels.
It is a code violation to have a circuit not protected by a breaker.
If something goes wrong IN the pool area, it will trip one of the six break ers.
If something goes wrong in the line between the "main" panel and the pool a rea, there is nothing for it to trip. Well, eventually it will kick the el ectric companies fuse on the pole. But you REALLY do not want to wait for that to happen.
Last time we had this argument I looked up fault current. A 30 Amp breaker on a 200 Amp panel will trip pretty fast, you'll get a bolted fault curren t of 3-4000 amps but it's gone in less than a cycle. You don't have any br eaker in this line, so you have to wait for the power company fuse to blow, and they can dump 20,000 Amps.
When we bought our house we had them upgrade the main panel. It did not ha ve protection between the meter and panel, and that part of the circuit was under the house. It was grandfathered, but when we upgraded we had to sup ply an additional breaker after the meter but before the circuit. Code req uired it.
I really think this is a simple fix, the pool guys just put their wire on t he supply side instead of the load side by mistake.
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On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 2:16:31 PM UTC-5, TimR wrote:

The service between the meter and the panel in the typical one panel house is not protected by a breaker. If you have two main panels, the service between the meter and each panel is not protected either.

Same is true if something goes wrong in the service between the meter on the side of millions of houses and the panels in the basement, a utility room, garage, etc.

ent of 3-4000 amps but it's gone in less than a cycle. You don't have any breaker in this line, so you have to wait for the power company fuse to blo w, and they can dump 20,000 Amps.

as under the house. It was grandfathered, but when we upgraded we had to s upply an additional breaker after the meter but before the circuit. Code r equired it.
I think you're misinterpreting what you saw and heard. You service apparen tly ran under the house. Code requires that the disconnect be either outside o r inside as near as possible to where the service enters the building. It sounds like what happened in your case is that the new electricians determi ned that because the service went under the house, that qualified as "entering the house", which would require a disconnect near that point and that they could not rely on the main panel one because it was too far away.
The more typical case is a meter on the outside, service conductors enter the building near there, main panel inside has the disconnect. You have maybe ~6ft of service conductors between the meter and panel. The disconne ct is the main breaker in the panel. The conductors between meter and panel don't have overcurrent protection. AFAIK that has been and continues to be code compliant. And AFAIK, outside, you can run those service conductor s, with no overcurrent protection as far as you need to.

It seems almost impossible to do it by mistake for several reasons. One is that it's very obvious. The other, the OP would have to let us know, but it sure sounds like the house was powered up at the time. To do it the way it was done, the electrician would either have to get the power company to remove/restore power or do it live.
How simple it is would depend I guess on what else there is that's wrong, like maybe the terminals are not rated for multiple conductors, etc.
Per gfre's post, we now know what code the present install does violate. And that's that there can be no more than 6 service disconnects and they must be grouped close by. So, unless the pool panel is near the existing outside disconnect, it fails that test.
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On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 2:51:03 PM UTC-5, trader_4 wrote:

This is nitpicking and might or might not get past an inspector.
But the way this is wired, with no upstream overcurrent protection, it is technically a feeder circuit up to the pool, where the branch circuits start.
They ARE grouped, and there are no more than 6 of them. Technically I think they are okay on this point.
Your point about wiring them hot is a good one.
What they need to do to fix this is install a combination overcurrent protection and disconnect means back at the first panel.
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On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 3:05:15 PM UTC-5, TimR wrote:

I don't think it's nitpicking. Per Gfre, they want all the service disconnects for a building to be located close to each other, visible together, etc.

No, it's wired ahead of the other disconnect. The pool panel and the house panel both are wired in identically, in parallel. I believe for it to be a feeder, it would have to be wired in *after* the main disconnect. The incoming service serves two main panels in parallel.

It's not the grouping in the pool panel that's the issue. Those are grouped. The grouping violation is if the pool panel is not located right near the other main disconnect that serves the house. Then you have several, ie the pool breakers, in one place and the other one for the rest of the house, in another. That's what would be a code violation.

Yes, that would fix it, assuming there is somthing that is actually a violation. But so far, if that pool panel is installed outside, next to the disconnect for the house panel, then from everything I see so far, there is no code violation. It's just not a good way of doing it.
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On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 2:51:03 PM UTC-5, trader_4 wrote: It

Ah. Now I remember.
No, the new electricians determined there was more than 10 feet between meter and panel. Under 10 feet, no protection required; over 10 feet, had to add the protection.
Wouldn't that apply to the pool as well? none of that feeder is protected.
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On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 3:26:53 PM UTC-5, TimR wrote:

Except that I don't believe the 10ft rule exists, at least in NEC. I think the code just says something to the effect that the service disconnect needs to be as close as possible to where the service conductors enter the building. That 10 ft rule could be the local interpretation of close.
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On Tue, 30 Dec 2014 09:05:24 -0800 (PST), trader_4

The problem is there can only be a total of 6 breakers to disconnect the entire service and they must be "grouped". You can't have one at the house panel and another in the pool panel any distance away. Essentially most inspectors see "grouped" to mean, right together (panels side by side) so you can stand in one spot and trip all 6 breakers. They also have to be labeled service disconnect.
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On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 1:51:03 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Hope they left a little slack in the conductor.

nything happens to that line you may dump 20,000 amps to ground, pretty lik ely burning down the house in the process.

K, thanks. Now we have something that defines the code problem. I know you can have more than one panel, paralleled off a single service. I didn't know the disconnects then need to be grouped together so that they are nearby. The only remaining question would be how far the pool panel is from the house panel. If by some chance it was right by the disconnect for the house, then it could still be kosher.
But I think we all agree that it's not typical to use a second main panel for a pool, even if you could make it code compliant and certainly not the way any of us would likely do it.
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