Electrician Talk banner
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
741 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A customer of ours has a 6 unit apartment building, in the basement there is a 7 pack meter SqD meter center, the meter center has a 400 fusible main and each meter has a 150 amp breaker for each apartment. Recently there was a fire in the basement created by a wall heater, the meter center is approximately 20' from where the fire started, the fire was pretty intense and burnt a lot of the rafters and such, the switch actually looks fine but some of the cabling around it is bubbled and burnt, we want to at a bare minimum have all the main breakers tested and megger out the bus, my question is does anybody have any info on the max temp the breaker can withstand, just needing something to send to the insurance company, also if it is too expensive to test the breakers or the lead time is to great we will try and get the insurance to replace the gear, just needing some info on when to replace and the limitations. Also it will be posting pics tomorrow Thanks
 

·
Donuts > Fried Eggs
Joined
·
17,042 Posts
...My question is does anybody have any info on the max temp the breaker can withstand, just needing something to send to the insurance company....
UL has maximum test temperatures for breakers they list, but A) they aren't that high (I believe less than 200°F) and B) how would you ever prove that the temperature in that panel never exceeded that?

Breaker testing is one of the things I can do for a living, and if we had a customer come to us with this request, even though we would make money on it, our response would be "Replace all the switchgear."

On such small gear you won't come out ahead in money or time and there's no way to remove 100% of the liability. No testing outfit can guarantee those breakers are satisfactory for continued service.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,923 Posts
UL has maximum test temperatures for breakers they list, but A) they aren't that high (I believe less than 200°F) and B) how would you ever prove that the temperature in that panel never exceeded that?

Breaker testing is one of the things I can do for a living, and if we had a customer come to us with this request, even though we would make money on it, our response would be "Replace all the switchgear."

On such small gear you won't come out ahead in money or time and there's no way to remove 100% of the liability. No testing outfit can guarantee those breakers are satisfactory for continued service.
Those were my initial thoughts as well, but I'm not experienced in the testing aspect.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32,802 Posts
We'd be glad to test it all but meter stacks are mostly junk, I'd recommend replacing.
ASSUMING LOCALLY
to test the circuit breakers

If brought them to us about $880.00
If we had to come to site $1,680.00


To Megger the feeders and inspect and test meter stack maybe $2,000.00
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
741 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the input, we were leaning towards replacing it, we can get the meter center for around 2200.00 so I'll think we will go that way, now just trying to get the insurance to pony up,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32,802 Posts
Thanks for the input, we were leaning towards replacing it, we can get the meter center for around 2200.00 so I'll think we will go that way, now just trying to get the insurance to pony up,
F The insurance company, I DO NOT work for insurance companies I work for the customer.
After the fact the insurance companies have a habit of trying to cut your price.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,410 Posts
A customer of ours has a 6 unit apartment building, in the basement there is a 6 pack meter SqD meter center, the meter center has a 400 fusible main and each meter has a 150 amp breaker for each apartment. Recently there was a fire in the basement created by a wall heater, the meter center is approximately 20' from where the fire started, the fire was pretty intense and burnt a lot of the rafters and such, the switch actually looks fine but some of the cabling around it is bubbled and burnt, we want to at a bare minimum have all the main breakers tested and megger out the bus, my question is does anybody have any info on the max temp the breaker can withstand, just needing something to send to the insurance company, also if it is too expensive to test the breakers or the lead time is to great we will try and get the insurance to replace the gear, just needing some info on when to replace and the limitations. Also it will be posting pics tomorrow
Thanks
Not worth the gamble. New equipment...Bid it that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,603 Posts
ohiosparky99 said:
Thanks for the input, we were leaning towards replacing it, we can get the meter center for around 2200.00 so I'll think we will go that way, now just trying to get the insurance to pony up,
In general, insurance companies will decide on what they pay for based upon three criteria:
1) How little can they get away with paying
2) Can they find some poor sucker to do it for that
3) Will he say in writing that it's OK, so that if it isn't, the insurance company is off the hook, or rather HIS insurance company is ON the hook now.

If the last piece of paper from you, the "expert", says that you will NOT guarantee the safety of the equipment even if they insist on paying to have it tested, then 9 times out of 10 that will end the discussion, because you have eliminated their #3 criteria. They may try to find a new sucker, and you must be prepared for that, but if it were me, I would not stick my neck out like that to help out an insurance company. That's their job, don't let them slack off at your risk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
741 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The guy came from the insurance co. Flipped the breakers on, than turned them off, he said they felt fine, so they won't pay to replace. I couldn't quit laughing, but he did send an email saying they were fine which I couldn't believe, we're going to let the owner duke it out with them, here's a few pics
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
385 Posts
No need to walk away from money to be made. Just make sure you remove all liability from yourself. Provide no warranty on installation unless it is done properly. Not likely the owner will want work done to his property unless it comes with a warranty, but maybe the ins. company will see the light.
 

·
Donuts > Fried Eggs
Joined
·
17,042 Posts
No need to walk away from money to be made. Just make sure you remove all liability from yourself. Provide no warranty on installation unless it is done properly. Not likely the owner will want work done to his property unless it comes with a warranty, but maybe the ins. company will see the light.
That's a good idea, but if it doesn't work, he still needs to be ready to beat-feet.

We often see people willing to accept stuff with no warranty just to try and keep marginal equipment running. If these folks are cheapskates, and they see the insurance company sending out ridiculous e-mails that say everything is "a-okay" he might have an uphill battle with the owner.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,762 Posts
A customer of ours has a 6 unit apartment building, in the basement there is a 7 pack meter SqD meter center, the meter center has a 400 fusible main and each meter has a 150 amp breaker for each apartment. Recently there was a fire in the basement created by a wall heater, the meter center is approximately 20' from where the fire started, the fire was pretty intense and burnt a lot of the rafters and such, the switch actually looks fine but some of the cabling around it is bubbled and burnt, we want to at a bare minimum have all the main breakers tested and megger out the bus, my question is does anybody have any info on the max temp the breaker can withstand, just needing something to send to the insurance company, also if it is too expensive to test the breakers or the lead time is to great we will try and get the insurance to replace the gear, just needing some info on when to replace and the limitations. Also it will be posting pics tomorrow Thanks
Replace, there in no way of knowing what those breakers were subjected to even if they look ok. There is really no way of obtaining an in use UL testing/listing which the heating may have voided.


As is low amp breakers under 600amps are cheap to replace, especially if already obsolete.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,762 Posts
The guy came from the insurance co. Flipped the breakers on, than turned them off, he said they felt fine, so they won't pay to replace. I couldn't quit laughing, but he did send an email saying they were fine which I couldn't believe, we're going to let the owner duke it out with them, here's a few pics

That does not look ok. The cable is a give away, it looks partly cooked in some places. And the insurance guy has no clue what he is talking about:censored: The soot and ash alone could cover the internal parts through the arc chute vents, and even if the flames didn't come close the heat damage is obvious.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,246 Posts
That does not look ok. The bubbled up cable is a give away, it takes a lot of heat to do that, well above the breaker listing. And the insurance guy has no clue what he is talking about :censored: The soot and ash alone could cover the internal parts through the arc chute vents, and even if the flames didn't come close the heat damage is obvious.
The insurance guy has one job to do: make the insurance company money.

His job is to guess what would cost the insurance company the least amount of money, replacing the entire service or letting it stay the way it is with the possibility of something later happening. He is making a gamble.

If I were in his exact position, I would make the same choice: leave it.

UL listings, testing procedures, and all of that stuff have nothing to do with this situation.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top