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Thank Goodness My Client Was Late


RobC
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I don't generally remove the deadfront but curiosity got the best of me when I noticed a 40 amp breaker (top left) inside the 30 amps main disconnect panel.

Repeat after me: I will remove the breaker tie the next time I take a cover off. I will .......................

Scott,

I'll check more carefully NEXT time.

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Originally posted by RobC

I don't generally remove the deadfront but curiosity got the best of me when I noticed a 40 amp breaker (top left) inside the 30 amps main disconnect panel.

Repeat after me: I will remove the breaker tie the next time I take a cover off. I will .......................

Scott,

I'll check more carefully NEXT time.

Good grief Rob. Just what do you inspect when you do the electrical inspection. 90% of it is inside the panel.

BTW: I see you are one of those guys that advertise that you inspect to ASHI standards without the benefit of membership. Maybe you want to rethink that part of your advertising until such point as you actually research them and meet them??? Could be big problems for you down the road in coughing up that deductible on your E&O when the tortes hit the fan.

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What I mean by the deadfront is the service box cover portion of the combination panel. The distribution cover is ALWAYS removed but I've given up removing the 'deadfront'- scary experience a long time ago that I've never recovered from and therapy won't help.

Any of you out there remove BOTH covers?

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I'm not sure what you mean by "both" covers Rob. I always remove whatever is necessary to see the wires, breakers and connections inside the main and all subpanels. I have never found it necessary to remove the door from the deadfront cover. I am extremely careful with certain Stab-Lok and Zinsco panels and if I meet any resistance whatsoever in removing the deadfront cover on those I defer it. It only took about 7 years of listening to Douglas Hanson harp on safety glasses that I finally got it through my thick macho head to wear them. I've been very lucky in that respect. I'll take no more chances, and by the way I am glad you weren't injured Rob.

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I'm not sure what he means by "both" covers, either.

Here's something that happened to me, though.

Client's dad, retired and amiable enough, was on site and dogged my heels through the entire routine.

When we got to the panel, I did not stop to focus on which breakers were on or off, I just wanted to remove the cover, check for decent job etc., and move on. The house was only a cpl of years old and pretty upscale, custom home.

Dad wanted to help me get the cover off, and I let him, since the cover was large. During removal, though, a cpl. of the breakers got hit by the cover and thrown, which "click" sound was obscured by "clang" of panel and door, and by grunts of dad and self.

That eve got call from homeowner wanting to know why the lights wouldn't work in this room and that.

"The child, once burned, shuns the fire."

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Jim,

"Lucky guy" Could have been the frig, freezer or worse, the prize salt water fish tank.

I too remove what ever cover is needed to see the wire breaker size. I want to see if the home owner "fixed" anything.

Ever since the guy told me that he built the addition himself and he wired it himself too, so I shouldn't have an problems. He didn't know what a junction box of wire nut was. He screwed the switches and receps right to the paneling and taped all of the twisted splices.

Scary :D

Bruce

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Originally posted by Jim Baird

I'm not sure what he means by "both" covers, either.

Here's something that happened to me, though.

Client's dad, retired and amiable enough, was on site and dogged my heels through the entire routine.

When we got to the panel, I did not stop to focus on which breakers were on or off, I just wanted to remove the cover, check for decent job etc., and move on. The house was only a cpl of years old and pretty upscale, custom home.

Dad wanted to help me get the cover off, and I let him, since the cover was large. During removal, though, a cpl. of the breakers got hit by the cover and thrown, which "click" sound was obscured by "clang" of panel and door, and by grunts of dad and self.

That eve got call from homeowner wanting to know why the lights wouldn't work in this room and that.

"The child, once burned, shuns the fire."

I won't let anyone within 10 ft. of me when I go for a panel.[:-scared]

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The majority of our panels are combination panels. The service box and distribution box are 'combined' and each one of them have their own covers.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif ElectricalPanel.JPG

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You'll notice the first illustration on the left has what I call a deadfront - at the main breaker

and

The bottom area would be the distribution portion with its separate cover.

I used to remove the bottom cover and then the deadfront (main breaker) cover until one day I had a revelation that change my mind about messing with the main disconnect cover (dead front)

So the question remains- How many of you remove the main breaker cover?

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Originally posted by RobC

The majority of our panels are combination panels. The service box and distribution box are 'combined' and each one of them have their own covers.

You'll notice the first illustration on the left has what I call a deadfront - at the main breaker

and

The bottom area would be the distribution portion with its separate cover.

I used to remove the bottom cover and then the deadfront (main breaker) cover until one day I had a revelation that change my mind about messing with the main disconnect cover (dead front)

So the question remains- How many of you remove the main breaker cover?

Rob,

I think you'll find that type of panel is relatively unknown in the U.S. It seems to be a Canadian thing. Years ago, I attended an electrical seminar where a Canadian attendee had a question about those panels and had to spend at least 10 minutes trying to explain them to the U.S. audience and the presenter. They never fully got it. (The question had to do with allowing or disallowing branch circuit wiring in the upper portion of the panel. As I recall, he thought that branch circuit wires were prohibited from occupying that upper space which he felt was intended to be dedicated to the service entrance conductors. Is that really the case in Canada?)

At any rate, it seems to me that you'd want to open that upper section to look for the size of the SECs and to examine the condition of the connections up there. I don't see why opening that section would be any more dangerous than taking the cover off of one of our all-in-one panels down here.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Jim cleared it up, I now understand what you are talking about when you say "Both" covers. And like Jim said it is probably about the same as our all-in-one panels. Now I don't relish taking the cover off of Zinsco panels, a little too close of engineering design for my comfort level!!!

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Hi,

Like Jim, I've never actually seen one of those, but I have seen something similar with some of the exterior, pole-mounted services to manufactured homes, and some older fuse boxes have that setup. I take both portions - top and bottom - off, so I can see the entrance conductors, lugs, etc. When I can't get that portion off for some reason, I disclaim that area as uninspectable.

Scott, Zinsco panels are as numerous as flies on crap here. Years ago, I used to get nervous opening them up, but not any more. It's getting easier to deal with them though, ever since a major local electrician told me how they'd replaced about 80 of them in an apartment complex and found dangerous issues in a significant portion of them. I just relate that to the clients now and haven't had to argue about one with a homeowner or realtor in quite a while.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Wadsworth panels.

Most people have never heard of them. They comprise about 80% of the apartment building panels here in the Big Dirty. They all have nasty "interior dead fronts" held in place w/ nasty little clips. They can "stick" in odd ways, & more than once I've found covers w/ the familiar "arc weld burn" from someone not quite being handy enough in removing it.

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