Home Inspection Beyond the Breaker Box and with Power On

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I first saw this when I was working at "The Fox Theater" I was told to leave a box cover off an electrical box. The foreman said.....That will be something easy to fix and it will make the inspector happy.
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I tried the leave easy to find troubles, FAILURE.......
the home inspector created issues to I guess justify his fee.
like a gas leak on a brand new water heater.
I had the control valve assembly replaced, the manufacturer sent one fast and free.
the plumber who installed it said it had no leak and was fine.
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On 11/01/2013 12:25 AM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I work live panels all the time...no big deal.
Now if you told me this clown was in your panel and wearing metal jewelry, wearing flammable poly* clothing and or not wearing safety glasses then I'd agree they're an idiot.
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On 11/1/2013 4:16 AM, morty wrote:

I work on any electrical equipment as though it was energized because it's good practice. It's very much like the admonition that all guns are loaded. ^_^
TDD
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On 11/1/2013 5:29 AM, The Daring Dufas wrote:

And, all rapper type teens are packing? Any teen with droopy drawers, hat on sideways, flashing gang hand signs. Got to be packing a nine.
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On Friday, November 1, 2013 7:39:34 AM UTC-5, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Doesn't sound like Stormy?
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On 11/1/2013 11:38 AM, Bob_Villa wrote:

50 plus, white, balding, wears belt and suspenders, hat on forward, when wearing one, no gang signs, no gang colors, doesn't wear sneakers or felony shoes.
You be dissin me, blood, I bust cap on yo ah.
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I have pulled panel covers from live panels its no biggie, if done carefully...
and even a main with the main breaker off still has power.........
if the home inspector hadnt pulled the cover what we be your thoughts about that?
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wrote:

My mains (both houses) are outside by the meter.

Being the seller, I'd just smile. Hell, the buyers of our other house didn't even hire an inspector.
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On Thu, 31 Oct 2013 21:25:28 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Sounds like he did his job. I'd have done it the same way. I was taught by a master electrician how to work in live panels. It is done all the time. I've changed out breakers with power on, etc.
He is not invasive, he is doing his job. He'd be remiss if he did not take the panel cover off. He also made a caution as many homeowners would try to do the fix themselves and could get hurt, thus the comment to get a licensed electrician.
Sounds like he did a good job.
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On Friday, November 1, 2013 5:52:25 AM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

inspector who takes off the breaker box cover off (not just opens the door to expose the breakers; he had to remove four screws to get the cover off) , exposes the wire connections, all the while keeping the main breaker shut and so the insides of the box remained electrically hot as he did a visual inspection and took photos? The breaker box has a prominent sticker in it that says to open the main breaker prior to removing the cover.

ician should be approached with caution. The power to the entire house shou ld be turned off prior to beginning any repair efforts, no matter how trivi al the repair may seem. ... Missing strain relief at panel. Have a licensed electrician make further evaluation and corrections as needed."

e ignored safe practices by not securing the power. Third that he would hav e the gall to make judgments on the sufficiency of the internals. Fourth th at he would go a step further and suggest he really does not know enough (s o what's he doing in there in the first place?); get a licensed electrician to evaluate.

+1
Yes, what he did was normal. As for taking the panel cover off without opening the main breaker, with most of the installed panels out there, it's still possible to touch the energized service connections at the top of the panel when taking the cover off. You could hit it with the metal panel cover if you're not careful or you could stick your finger in later up there if you're totally clueless. I've seen newer panels on the Holmes TV show where the upper part has it's own separate cover, that has to be removed in addition to the main cover. That sounds like a good idea. That way once the main is open, everything below, ie the regular breakers are de-energized. But I haven't actually seen one of those myself. Newest panels I've seen is circa 2007 or so era and those just had the typical one piece cover.
If you have the typical one piece cover, if you know what you're doing, there isn't an issue with taking it off without opening the main breaker. And if you don't know what you're doing, relying on opening the main breaker in the panel to prevent you from getting killed isn't sufficient. Open the main breaker, let the top of the panel go back inside the panel instead of removing it carefully straight out, and you could still be dead.
Whoever posted this either hasn't dealt with home inspectors before or used half-assed ones. I've used them on several occasions and they all did what this one did. Taking a look inside the breaker box is important because it's a common place to find dangerous stuff where homeowners or handymen, etc did all kinds of things wrong. Suggesting that a licensed pro, be it electrician, plumber, structural engineer, be called for further evaluation is also typical whenn the inspector spots something wrong. Part of that is CYA in the modern world.
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On Fri, 1 Nov 2013 05:24:18 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

That is the code in Canada.
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On Friday, November 1, 2013 10:58:27 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I see. I was wondering if it was a Canadian thing, since Holmes is the only place I've seen it. It does sound like a good idea to make them that way though. Then with the main off and taking off the main cover panel, there isn't anything energized someone going to put in a breaker, or just poking around could touch. Of course, I guess you could say if you know what you're doing, it's easy to avoid doing that anyway. And if you're not, you shouldn't be in there to begin with.....
Now if someone could explain why on almost all the Homes shows up there in Canada, they put the frigging panel in sideways instead of vertical..... Seems really, really dumb to me.
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On 11/1/2013 9:40 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The top of the panel has a covered area (around the service conductors), as you posted.
Apparently you can not run any other circuits through that area. That means the wiring has to run down the side of the panel and come in the lower side (which you see sometimes on Holmes). They apparently think it is easier to install the panel horizontally and bring the wires in the side, which is now on top.
You can't install a panel horizontally here. If a circuit breaker is installed vertically, "on" must be up. Half the breaker positions would be wrong.
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bud-- wrote:

I am not sure what you meant by "here". But, if "here" means the U.S., I think that the panel can be installed horizontally (although I personally hate that).
And, although I am not completely sure, I think that the code (NEC) says that the panel can be horizontal but the main service disconnect (main breaker) has to be installed such that "On" is "Up" and "Off" is "Down". I don't think that applies to each breaker -- just the main service disconnect switch.
The reason why I think that is that I recently had an electrician install two new service panels. He put them both in upside down, with the main breaker on the bottom and all of the individual breakers above the main breaker. I hated that, but I looked it up and apparently that was within code. I never thought to even ask about right side up or upside down since I never saw one that was upside down. However, for my own sanity (or neurosis), I had the electrician change the panels to what I consider to be right side up -- the main breaker on top and the individual breakers below the main breaker.
And, the reason why I mention this is that I am pretty sure that I was when researching this I found that the code does allow a horizontal panel as long as the main breaker's "On" position is "Up" and "Off" position is "Down".
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On 11/1/2013 11:21 AM, TomR wrote:

"404.7 Indicating General-use ... switches, circuit breakers, ... shall clearly indicate whether they are in the open (off) or closed (on) position. Where these switch or circuit breaker handles are operated vertically rather than rotationally or horizontally, the up position of the handle shall be the (on) position."
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bud-- wrote:

Thanks Bud. Looks like you are right. I guess I didn't remember correctly what I had researched before.
Here are the NEC citations that I just found that appear to be applicable:
404.1 Scope. The provisions of this article shall apply to
all switches, switching devices, and circuit breakers where
used as switches.
404.7 Indicating. General-use and motor-circuit switches,
circuit breakers, and molded case switches, where mounted
in an enclosure as described in 404.3, shall clearly indicate
whether they are in the open (off) or closed (on) position.
Where these switch or circuit breaker handles are operated
vertically rather than rotationally or horizontally, the
up position of the handle shall be the (on) position.
Exception No. 1: Vertically operated double-throw
switches shall be permitted to be in the closed (on) position
with the handle in either the up or down position.
Exception No. 2: On busway installations, tap switches
employing a center-pivoting handle shall be permitted to be
open or closed with either end of the handle in the up or
down position. The switch position shall be clearly indicating
and shall be visible from the floor or from the usual
point of operation.
404.11 Circuit Breakers as Switches. A hand-operable
circuit breaker equipped with a lever or handle, or a poweroperated
circuit breaker capable of being opened by hand in
the event of a power failure, shall be permitted to serve as
a switch if it has the required number of poles.
FPN: See the provisions contained in 240.81 and 240.83.
ARTICLE 240-OVERCURRENT PROTECTION
240.33 Vertical Position. Enclosures for overcurrent devices
shall be mounted in a vertical position unless that is
shown to be impracticable. Circuit breaker enclosures shall be
permitted to be installed horizontally where the circuit breaker
is installed in accordance with 240.81. Listed busway plug-in
units shall be permitted to be mounted in orientations corresponding
to the busway mounting position.
VII. Circuit Breakers
240.80 Method of Operation. Circuit breakers shall be
trip free and capable of being closed and opened by manual
operation. Their normal method of operation by other than
manual means, such as electrical or pneumatic, shall be
permitted if means for manual operation are also provided.
240.81 Indicating. Circuit breakers shall clearly indicate
whether they are in the open "off" or closed "on" position.
Where circuit breaker handles are operated vertically
rather than rotationally or horizontally, the "up" position of
the handle shall be the "on" position.
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TomR wrote:

P.S. I think I may have been confused in the past by the last citation (240.33), the last line of which says, "Listed busway plug-in units shall be permitted to be mounted in orientations corresponding to the busway mounting position."
I think I assumed that meant that "listed busway plug-in units" (circuit breakers?) could be mounted in the orientation that corresponds to how they are plugged into the busbar.
But, I may have been misunderstanding what that sentence means since it seems to conflict with the sentence before it.
ARTICLE 240-OVERCURRENT PROTECTION
240.33 Vertical Position. Enclosures for overcurrent devices shall be mounted in a vertical position unless that is shown to be impracticable. Circuit breaker enclosures shall be permitted to be installed horizontally where the circuit breaker is installed in accordance with 240.81. Listed busway plug-in units shall be permitted to be mounted in orientations corresponding to the busway mounting position.
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On 11/1/2013 12:25 AM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Sorry it wasn't what you expected to see. I've had a lot of panel boxes open, while still hot. The missing strain relief (probably what we fondly called Romex connector) is important. Helps keep the sharp edge of the panel box from wearing through the wire. I had such a situation with the furnace in my trailer. Noticed it after I'd been here for a few years.
--
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Christopher A. Young
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On Friday, November 1, 2013 8:44:40 AM UTC-4, Stormin Mormon wrote:

e inspector who takes off the breaker box cover off (not just opens the doo r to expose the breakers; he had to remove four screws to get the cover off ), exposes the wire connections, all the while keeping the main breaker shu t and so the insides of the box remained electrically hot as he did a visua l inspection and took photos? The breaker box has a prominent sticker in it that says to open the main breaker prior to removing the cover.

rician should be approached with caution. The power to the entire house sho uld be turned off prior to beginning any repair efforts, no matter how triv ial the repair may seem. ... Missing strain relief at panel. Have a license d electrician make further evaluation and corrections as needed."

he ignored safe practices by not securing the power. Third that he would ha ve the gall to make judgments on the sufficiency of the internals. Fourth t hat he would go a step further and suggest he really does not know enough ( so what's he doing in there in the first place?); get a licensed electricia n to evaluate.



+1
How did this strange post wind up as 4 separate threads? I don't seen the original, just other threads started by various folks who responded to it.
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