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Old 12-27-2017, 04:59 PM   #1
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Default Subpanel same structure

My customer is selling their house and had a home inspection. The inspector noted a subpanel that was fed with a 3-wire. The sub is located in the same building as the main. It's being fed with non-metallic cable and has been there since the 80's.

I thought if the panel was existing and not connected by a metallic path there was an exception allowing the current installation to remain. Am I correct? Or is that exemption only for detached buildings with a sub panel?
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Old 12-27-2017, 05:52 PM   #2
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So the home inspector noted a sub-panel, what's the problem? If it's wired correctly it should not be a problem. Generally, the buyer does the home inspection and these guys just point out obvious defects so the buyer has some negotiation for corrections or a discount. You are not remodeling the home so what's there is there as long as it was not a compete butch job. Non issue for you. I answered I guess cause I'm bored. Old water heater, hvac system, roof, plumbing etc are more important issues in pricing the sale plus market value.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. It's not really my problem. I was just asking to get a better understanding of what the code says about subpanels in the same structure fed with a 3-wire rather than 4-wire. In a detached building I know there's an exception as long as no metal pathways are between the buildings.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:50 PM   #4
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If this is your customer, what is it they are tasking you to do for them? Are you an electrical contractor?
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Majewski View Post
If this is your customer, what is it they are tasking you to do for them? Are you an electrical contractor?
Yes I'm an electrical contractor. I do work for the real estate agent selling the house. He gave me the home inspection report and I said there's an exemption for subpanels that have an existing 3-wire feeder.

Chances are I'll still install a 4-wire feeder if it's going to make the buyers seal the deal. Anyways, just wanted another opinion on what the code says.
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZPelectric View Post
Yes I'm an electrical contractor. I do work for the real estate agent selling the house. He gave me the home inspection report and I said there's an exemption for subpanels that have an existing 3-wire feeder.

Chances are I'll still install a 4-wire feeder if it's going to make the buyers seal the deal. Anyways, just wanted another opinion on what the code says.

When you say 3 wire , it isn't run in SEU is it? If it is , I cannot
see a point in time when this was ever legal for a sub feeder.
I would bid to rip it all out.

If it's old 3 wire NM with no ground then...
Once you touch this , it then needs to meet today's code.
An inexpensive way to bring this up to today's code is..

a) just run a correctly sized GEC ..leave the 3 wire NM

b) if the neutral bar and the grounding/bonding bar are not seperated
in the sub panel , do this and bond the cabinet enclosure to the
grounding bar.

Disclaimer: I know PA is a home improvement license , not a state
E - license , so I have no idea what is the legal code
requirements in Pittsburgh PA.
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Old 12-28-2017, 05:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZPelectric View Post
Yes I'm an electrical contractor. I do work for the real estate agent selling the house. He gave me the home inspection report and I said there's an exemption for subpanels that have an existing 3-wire feeder.

Chances are I'll still install a 4-wire feeder if it's going to make the buyers seal the deal. Anyways, just wanted another opinion on what the code says.
The closest ex i'm reading is 250.24(C)(ex) , but it would apply to services, not feeders.....

The old 250.32(B) allowed outbuildings w/ 3 wire installs, the current 250.32(B)(1) ex allows those past code cycle installs to remain

So i don't believe either exception applies. I would encourage you investigate Lighters' recommendations

~CS~
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Old 12-28-2017, 04:10 PM   #8
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Home Inspectors have a general knowledge of all aspects of residential buildings. They are NOT Qualified Trades/Fire/Etc. Inspectors and have no immediate power to have services interrupted or the premises condemned for safety reasons.

Take this up with an actual Electrical Inspector (General Inspection) and get the decision in writing.

Warn your customer that having the wiring inspected by an Electrical Inspector could uncover other violations which would have to be corrected before the home is sold.

If code violations are found and they are not corrected the Electrical Inspector could issue a Disconnect Order.
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Old 12-29-2017, 06:09 AM   #9
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^^^^^^

Most folks don't understand the dif Pokey.

Myself, i reside in a state that has zero for required HI certification , so we are subject to anything from engineer levels ,down to retired GC's

Most of the latter work for real estate agents , generally won't 'rock the boat' further that the 'double tapped breaker' and/or similar nickle dime fixes.

~CS~
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Old 12-29-2017, 08:09 AM   #10
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Very often a home inspector will sight a problem but technically it still passes code as is.

My opinion, do what he asked if it sells the house. Why fight it? The seller pays you, you do the work, customer gets a new house. Everyone wins.
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Old 12-29-2017, 08:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddy current View Post
Very often a home inspector will sight a problem but technically it still passes code as is.

My opinion, do what he asked if it sells the house. Why fight it? The seller pays you, you do the work, customer gets a new house. Everyone wins.
I had a line on a report once that noted an open ground on a three prong recept. That circuit, for whatever reason, had a GFCI breaker, even though it was three wire. For the sake of getting the house sold I hooked up the missing wire, but I thought about putting a “GFCI PROTECTED. NO EQUIPMENT GROUND” label on it instead.
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Old 12-29-2017, 08:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZPelectric View Post
My customer is selling their house and had a home inspection. The inspector noted a subpanel that was fed with a 3-wire. The sub is located in the same building as the main. It's being fed with non-metallic cable and has been there since the 80's.
The HI is correct, it was never legal. The only items on the load side of the service that can use the Grounded Conductor as an EGC are dryers and cooking equipment and today the circuit would have to be existing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZPelectric View Post
I thought if the panel was existing and not connected by a metallic path there was an exception allowing the current installation to remain. Am I correct? Or is that exemption only for detached buildings with a sub panel?
You are correct here and it only applies to detached buildings

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Old 12-29-2017, 10:53 AM   #13
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I've seen this a few times. Usually somebody ran a bare #6 from the "sub" panel ground bar over to a cold water pipe at the water heater and somehow or another it made it past an inspection. In truth, it would probably never be a real issue having been done that way, but the real way to find out is to deliberately short out a large load and who want's to do that?
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:35 PM   #14
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Not to seem uninformed, but you say 3 and 4 wire. I understand 3 wire as 3 conductors and ground. since you say 3 and 4 wire I assume you include the ground wire also. Since it's the sellers inspector it would be the HO call, however you were called in on it so now you are the man. Without getting lengthy I have to agree with Steve once again on his post. I you have any doubt to it being legal make yourself some $$$ and just replace it anyway. Your work comes from the realtor so keep that relationship strong, sounds like a big outfit and they do the inspections prior to listing for the best price. I this one picked it up maybe the buyers HI would also. Just MHO
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
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The HI is correct, it was never legal. The only items on the load side of the service that can use the Grounded Conductor as an EGC are dryers and cooking equipment and today the circuit would have to be existing.

Roger
Hi Roger, which code is that? Regarding dryers and cooking equipment.



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Old 12-30-2017, 09:39 AM   #16
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Hi Roger, which code is that? Regarding dryers and cooking equipment.



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See the exception to 250.140

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Old 12-30-2017, 09:42 AM   #17
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See the exception to 250.140

Roger
Thank you

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Old 12-30-2017, 10:51 AM   #18
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You're welcome

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