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Backfed Service Panel


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Todays was a 65 year old farmhouse. Panel was in bathroom, partially hidden by a wall. Top 2 screws were under drywall and not accessible. No matter, they had left them out anyway. Only about 1/2 the breakers were labeled. The panel was located overtop the toilet so did not provide the required working area.

Although the panel was rated to be a service panel, they back fed the panel from a 60 amp breaker in the bottom right corner. 60 amp overhead service to meter and then to the "service panel".

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The seller met me in the driveway. Asked if I knew home inspector XXX. "He did a prelisting inspection on this house and we fixed everything he found." I mentioned I did not know XXX. Seller goes on to say that she told him that the next inspector would probably find some minor thing he overlooked. She wanted to rub his nose in it but then she goes on to say inspector XXX is dead and she will not get the chance!

The seller is also the listing agent and her husband is a contractor/handyman. Lets just say I stumbled across more than a few "minor" issues with home besides the electrial.

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That's a funny one, "Do you know so-and-so? Well, he's dead, anyhoo".

I think I see black wires going to the neutral bus. Yep, that's a good one for an electrician to check over and repair.

I don't know if it is actually forbidden to backfeed a panel like that if you really want to. Of course, we expect to see at least 100 amps nowadays, so I will always call for a service upgrade if it's only 60 amps.

The location is another question. The panel appears to be mounted on what may have been an exterior wall? I see some drop siding there. Was the panel there before the toilet? I guess it doesn't matter, anyhoo. [:)]

It looks like you turned power off to remove the deadfront. Good idea if you can do it without repercussions. Oh right, you were leaning over a toilet and inspecting a farmer's electricals. [:)]

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Yeah that is exterior siding. The once side porch had been converted into a bathroom. What had been the exterior wall became an interior wall and a false wall was built infront of the once exterior wall. Then a vanity cabinet and toilet were installed in front of the false wall. The panel was partially hidden by the false wall and partially accessible by cabinet doors.

Ok, so the "Main" is not in the main spot as designed by the manufactrer at the top of the panel. The lack of a ground to the netural and ground busses might also be a slight issue.

The plumbing had just a few minor issues. Polybutylene with plasitic fittings, drum traps, S traps, 1 inch washing machine drain pipe, etc.

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