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Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

[Electrical] New electrical panel failed inspection

I had an electrical panel fail inspection based simply on what I feel is an inspector having nothing to nitpick at. Here are the notes:

2 pole breaker for 3 wire circuit. Ok, have no idea what this means, but fine, at least it's electrical in nature.

grounding rods are sticking out of the ground too much (they are literally barely visible from the ground). Really?!? There is mulch in that area, it erodes! Do the rods need to be a foot underground or something?

Drywall under the panel needs to be replaced. This one is my favorite one. Who the f&(*&k cares if I have drywall under the panel?!? How is that part of the electrical inspection? There is literally a foot of drywall missing, but because you can see the wires leaving the panel there, has to be covered up.

Is this normal?!? What if my garage wasn't finished at all, how would I cover up the wires then?!?

Sorry for the rant, just too pissed off right now.

billybob2

join:2003-07-23
Moline, IL

[Electrical] Re: New electrical panel failed inspection

The drywall one is to prevent damage to the wires leaving the panel. My general understanding is that if you want to have exposed wiring such as what you're describing, it has to be within conduit to protect it from damage. So in your unfinished garage scenario, the wiring would need to be in conduit.

garys_2k
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Farmington, MI
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reply to Dodge
said by Dodge:

2 pole breaker for 3 wire circuit.

Is it three phase service? If so, using a 2-pole breaker is a huge mistake. If not, then I'm missing something -- AFAIK you never switch the neutral with a breaker.

kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL

1 recommendation

reply to Dodge
I know that plumbing inspectors here love to nitpick stuff when a homeowner does their own plumbing. It gives them a sense of purpose to write out the red tags ...


pende_tim
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Andover, NJ
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reply to billybob2
In my basement there is no drywall and romex leaves the top of the panel and heads to the joists. The romex is exposed throughout the whole basement.

Possibly this is allowed since the romex is on top of the panel and not able to be damaged easily? (Protected by location?)
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.


pende_tim
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Andover, NJ
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reply to garys_2k
Possibly a shared neutral circuit?
said by garys_2k:

2 pole breaker for 3 wire circuit.

--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

garys_2k
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Farmington, MI
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reply to pende_tim
said by pende_tim:

In my basement there is no drywall and romex leaves the top of the panel and heads to the joists.

No need for protection if above a certain height where damage is likely to occur. NM below that does require additional protection, usually conduit or a layer of drywall.

garys_2k
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Farmington, MI
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reply to pende_tim
said by pende_tim:

Possibly a shared neutral circuit?

I thought about that, but the neutral is still not behind a breaker AFAIK. A shared neutral should only carry the difference in current between the two hots, and in no case should that exceed the current drawn by the higher of the two.

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to billybob2
said by billybob2:

The drywall one is to prevent damage to the wires leaving the panel. My general understanding is that if you want to have exposed wiring such as what you're describing, it has to be within conduit to protect it from damage. So in your unfinished garage scenario, the wiring would need to be in conduit.

There is enough exposed romex all over the house including the garage, but that doesn't seem to phase him, it's the area right outside of the panel that seems to bother him.

billybob2

join:2003-07-23
Moline, IL

1 edit
reply to pende_tim
said by pende_tim:

In my basement there is no drywall and romex leaves the top of the panel and heads to the joists. The romex is exposed throughout the whole basement.

Possibly this is allowed since the romex is on top of the panel and not able to be damaged easily? (Protected by location?)

I would say yes, it's likely your romex out of the top of your panel is protected by location. I didn't mean to imply that it's never acceptable to have exposed romex, at my house I have plenty of romex in the basement through the ceiling joists through holes drilled in the joists. My understanding is that it's acceptable to have exposed romex through the ceiling joists, but not acceptable to have it attached to the bottom of the joists (at least where I live anyway).

In any case, I'm not even close to an electrical expert (but I have stayed at a holiday inn express before), and I'm sure Nunya or someone else here who sees these items every day will come through and set it all straight.

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to garys_2k
said by garys_2k:

No need for protection if above a certain height where damage is likely to occur. NM below that does require additional protection, usually conduit or a layer of drywall.

When I get home I'll put a piece of drywall up and just to be completely annoying put a "high voltage" caution sign on top of it.

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to billybob2
said by billybob2:

Perhaps the comment about the 3-wire circuit attached to a 2-pole breaker is identifying that someone simply used a 2-pole breaker when a single-pole breaker was all that was needed (and simply has nothing connected to one of the poles of the breaker).

No idea what he meant or which breaker he was referring to (I wasn't home at the time of inspection). The electrician is coming back tomorrow to look at it.


DataDoc
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Martinsburg, WV
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reply to Dodge
said by Dodge:

just to be completely annoying put a "high voltage" caution sign on top of it.

Yeah, that a good idea. Why not poke him in the eye with a stick while you're at it?

If I were you I'd just fix the things that failed and move on.
--
"Scientifically, no single episode of extreme weather, no storm, no flood, no drought can be said to have been caused by global climate change." - White House science adviser John P. Holdren


nunya
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O Fallon, MO
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reply to Dodge
Ground rods: Inspector is correct.

Drywall: If there is drywall around the panel, there must not be a gap in the lid. If the missing drywall = a gap on the bottom, then +1 for the inspector.

The breaker: I'd like to see a picture. In many cases, a 2-pole breaker is required on a MWBC. Not sure why he'd be knocking you for having one.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
How much can the grounding rods stick out? The picture of the panel is attached

LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1
is this a subpanel or a main panel? your ground lugs are confusing me

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
said by LittleBill:

is this a subpanel or a main panel? your ground lugs are confusing me

Main.

LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1
how is the lower ground buss tied into the ground? i don't see a connection maybe a bad angle.

is he moaning about the gang breaker in the lower right of the panel?

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
said by LittleBill:

is he moaning about the gang breaker in the lower right of the panel?

Honestly I don't know, wasn't there when the inspector was there.


tschmidt
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Milford, NH
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reply to Dodge
said by Dodge:

2 pole breaker for 3 wire circuit.

Judging by the black/red wiring on the right hand side the top two circuits and 8/9 are MWBC. As nunya See Profile posted those circuits must be protected by a two pole breaker. The reason is if a single pole breaker is used and someone opens the neutral full line voltage from the other phase will be on the neutral, resulting in a shock hazard.

Interesting that AFCIs are not required for a service entrance upgrade.

/tom


mackey
Premium
join:2007-08-20
kudos:12
Also, that conduit/blue wires... There are 2 blue, 1 black, 1 white and 1 green wire going into that conduit. If that neutral is shared between the blue and black circuits that could also be the problem.

/M


mackey
Premium
join:2007-08-20
kudos:12
reply to LittleBill
said by LittleBill:

how is the lower ground buss tied into the ground? i don't see a connection maybe a bad angle.

It's bolted to the steel box which is connected to the other ground/neutral bus.

/M

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to tschmidt
said by tschmidt:

said by Dodge:

2 pole breaker for 3 wire circuit.

Judging by the black/red wiring on the right hand side the top two circuits and 8/9 are MWBC. As nunya See Profile posted those circuits must be protected by a two pole breaker. The reason is if a single pole breaker is used and someone opens the neutral full line voltage from the other phase will be on the neutral, resulting in a shock hazard.

Interesting that AFCIs are not required for a service entrance upgrade.

/tom

Are you referring to the bottom most breaker on the right column? That goes to the pool timer. Am I going to have to rewire the whole pool timer then, because I'm pretty sure the electrician is not going to mess with the pool timer for free.


tschmidt
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said by Dodge:

Are you referring to the bottom most breaker on the right column?

No, the two directly above it.

The pool circuit (grey wires) already has a two-pole breaker.

/tom

iknow_t

join:2012-05-03

1 edit
reply to Dodge
the 2 pole breaker for 3 wire circuit is referring to the breaker on the bottom right having two poles connected, and the circuit also has another wire connected to a breaker on the bottom left side.. but there's only ONE neutral..


Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY
reply to mackey
Those wires coming out of the conduit to look a little strange to say the least. I'm sure that something that the inspector cited. The red and black is connected to 2 adjacent breakers also looks like it's a possible point of concern. Your electrician should be able to tell you what's going on in corrected for you quite easily. The sheet rock is certainly going to be simple, to meet code it doesn't even need to be mud and taped. As mentioned earlier the sign is going to get you no place in May cause more problems.
--
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nunya
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reply to Dodge
Two out of three of the inspectors gripes are legit. In this case, it's not really the electricians job to deal with the drywall. I would have probably mounted the panel a little more proud to make the drywall a non-issue. Or maybe used a "surface" type box instead (wrap around lid).

The code violations are 312.3 and 312.4, The ground rod is 250.53(A)(1), 250.52(A)(5), and 110.12

The ground rods can stick out 0. Their heads should be under ground.
Ground rods that stick up are a trip hazard. The get "found" by weed eaters and lawn mowers. Often, the ground is accidentally broken or disconnected over time causing a safety hazard.

I can't figure out WTF he's complaining about being on a 2-pole breaker. Ask him to clarify. Maybe he's bitching about a MWBC that needs a 2-pole breaker (or handle ties).

Never have liked SQD panels. A new 200A panel with only 28 spaces seems so wasteful.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
said by nunya:

The ground rod is 250.53(A)(1), 250.52(A)(5), and 110.12

The ground rods can stick out 0. Their heads should be under ground.
Ground rods that stick up are a trip hazard.

This is where I would disagree with the code completely. If you didn't trip over 2 bushes, a tree, a Verizon cable and a sump pump pipe while trying to get to where the grounds are, you are probably not going to trip over those either. Additionally, there is mulch all over that area, it erodes, should I drive the rods a foot underground?

said by nunya:

Often, the ground is accidentally broken or disconnected over time causing a safety hazard.

isn't that why there are 3 grounds? 2 rods and a water meter, so even if one gets severed, there is no safety hazard?

said by nunya:

I would have probably mounted the panel a little more proud to make the drywall a non-issue. Or maybe used a "surface" type box instead (wrap around lid).

Not that I was offered a surface mount, but I wouldn't have agreed to one either way. I still can't wrap my head as to why it matters. The wires are insulated and are not on the floor, it's not like something will happen to them from being exposed. It's not that it's hard to put up drywall, I just don't think that's a good reason to fail a panel.

joewho
Premium
join:2004-08-20
Dundee, IL
The upper wires can't fall out due to gravity. The lower wires can. Same principle as mounting gfci upside down.

garys_2k
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reply to Dodge
said by Dodge:

isn't that why there are 3 grounds? 2 rods and a water meter, so even if one gets severed, there is no safety hazard?

Not really, it's to reduce grounding impedance. Having multiple grounds does improve safety, but keeping the tops of the rods buried improves it more.

Just have them put in deeper and don't worry about it. I'm actually surprised the electrician didn't take care of them in the first place.