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No Main Shut Off?


blazenut
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I inspected a 5500 sq/ft monster of a home today (8 years old) with 2 200amp panels, and no master shutoff on either panel. Should i report that one should be installed by an electrician? It was a service lateral, with two 200 amp lines entering from the meter, through the foundation wall, and directly into each panel, both panels were full. Both panels were the same as the one in this picture, Advise?

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Certainly, if there is no other service disconnect, then it needs fixin'.

But, from what I can see from the photo, it looks like they have separated the grounds and neutrals. That would lead me to suspect there was a service disconnect somewhere before the two panels. Do you have a photo of the meter area outside and, maybe, a wider shot of the panels?

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It wouldn't be inside the meter box would it?

Looks like it might be. In your picture, I can just see the lower latch for the meterbox door.

And what would the point of that be?

So the fire department could kill all power before entering the house with hoses & axes a-blazin'. Such is required in at least a few local jurisdictions (about Chicagoland, anyway).

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Some meter panels are also the service panel. Depends on the configuration. The top of the panel in this picture in the meter panel while the lower section is the service panel.

Remember that it does not have to have a single main breaker, it can be up to six throws in the service panel.

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I don't see a service grounding conductor anywhere below that meter. If it's configured as a sub, the main disconnect and service grounding conductor and electrode should all be at the same place, no?

Where does the lateral originate? Is it possible that it's a rural property with a single main disconnect on the side of a pole far from the meter and the sub-panels?

The plastic case in the second photo looks like a telephone interface.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Do ASHI standards require us to open the meters? This meter didnt look any different than any other meter from the outside.

It's called a "meter main." It has two sections, one for the meter and one for the service panel. The two sections are divided. You don't want to open the meter side, you want to open the service panel side.

Yes, they're very common in some areas.

I can't tell anything about the installation you saw from those pictures. If you have any better pictures go ahead and post them.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi. If the home is eight years old I would suspect that there is a main disconnect at another location most likely before these two electrical panels. The configuration requires that a main disconnect be accessible to cut off power in the event of an emergency. You are right its not conventional. I would state in the report that one could not be located and that before closing you must determine if a main electrical disconnect exists in order to be able to cut power off to the home in the event of an emergency. its better to cover yourself then not.

http://www.LooksmartHomeInspections.com

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