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Dear Lord! Why Me?


CHI
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Ok, a 1952 house with a Square D fuse panel in the basement with 4 subs. Two of the subs were tapped into the main lugs, double taps at several locations. A green wire (ground?) double tapped in one sub. The fuses in the main panel were 40 amps and all other fuses were 20's. The subs had 30 and 40 amp breakers installed. I know there are many more issues. More info on this one than I can write. I believe I'll just let the client know that it is outdated and note several of the concerns...including the water heater breaker that is on in the down position.

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Also, a wall switch was installed in the garage with a 20 amp fuse between it and the light fixture. Can't figure out why that was installed.

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I believe I'll just let the client know that it is outdated and note several of the concerns...including the water heater breaker that is on in the down position.

Hi Rob,

I think you are tip-toeing a bit there. It's not so much "outdated" as just plain wrong. There's enough going on in your photos that I don't think anyone would fault you for saying that the home needs a new, professionally installed service to repair what has become a dangerous mess.

To put it another way, do you have any doubts at all that a licensed electrician would spend more than 10 seconds looking at this before telling your clients that what they need is a new service panel? So why not just say that?

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Hi Rich,

I agree. I suppose what I meant is I'm not sure I want to get into describing each issue that I see. I did let the client know that it was time for a new panel or at least cleaning up this mess. I told him (and will put in the report) that an electrician needs to look at this. We talked about how it would probably be more cost effective to install a new service panel as opposed to cleaning this up.

Any suggestions on the fuse at the switch in the garage? This was an estate sale and it was clear the owner tinkered around a lot. There were many "fixes" such as a bi-fold hinged doors under each sink base cabinet to access the new copper plumbing. Notes in the garage regarding who recoated the roof and when it was done.Typical elderly gentleman repairs and scratchings.

Thanks for your input!

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Hi,

I'd say that fuse boxes haven't been used for main panelboards in most residences for more than 40 years and that those are obsolete and will be more trouble than their worth. Also, if Mr. Electric is reading this I bet he comes on here and will tell you that a panelboard that's 40 years old, regardless of fuses or breakers is obsolete and should be replaced.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks for the insight. I typically spend a lot of time explaining all of the concerns and then calling for replacement. But Chad...and others...do you think it's acceptable to just explain that it's obsolete and needs replacement. Wow, that will take some getting used to, but will certainly make for easier report writing.

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Thanks for the insight. I typically spend a lot of time explaining all of the concerns and then calling for replacement. But Chad...and others...do you think it's acceptable to just explain that it's obsolete and needs replacement. Wow, that will take some getting used to, but will certainly make for easier report writing.

I say something like: The electrical system is obsolete and dangerous. Decades of additions, alterations and misguided repairs have compromised safety and function. Don't wait for someone to be electrocuted or for the house to burn, repairs should be made now. Contact a competent electrician to discuss repair/ replacement options. It'll likely be as pricey as a vacation to Mexico.

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I do something very similar to Chad, although I precede it with a short list along the lines of .......

"The electrical system has multiple major defects, including but not limited to....

1) x

2) y

3) z

4) etc....

Have an electrician etc., etc....."

I give a little list of the most major items, truncated. I just don't think it's necessary to list every item.

This morning's entire job was reported that way. It was target rich, and I just told my customer they don't need me, they need a contractor to tell 'em what it's going to cost to gut the place and start over.

I gave them a short list 2-3 mega-items in each of the primary categories, with a summary that described a disaster situation. I ran through the SOP descriptive stuff to make it "legal".

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Hey Chad, Mexico vacations are looking pretty cheap these days, especially if your willing to bring some contraband back to the states with you.

I pretty much wrote it the same way. Identified some biggies, better to replace than repair, call an electrician.

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Mexico is a no-go place these days. The war between drug lords are stacking up bodies like cord wood and spilling over into Texas border towns. Even the mayors of Mexican border cities have moved themselves and their families to the US side of the border.

Mexican trips are not a bargain by any measure these days.

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How about...

"Modifications have been made to the electrical system by someone who clearly does not have the right set of skills. Obvious defects include bla, bla, bla. Since much of the electrical system is hidden it's likely that there are more problems that I didn't find. Have an electrician evaluate the entire electrical system and make appropriate repairs."

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