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rlskfoster
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Hey Electrical calculation gurus.

I did a house yesterday that had a 200 amp service. This is a 3300 square foot total electric house.

I think the service is too small. Here are the particulars: heat 1- 14.4 kw

heat 2- 9.6 kw

heat pump 1- 3 tons-I can't remember the max amp.

heat pump 2- 2 tons-I can't remember the max amp.

Water heater 1- 4.5 kw

Water heater 2- 4.5 kw

Free-standing range- 12 kw

3300 square feet- 9.9 kw

dryer- 5 kw

Micro/convection oven- ?

rest of house is standard.

I know we don't normally do load calculations but I just couldn't help but feel this was undersized. I haven't done a load calculation in 10 or more years so I was hoping someone more current than me could help me out.

I have already turned in this inspection and I advised the homeowner to have aLicensed Electrician perform a load calculation, If it came back under 200 amps then all is well.

Agents on both sides are not happy with me for even bringing this up. The house was built 2001 and thye keep saying it passed city inspection. Well we all know how much that means as far as being correct.

I hope I don't have to eat crow for this but if i have to I will. Sure seemed to be undersized to me!

Thanks

Buster

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Originally posted by rlskfoster

Hey Electrical calculation gurus.

I did a house yesterday that had a 200 amp service. This is a 3300 square foot total electric house.

I think the service is too small. Here are the particulars: heat 1- 14.4 kw

heat 2- 9.6 kw

heat pump 1- 3 tons-I can't remember the max amp.

heat pump 2- 2 tons-I can't remember the max amp.

Water heater 1- 4.5 kw

Water heater 2- 4.5 kw

Free-standing range- 12 kw

3300 square feet- 9.9 kw

dryer- 5 kw

Micro/convection oven- ?

rest of house is standard.

I know we don't normally do load calculations but I just couldn't help but feel this was undersized. I haven't done a load calculation in 10 or more years so I was hoping someone more current than me could help me out.

I have already turned in this inspection and I advised the homeowner to have aLicensed Electrician perform a load calculation, If it came back under 200 amps then all is well.

Agents on both sides are not happy with me for even bringing this up. The house was built 2001 and thye keep saying it passed city inspection. Well we all know how much that means as far as being correct.

I hope I don't have to eat crow for this but if i have to I will. Sure seemed to be undersized to me!

Thanks

Buster

Seems awfully close to me.

I ran a quick calc and came up with about 46,000 watts or 192 amps. (I think I added a dishwasher & disposal to your list.)

It was perfectly appropriate for you to call for an electrician to do a calc on this one.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Thanks Jim.

I was able to get my code book back from a friend and I get between 195 and 197 amps. I forgot about the Jacuzzi(that was wired in on the Master bath plugs-I wrote that up.)I think who ever wired the house shorted them by cutting it that close.

It is too close for me. I'm sure if their electrician comes back with similar numbers I'll be the bad guy inspector.

I appreciate the response

Buster

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Yeah I only figured the first 10000 watts at 100 % and I de-rated for the two heat pumps. I did not figure for the extra 20 amp 240volt plug in the garage or the jacuzzi. But it did not have a disposal, although, it was wired for one.

I figured 12000 watts for the stove but I don't have the actual wattage. It was an Amana "the BIG One" stove so I figured it was at least 12000 wattts. I also did not know if I needed to figure for the bathroom heats. Those bad boys are at least 1500 watts each.

I pretty much tried to follow the examples in the back of the 2005 NEC because I haven't done any calculations in so long. I used to have a generic little form that I plugged things into and figured it from there.

I haven't heard from any since this morning and I must say that one litle part of me is saying,"oh, please be about 215 amps". Okay it is a bigger part of me. Okay pretty much all of me.

I really don't want to be labelled an alarmist or even just a dumbass. [:-dunce]

Ijust really felt it was too small. Oh well!

Thanks for the response.

Buster

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Originally posted by Donald Lawson

...I really don't want to be labelled an alarmist or even just a dumbass....

I ran across Rosie's website the other day...she doesn't want to be an alarmist either...LOL

http://www.rosieinspections.com/

I'm not sure what a "non-alarming delivery" is....is that where you don't sneak up on them and holler "FIRE HAZARD..RUN"?

I find her prices alarmingly cheap.

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Yeah,

I won't even get in my truck for anything less than her second-to-highest price. Tell me Texas inspectors, is that the normal price range down there? If so, how the hell does one make a living in this economy at those rates?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I just spoke to my client from yesterday and he said that he was getting a local Electrical contractor to come by tomorrow and estimate the service load for him. He said that if it was under 200 he was probably still going to increase service capacity because they plan on adding a pool and some other things. The difference was if the service was undersized he was going to negotiate with the seller for some help on the cost because then it is a safety issue.

Mike,

I can't speak for others but in my area a 200 minumum for up to 2000 square feet(including garage) is pretty normal.

I have been charging 200 as a minumum and after 2000 square feet it's 10 cents per foot. I charge an extra 50 bucks for pier and beam, 25 for over 30 years old, 25 for sprinkler, etc and so on. I said I "have" been because about a week ago I paid the 50 dollars to run that cost of business spread sheet someone posted here. It is truly an eye opener. It is just really scary to be relatively busy right now, raise my prices and then hope I make up for less work with higher pay.

I truly believe I deserve it more than some guys I know, that are more of a drive by inspector, I just need to get my check book and my anxiety to a happy median. Gut check time.

Truthfully this price issue has been a serious topic of discussion between me and my wife. We agree on raising prices but how much and when we do it is still in committee.

Buster

I hope I delivered all that in an non-alarming manner, even though I don't have 15 inch biceps.

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Hi,

Well, what alarms me is that today it has been 9 years since I signed out of Ft. Carson on terminal leave enroute to Seattle to open this business. I began ops about a week later and even back then my cheapest inspection was $275. To think that folks in this business after that much time are still charging such a small amount, yet shouldering more and more liability every year, is pretty alarming.

Folks in this business really need to start asking themselves why we allow our prices to be driven by what real estate folks tell their clients they should be, instead of what we are worth.

My opinion FWIW.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Actually, for a new inspector, her prices are rather high. Last year, before the new requirements kicked in, we had RE schools here turning out new inspectors every 21 days. These same schools would then turn around and hire some of the "Professional Inspectors" they just trained as instructors.

I'm finding more and more new guys who are slashing their prices because they think it will help them stay in business. Of course, many of the Realtors love it because they can control those type of inspectors. They soon will be gone, replaced by other new inspectors and the cycle will start over.

Our prices start at about what Mike charges, and that is for a very small condo; inside only. Our Phase inspections are about the same price range as well. I can't tell you how many times this is discussed at conferences and seminars and the same ole reply is "Well, everyone charges a dime a square, that's the way it has been for years." I've given up trying to explain to many of them that things go up in price. If they can't look around and see that, then they need to be standing in the unemployment line.

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Hi,

I didn't mean to hijack this thread, but I think that charging what 'everybody' charges is short sighted.

Bungalows that sold for about $160,000 here in 1996 are now selling for nearly $400,000 in some neighborhoods, which means that the real estate folks are making nearly 2-1/2 times what they used to make on the same homes 9 years ago. Yet, the average price of a home inspection has only gone up about $50, because of all of the people jumping into the business who're low-balling everyone else in order to try and get a leg up.

Naturally, the agents tell their clients that a home inspection should cost the lower figure and then folks call up expecting to pay that. When I tell them what the inspection will cost, they often can't see past what the agent told them and they try and negotiate a lower fee.

When I won't come down, they'll quote one of the low-baller's prices to me. I tell 'em that, believe it or not, even home inspectors have to feed their families. Then I point out that not all inspections are done the same way, that comparing my inspection to a low-baller's is like comparing a Lexus to a Yugo.

I'll tell them that they're paying far more than the price of a Lexus for a home, and ask them why they're quibbling over a $100 or so, when one mistake by a new inspector charging low-ball prices can cost them literally tens of thousands of dollars and a whole lot of stress and aggravation later on.

Some get it - some don't. Still, it aggravates me, 'cuz we don't get to tell them what their agent should be making on a home before they hire their agent.

Sorry about the thread drift, Buster.[:-ashamed

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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No problem on the drift cause it is all tied into what we are doing. Where I feel my problems lie in reguards to prices is that in my little neck of the woods most of the house I inspect are in the 70 to 90 thousand range. 1100 to 1600 foot starter homes. So the percentage of inspection price versus house value is quite a bit different. I charged 390 for the 3300 square foot house and had about 6 hours in it. Sell price on tis house was 235000.

I just don't think it can be a cut and dried raise your prices issue.

I've been on the other side of the fence and I remember gulping at 175 I was quoted. We were close on our finances and we ended up not getting an inspection. (10 years ago).

I see now what a chance we took but at the time it was strictly how much was it going to cost.

I am new at this (two years in june) so I am problaly lower than some more established inspectors.

Like I said earlier we are serious about raising prices but haven't figured how much or when to do it.

Buster

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Originally posted by rlskfoster

. . .

I just don't think it can be a cut and dried raise your prices issue.

I've been on the other side of the fence and I remember gulping at 175 I was quoted. We were close on our finances and we ended up not getting an inspection. (10 years ago). . .I see now what a chance we took but at the time it was strictly how much was it going to cost.

I suggest you write down that particular memory on a piece of paper and burn it. Then never think about it again. The logic you're applying comes from the same place at the logic in Kurt's example of the undercharging small remodeler: you figure that you found the price too high so others probably will too. Pay attention: you don't want your own 10-year-ago-self as a client. You *want* to price yourself out of that market.

I am new at this (two years in june) so I am problaly lower than some more established inspectors.

Like I said earlier we are serious about raising prices but haven't figured how much or when to do it.

Buster

Here's what you do. The next time the phone rings and someone asks about your prices, make them $25 higher than you'd normally quote. There. That wasn't so hard, was it? Once you've gotten used to it, then you can really raise them.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I don't know much, but I do know this - don't ever think too long about raising you fee!

One other thing I have learned is that no one knows your market like you do.

My personal advice, to anyone thinking about their fees, always do the same job regardless of your fee or competition. Always listen and never act, to me or anyone else outside of your market. You know your own situation.

Chris knows his market and what he does and how he does it and what it will "sell" for. So does Mike, Kurt, Don, Scott, me etc..

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Originally posted by Les

I don't know much, but I do know this - don't ever think too long about raising you fee!

One other thing I have learned is that no one knows your market like you do.

My personal advice, to anyone thinking about their fees, always do the same job regardless of your fee or competition. Always listen and never act, to me or anyone else outside of your market. You know your own situation.

Chris knows his market and what he does and how he does it and what it will "sell" for. So does Mike, Kurt, Don, Scott, me etc..

For once I've got to disagree with you. I think that most inspectors don't know their markets. It seems to me that the vast majority of inspectors project their own penurious habits on their markets.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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