Is a UL listing mandatory for specialized electrical equipment?

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We have one inspector in this jurisdiction who's a real SOB. Some of them like to go beyond checking for a safe installation and wander into the harrassment zone. Of course, when I grew up in NYC the inspectors would pretty openly solicit bribes, so I guess it could always be worse. (-:]
Apparently at least some NYC inspectors are following in the grand old tradition:
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/hophead-housing-inspector-big-house-bribes-article-1.1549898
--
Bobby G.



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On Thu, 6 Mar 2014 11:34:55 -0500, "Robert Green"

I can honestly say bribes are very rare around here. I have never heard about it from the inspector side, nor has my wife from the builder side.
I guess bribing inspectors to overlook violations still does not keep the lawyers away and there are to many ways to seek recourse if the inspector is just making up a violation to get a bribe.
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<stuff snipped>

I think it's mostly a big city problem. My Chicagoland friend tells me his dad used to leave folded $20s stuck in places the inspector was sure to find and they always disappeared without comment but with final approval stickers.

The guy in the Daily News article was a junkie so it's apparent that the inspection bureau's a little lax in inspecting their own workers.
A long, LONG time ago when I worked installing restaurant software systems, the DC inspectors were notorious for taking bribes because even a day's shutdown could have such serious consequences for the owners. A lot of it was "iffy" sort of stuff that a different inspector could easily overlook. I'm betting that the world of microcameras and video recorders have really slowed down the inspectors that take bribes because once you get one of them on film taking money, you basically own them. (-: For every tall wall, there's a taller ladder somewhere.
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Bobby G.



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On Thu, 6 Mar 2014 20:07:45 -0500, "Robert Green"

From what I've seen it's mostly the contractors using codes to threaten bringing the inspector's down on you. Then they work together. I was somewhat involved back in the late '70's when Mirage was going on. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirage_Tavern Kid across burned his garage down when his motorcycle caught on fire. It burned my garages and took out an electrical service leg to my 2-flat. Com Ed said I needed a new service before they could do the new leg. My service was a 30-amp fuse box from the '20's. That got the inspection dept involved. The inspector was okay. He walked through the basement, pointed out a couple things to fix. A hanging light and an uncovered junction box. He very pointedly said "I'm not going upstairs." And then he repeated it. Of course codes required a lot more outlets in the intervening 50 years. I couldn't afford to rehab my entire electrical. The inspector at least suspected that.
Then I began calling contractors. I liked the first guy. Just trusted him as honest. Wanted $500 for the job. The second contractor gave me a cost almost twice a high. $900. I told him about the first estimate and asked why his price was so much higher. He said the guy wasn't licensed, and bought his permits. He was pretty "outraged" about it.
After thinking briefly about the cost of inspector problems I decided to go with him. An outfit called McCoy electric. I called the first guy up and told him, and told him what McCoy had said. He admitted he wasn't licensed, but said the work would be legal and pass inspection. I told him I wasn't taking chances. I called McCoy back and he said he'd come over, and he did. Riding a new Honda Goldwing. So he wants to go upstairs. I told him the inspector wasn't going upstairs. He wasn't hearing me, and started talking about his "reputation" and insisted on checking out the 2 apartments upstairs. Didn't matter to him the inspector wasn't going upstairs.
I got hot at him trying to inflate the job beyond what he done already with his price, and told him we're done, and I swear to God I had to chase him out the front door. He was hot too, but backed away.
I went right to the phone and called the first guy - 5th Avenue Electric - back and told him he had the job. He was surprised, said he thought he "lost me." Tell you the truth, I still had misgivings until he came out and explained some things to me about permits. I wasn't worried about the inspector. Solid and meant what he said.
Anyway he and some of his brothers did the job in a day, including some extra work upstairs fishing wire to new boxes and adding some wall switches. One new circuit. $25 a box with me doing the plaster. I didn't have the extra $300 or so. He just said pay me when you have it. He did borrow some books from me, but returned them before I paid him off. Camping books. We both had an interest in that. They were 11 brothers in the business their dad started years ago. The city had pulled their license because they wouldn't "cooperate." They had no problem getting permits. Their licensed friends pulled them. Funny. You only need to be licensed to pull permits, not to do the work. The dad was wearing a wire for the feds, but his kid was mum about that. Mike Royko featured him in a column about a year later when the scandal broke, praising him. The inspector didn't go up upstairs.
You know, I didn't like that McCoy prick as soon as I saw that Goldwing. Gave me bad vibes. OTOH, I had the service in this house upgraded in '98 so I could install central air. Got about 3 estimates. The third guy pulls up in a Mercedes. I asked him why he's driving a Mercedes to an estimate. He explained it was a "classic," and he got it cheap from his girlfriend's mom, and he liked driving it. Young guy, strong and a hustler. He was low bidder and he got the job. Threw in an extra circuit.
Unless the inspection department gets involved, such as a service, I don't get permits. But I want it checked by a licensed guy. For plumbing I just do it. But I check the codes.
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It's been a long time since anyone mentioned the Mirage sting operation. Caught a lot of fish.
<< The series was initially awarded the Pulitzer Prize for general reporting, but the jury's decision was overturned by the Pulitzer board when editor Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post led an attack on the grounds that the reporters used undercover reporting, a form of deception, to report the story>> Wow! An incredible piece of reporting that peeled back the skin of corruption and Bradlee whines like a baby. At least that confirms what my journo friends who worked at the WP said: "BB was a dick." He put his no-talent wife in as an editor, bypassing much better qualified people who had been in line for years, to howls of derision. You can read about his Boston blueblood heritage here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Bradlee

I lived in that house!

I think they're like cops in that they're allowed to ignore things that are not in "plain sight" as they go about their duties. But as I said elsewhere, some can be nice and others are real SOB's with some sort of axe to grind. Some, like the one who bedeviled my friend in another county, seem to believe homeowners should NOT do their own work.
<stuff snipped throughout>

It always upsets me when the deltas between estimates are so great. You just gotta wonder.
<stuff snipped>

Some guys are legitimately concerned about their reputations and don't want to do what they beleive are half-assed jobs. I probably would have wanted to "go upstairs" (sounds like a Monty Python skit!) myself just to get the whole lay of the land. But by this time he had already given off bad vibes so I see why it bothered you.

Nothing like wondering if you're going to have to draw down on a "houseguest" like that. Had it happen once with someone who actually refused to leave. Apparently some people don't know the rules concerning visitors to private property and that when asked to leave, they have to or else very bad things can happen. To them.
I had one guy who refused to leave arrested. I called the cops and told them I had an "unwelcome guest" and he was stupid enough to refuse an order from the cops to leave when they arrived. I should be clear that it wasn't a contractor, but a neighbor in the middle of a serious domestic dispute. I may have my reservations about handing CCW's out like M&M's, but I strongly believe in the castle doctine. Don't Fu& With Me on My Home Turf.

Kewl. It's sometimes amazing how fast you can establish a rapport with people - or an intense dislike. I think 100K years of evolution have helped us quickly establish friend from foe.

Like the Czech brothers who built my family's second new house. I have a friend with six brothers (and no sisters) who are all pretty handy and they can do incredible amounts of work in one session because they work like clones and they all help each other. Ironically, when he had his own family he had four daughters and no sons.

For every tall wall, someone's got a taller ladder. (-:

I would be too, especially in Chicago or New York where the mob's likely to have a finger in the pie, if not a whole fist.

Ah, yes. A Chicago legend who told Rupert Murdoch his papers weren't fit to wrap fish.

I hear you. I had the first dual skinny inspected simply because my wife demanded we do it by the book. Once she figured out that I wasn't going to burn the house down she relaxed. We techies often forget how non-technical people react to stuff like wiring. They've been warned since they were toddlers about how dangerous electricity is.
My wife was reluctant to even open the breaker panel door to reset a tripped breaker - until I showed her how well insulated things are on the outside compared to the dangers that lurk within. She saw bare copper ground wires touching each other and got freaked out all over again because she thought they shouldn't be touching - or bare. I eventually was able to explain stuff but she's still queasy about the ground wires being connected to the neutral wires coming from the pole.
--
Bobby G.




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On Fri, 7 Mar 2014 10:27:00 -0500, "Robert Green"

The guy was trying to inflate the work I called him to do. When an inspector says I'm not going upstairs, that's it. Common with old buildings just needing a new service. Jesus, if new codes were enforced on old buildings it would never end.

Sounds like fun. Only other time it happened was with an insurance salesman. The guy actually walked into the open front door from the vestibule to the living room, while a birthday party for my little daughter was going on. I was like WTF, who are you? He still tried to sell me insurance. Again, like the electrical contractor, he couldn't take "no" for an answer, and I came close to using physical force to remove him. Unbelievable.

The Daily News was the worst of the Chicago papers in terms of coverage. I subscribed to read Royko.

I'm not technical enough to know what "dual skinny" is. Haven't read this entire thread.

I've got 2-wire here. When I had a plumber replace my lift system pump, I knew enough to tell him I wouldn't trust the switch, and asked if he didn't want me to turn off the breaker. Naw, its okay. Until he got zapped. Wired backwards. I don't trust switches.
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On Fri, 07 Mar 2014 12:13:57 -0600, Vic Smith

With a home insurance salesman, you say, "I want to show you this problem with the sidewalk, or drain" and when you two get outside, you go back inside.

I read Royko too when I lived in Chcago.
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On Fri, 7 Mar 2014 10:27:00 -0500, "Robert Green"

My advice, and it applies to girls too when a guy won't leave, is to say, "I have to call a buddy" or "I have to call a my friend, Sue", but really call 911. One can dial 4 or 7 more numbers after 911 and it won't change anything, I'm sure. And the first thing out of one's mouth when on the phone should be the name and an identifier or descriptor (like, the guy who lives two doors down), in case he takes the phone away and starts to hit you, before you get to the part of the sentence with his name., but as one were talking to a friend and not the police. Don't do this with speakerphone and hold the phone close to the ear so he probably won't hear.
"Joe Blip is here, the guy who works at Western Electric, and he's blah blah. Maybe if you came over and he could tell us/show us both at the same time, he'd feel his visit was worthwhile" or whatever.
In the movies, the girl always turns her back on the guy who won't leave, and that makes sense if she's going to say, "Can you send a policeman here right now" but if one uses code, she can face the intruder and dodge him when he starts to strangle her.

Wow

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wrote:

Before you get too macho about what you can do about a stranger who won't leave after you invite them in. my friend did 7 years on a Maryland murder beef for fighting with a guy who wouldn't leave. He was supposed to call the cops and/or run away.
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I hope you noticed in both my and Micky's response that calling the cops is of the utmost importance. It's the difference between what Zimmerman did and Dunn, the loud music shooter did NOT do. Zimmerman was acquitted, Dunn was convicted.
I don't know the circumstances of your friend, but I can't help but wonder if he had a public defender or some seriously bad legal representation. Once the police (and the guest) are made aware that the guest is no longer wanted, the guest's legal position deteriorates, especially if on the 911 recording the guest is clearly quite belligerent in his refusal to leave.
Could I have just gunned him down in cold blood for refusing to leave? Sure, but I would be guilty of murder. Would I be guilty of murder if he came at me with a heavy bowling trophy he picked up from the shelf before I shot him? Probably not. Would I be guilty of murder if I put the trophy in his dead hand after I killed him in cold blood? Morally, but I would be legally very hard to convict if no one saw me do it.
In Maryland, IIRC, you can't (usually) meet non-lethal force WITH greater (lethal) force. But there are exceptions. I am not sure of the details of your friend's case, but when you're in your own home, at least in Maryland, the duty to retreat does not apply. If you're elderly and crippled by arthritis, for example, the duty to retreat also does not apply even outside the home.
<<Maryland also follows the common law rule that, outside of one's home, a person, before using deadly force in self-defense, has the duty "'to retreat or avoid danger if such means were within his power and consistent with his safety.'" DeVaughn v. State, 232 Md. 447, 453, 194 A.2d 109, 112 (1963), cert. denied, 376 U.S. 527 (1964), quoting Bruce v. State, 218 Md. 87, 97, 145 A.2d 428, 433 (1958)>>
<<The duty to retreat also does not apply if one is attacked in one's own home. "[A] man faced with the danger of an attack upon his dwelling need not retreat from his home to escape the danger, but instead may stand his ground and, if necessary to repel the attack, may kill the attacker." Crawford v. State, 231 Md. 354, 361, 190 A.2d 538, 541 (1963)>>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_of_self-defense_in_Maryland
In my case I had no real duty to retreat and I had pretty certain knowledge that he had just seriously beaten his wife and was acting as if he meant to finish the job (she was hiding upstairs with my wife).
The prudent thing was to wait for the cops, who came quickly and once they examined his driver's license and determined he had no legal right to be there, told him to leave. When he said "you can't tell me what to do on private property" the two cops lifted him straight out of the chair, one on each arm and then dragged him out to the patrol car where they homogenized him a bit before handcuffing him and taking him away to be booked - not for trespassing but resisting arrest, a much more serious crime.
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Not *too* many, I hope. (-:

Who among the home automators out there doesn't? NOW I remember why I have been reluctant to schedule an inspection. I had installed Hall-effect sensors on the incoming mains to monitor power usage in real time. I am pretty sure they'll never pass inspection. But they are quite useful since they forced new remote-readable power meters on us without a spinning disk or any other way to monitor real time usage. )-:

The plastic box the XTB-II comes will melt but shouldn't burn. Stuff that into a metal panel box and I can't see that it could cause much damage. Wiring up a 240 outlet right near the circuit panel and using a 240VAC plug to connect the device is a good alternative, though. I did that at the start for several reasons - I was comparing the XTB-II to the XPCR and the ACT units so I mounted all of them on 240VAC twist lock plugs so I could switch them out for test purposes. If you have an existing dryer outlet, you could install it there. The length of wire back to the panel will attenuate the signal a little, but not much.
I want to use the XTB-II outlet for a welder now, so I am looking to permanently mount the XTB-II because there's not much reason to have it connected to the outlet anymore. It's proved quite reliable and I learned what I needed to know from the testing - the other devices can't hold a candle to the XTB-II because of the 25V signal it puts out compared to 5 to 9 volts for the other units.
Good luck, Art.
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On Wednesday, February 26, 2014 5:21:31 AM UTC-6, Robert Green wrote:

. Will my AHJ freak out because it's not UL listed? TIA, -- Bobby G.
I would be most concerned about my insurance policy and what it says, if an ything, about connecting Non-UL stuff to my powerlines. If there was a fire , somehow related to an X10 individual controller, or worse still to the ma in X10 controller/extender, I think the insurance company could give you a pretty hard time on any claims.
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On Wednesday, February 26, 2014 5:21:31 AM UTC-6, Robert Green wrote:

Will my AHJ freak out because it's not UL listed? TIA, -- Bobby G.
<I would be most concerned about my insurance policy and what it says, if anything, about connecting Non-UL stuff to my powerlines. If there was a fire, somehow related to an X10 individual controller, or worse still to the main X10 controller/extender, I think the insurance company could give you a pretty hard time on any claims.>
An interesting point. Not sure if it's true (I'll look later) but some sites claim that the new smart meters aren't UL listed. I will take a look at my policy just to be sure. Thanks.
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On 3/2/2014 12:23 PM, Robert Green wrote:

The NEC used to have language about parts being "listed". Now parts have to be "approved", which is defined as "acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction" (the dreaded AHJ). The AHJ can look to see if the parts are "listed" or "labeled" as meeting an acceptable standard as tested by an acceptable testing laboratory.
The change in language was likely to get the NEC out of decisions about which testing laboratories are acceptable.
The AHJ can use their discretion to accept parts that are not listed or labeled The NEC has a list of some of the considerations for whether a part is acceptable.

Utility wiring is explicitly not covered by the NEC. The meter is a little funny because, for overhead distribution, the riser and meter socket are owned by the building owner and inspected. Since the meter is owned by the utility I would guess the inspector would ignore it.
I think if an installation was passed by the AHJ an insurance company would have trouble denying coverage. And I would think it would have to be rather blatant to allow non-coverage. [Maybe installing a subpanel?]
If I remember right, you said the link between legs had a fuse. Fuses in power circuits should be rated for the available fault current where they are located. The fuse for this is probably "supplementary", and that probably doesn't apply. I would like to have a fuse that does comply. The available fault current at a panel is likely 5,000-10,000A. Fuses with that short circuit rating are quite available. Glass 3AG type fuses aren't likely a good choice, don't know what you have.
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I always hear these stories about insurance "might be" denied for unlicensed work but I think it is bullshit. Most fires in homes are caused by people doing something stupid and they still get paid.
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On 3/3/2014 3:08 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

There was a fairly recent thread here about a fire in CA where an architect was prosecuted and convicted for installing a fireplace very wrong, and after he told the building inspector there would be no fireplace. Some firemen may have died in the fire??
Wonder if the insurance paid on that one.
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wrote:

I think all bets are off if you end up killing someone. In those cases insurers probably feel pretty safe in questioning the claim without fearing being penalized by the state insurance commission. It also elevates the situation to being investigated by a government agency. They're likely to be seen by the commission and the courts as far more impartial than an insurance investigator.
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When I worked doing litigation support for several DC law firms, insurers were reluctant to deny claims because of the potential penalties imposed by the insurance commission. However, they were more than happy to subrogate. That means after they paid the homeowner/business owner they then went after any party they believed had contributed to the fire, especially those with deep pockets.
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All of this is leading me to want to leave the unit as a plug in and simply install another 240VAC outlet for the welder downstream of the one that serves the coupler/repeater.

But that still creates an interesting dilemma if the insurer insists all things electrical must be UL listed. Excluding the device that supplies power to the whole house would seem a glaring exception.

You bad dog. (-; You do realize you've opened Pandora's box - again.

I'm kind of embarrassed to say that during beta testing when I noticed no fuses in the design of the repeater I insisted that an unlisted piece of equipment *should* have some sort of internal fusing, if only to show a concern for safety in the design. Jeff told me the worst damage he had seen was an improperly connected coupler where the traces had lifted off the circuit board. Now the fuses pop instead. (-:
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Another example is a water heater. Most are replaced without a permit, most AHJs think they need one. I have even heard CBOs saying they wish Home Depot (et al) would be required to see a permit and record the number before they sold one
Please elucide -what are AHJ's and CBO's? The acronyms that I normally use don't have those included
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