We are in the process of buying a home and as part of the home
inspection it was found there was not a main disconnet in the
electrical panel. The sellers agreed to have one installed. They
just sent us note from a contractor stating "The panel in question is
a spIit bus bar panel with a main breaker for lighting and
receptacles only. Although it is outdated it is not an unsafe system.
These panels were
used frequently in new construction through the 1970's. (The house was
built in 1982)
My question: Is this something that really should be updated? We have
2 small children plus my parents lost everything in an electrical
fire several years back so I am pretty concerned.
Any advice, thoughts, would be greatly appreciated.
But I don't think the seller is obligated to pay for it since split bus
panels are certainly code compliant.
It seems way to common anymore for "home inspectors" to decide that
everything should be as if it were done last week according to current
Like always, that depends on "location, location, location". The major
metro areas are all in the news now with the subprime lending fiasco
(where the rest of us are getting ready to be soaked to subsidize the
fools and greedy who signed up for all these mortgages they couldn't
afford :( ), but in other areas things are pretty much as they've always
That said, it's a negotiating point, agreed...
Problem is, it wasn't all "fools and greedy" signing up for mortgages
they couldn't afford per se, a lot of it was predatory lending. The bulk
of the people in trouble now were indeed making their mortgage payments
just fine when the interest rates were reasonable and only had trouble
when the greedy lenders raised those rates through the roof.
All that is necessary to eliminate the so called sub prime meltdown is
to implement an interest rate freeze / cap to punish the greedy lenders
while helping the consumer victims by allowing them to continue paying
their mortgage at sane rates.
The greedy lenders get slapped, but stay afloat due to the fact that
they'd still be receiving payments and still making a more reasonable
profit, the market stabilizes and the victims who had been making their
mortgage payments regularly get to keep their homes and not be further
Last year here, people were buying houses without even seeing it. Price
was going up by the day. Most were paying over the list price just to
get it. No time for inspection or such. Now that craze is cooling off.
My neighbor's house, ~2400 sqf 2 story built in 1994 at a cost of ~250K
was sold for 1.25 million 2 months ago. That is what hot economy brought
us, high inflation, high wages, extreme housing shortage, population
influx, increased crime rate, etc. I don't see anything exciting in it.
Anything can be negotiated. But it is just plain silly for "home
inspectors" to critique a property on current standards.
If someone is buying a used house they typically are already paying a
lower price than a comparable new house.
Here's a thought. Tell the current owner your concerns and that you want a
new panel installed. If it's to much offer to settle on a main disconnect,
installed, either inside or outside. Once the disconnect is installed it's
simple enough to swap in a new panel down the road.
You have some concern about the lack of a main breaker and the seller has
agreed to remedy this by installing a main breaker. What else do you need to
know? Are the sellers refusing to honor their word?
The problem with split buss panels is that at the time the NEC allowed up to
6 main disconnects in them. In the original installation there wouldn't be a
problem as the electrician calculated the load of the building and sized the
mains accordingly, the problems with split buss, multiple main panels arise
later, when other people, not always professionals add to the original
mains, without recalculating the entire building load, and possibly
overloading the main entrance feeder. This situation can't occur when the
entrance feeder has only one disconnect. In my opinion, it isn't a
violation, so I don't believe it's something the seller should be
responsible for paying for, however for my own peace of mind I would have a
professional do a load calculation, or have a single main disconnect
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