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I thought this was a 'Professional electricians' forum. Why is this discussion even continuing? Author is not an electrician or even close.
 

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Bilge Rat
motors and controls.........
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I thought this was a 'Professional electricians' forum. Why is this discussion even continuing? Author is not an electrician or even close.
1) Because no one is asking for diy type advice on how to install something.

2) In this case, the inspector is a knowledgeable professional who is asking other professionals a safety related question.
 

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Answer to his question is readily available in NFPA 70E. That is what we 'professionals' refer to. In all the replies, no one but myself even mentioned NFPA. So 3pages of banther when the answer was given on pg1.
 

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Answer to his question is readily available in NFPA 70E. That is what we 'professionals' refer to. In all the replies, no one but myself even mentioned NFPA. So 3pages of banther when the answer was given on pg1.
You are coming across as self righteous know it all.

A Professional from another profession asked a legitimate question, he wanted OPINIONS, which this site is for, of course we can all hit the book, BUT HE ASKED FOR AN OPINION.

Shut down opinions and this site would be pretty thin.
 

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Uhm, no... Main breakers do not need excersizing, and are not a "switch". I know inspectors who will "test" them in EMPTY houses, and they say a fair number won't reset... not something you want to do in an occupied house.

Not everything needs sparky's immediate attention, but should be part of a plan, and to be aware of the problems. Some things, yes, they need immediate attention like the Hot wall outlet with nothing plugged into it... (turned out to be loose push in connectors, outlet was badly burnt on backside) GFCIs that won't trip and other things that pose an immediate hazard to the occupants today...

we don't open walls, dig in mulch or move furniture. We do what we can in the time allowed, and we are always asked "aren't you done yet?"
So that's a no, you don't do a thorough inspection.
 

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Uhm, no... Main breakers do not need exercising, and are not a "switch". I know inspectors who will "test" them in EMPTY houses, and they say a fair number won't reset... not something you want to do in an occupied house.
Actually Main Circuit Breakers do need exercising. And as you are there to inspect opening and closing all CB's should be completed. If it does not reset there is an issue and the electrical system failed the inspection.

Family home or not, you are not in a hospital or data center.
 

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Electrical contractor 37 years. Electrical inspector 2 years
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A good inspector is pure gold, and rare as hen's teeth.

Don't worry about what I do, in the words of Charles Barkley, I'M NO ROLE MODEL. 🤪

Best answer was, take NFPA 70E and make a more informed decision.
Does 70E apply to single family dwellings? Who enforces it or is it under OSHA?
 

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Light Bender
plumber
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To be a home inspector here all you need is a business card. Actually not even. There is no required training. One or two provinces have mandated some training but not in Ontario.

Lately with the house selling boom, no one is even using home inspectors because if you make an offer on a house that includes conditions like a home inspection, you will not get the house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 · (Edited)
This Is a "Typical" site...
Had to Sit on the Toilet to open the Panel... yea safe...

The Box to the Right is a Service DISCONNECT ONLY which was wired directly into an HVAC without -any- breakers...

Oh, and let's toss in a double-tap for fun...

So we had 4/0 200A service connected to a 35A Furnace panel with no breakers
There was no Bushing on the threads, the Knockout was bent, the ArmorFlex was duct taped together... and I am sure if I stood there long enough I could come up with lots more, but I saw enough to say "SPARKY"
The Lone GFCI in the house wouldn't trip, even with the test button, and was wired wrong, lots of exposed NM running along the outside of the house below 6'... Oh yea... its going to be a long report....

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This Is a "Typical" site...
Had to Sit on the Toilet to open the Panel... yea safe...
I wanted to repeat this as you seemed to have missed or ignored it.


Actually Main Circuit Breakers do need exercising. And as you are there to inspect opening and closing all CB's should be completed. If it does not reset there is an issue and the electrical system failed the inspection.

Family home or not, you are not in a hospital or data center.
 

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Hackenschmidt
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Does 70E apply to single family dwellings? Who enforces it or is it under OSHA?
OSHA's rules are general safety requirements for the workplace, and the rules apply to all kinds of workplaces. For example, there's a requirement that PPE be provided where necessary. So in a specific situation, to comply with OSHA's requirements you have to determine what's actually necessary. OSHA recognizes NFPA 70E as an accepted standard to determine what PPE is necessary in a given situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Hum... on the excersizing of mains...
I agree in theory, but in practice our association, whose rules I also have to follow, says not...
Although it may not be a data center, it is peoples homes, possibly with CPAPs, Oxygen generators, refrigerators full of food, and many other things that would cause great pain if the Main were not to reset. Electricians near me are currently days out, even on residential emergencies.
You, as as an electrician might have spares in your truck, might... so you could replace a bad main. Home Inspectors do not have that luxury. (Not to mention I don't think you have a Wadsworth, Zinsco, Bulldog, or FPE 200A main in your truck) Not to mention that I don't think a seller would let us -do- the inspection if we said there was a 1in any number chance they might loose power for a day or so...
I know of NO inspector who "tests" main breakers in an occupied dwelling. Home Inspector or Municipal. Even when we have brought in a sparky to do an in-depth inspection because of what we saw in -our- inspection they didn't "test" the main...
Empty house, or new construction maybe, again with the sellers/builders permission... and I can tell you the builders will say ***L NO...
Understand that our clients, the possible buyer, don't yet own the house we are there to inspect, we are there as guests.
When I do the occasional inspection for an Owner/seller the rules are very very different as they can give permission to do anything TO THEIR OWN HOUSE.
 

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I pretwist and then use wire nuts. Solder pots rule.
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We are REQUIRED by our LICENSES to open, examine and report on electrical panels. We are licensed, and trained, and required to get continuing education.
Opening a panel is different then removing a cover.

Your lack of safety training and knowledge shows that you do not have the training to expose any energized equipment.
 

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If the home inspector needs to comply with all OSHA and NFPE 70A regulations and guidelines, wouldn't his workplace first have to be compliant? The property owner would have to replace all exterior doors with outswing versions complete with panic bars, all of the 1/2" drywall would have to be removed and replaced with 5/8" type X, illuminated exit lights with 90 minute battery back up would have to be installed, the gas can for the lawn mower would have to be stored in a steel safety cabinet, all flammables would have to be removed from under stair cases, fire suppression systems would have to be installed, there would have to be an injury log for any fingers cut while chopping vegetables, toes stumped in the shower, chins nicked while shaving, etc. This would surely bring the real estate boom to a grinding halt!

How about all the folks that have worked from home during the pandemic on their laptops? Shouldn't they be wearing steel toe boots and safety glasses instead of jammies or sweats? How about an electrical contractor reviewing prints, working on a materials order, preparing a bid or an invoice at home, are they compliant? How about a homeowner climbing a cheap aluminum ladder to clean their gutters, should they be wearing a safety harness if they are >6" above ground?

We all have our opinions on home inspectors and other professions for that matter. The inspector works for a small fraction of what the realtor gets and actually does a lot more to earn it. The inspector likely has more time invested in their job if you include preparing the report than the listing agent. Have you ever seen a realtor drive up in their $75K car and climb onto the roof? Think about the loan broker who normally gets 1% of the loan amount as their fee, the attorney that charges you in some cases $1K or more for a title search that his paralegal does on the computer in about 10 minutes, the title insurance that they require you to buy and the closing attorney gets about 70-75% of that as their commission, the appraiser who just researches the comps on his computer and has some flunky go to the house and make some photos. There are a lot more people in the real estate food chain doing much less for much more money. I've always thought that at the closing all of these people would have to be present and you went around the room with a stack of $20 bills and asked them specifically what they did for you before you paid them,the cost of real estate transactions would change drastically and quickly.

I'm not defending home inspectors nor this guy. He did not ask for anything remotely considered DIY advice and is apparently safety conscious to ask a legitimate question.
 

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Chief Flunky
Field Service Engineer
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In 2009 in Georgia two electricians were injured in an arc flash at a 240/120 temporary construction panel. One went to burn unit the other to the morgue. They were trying to take it apart before the lineman got there. PPE was flip flops, shorts, and tank tops.

Preliminary testing by the joint IEEE/NFPA arc flash testing team showed 208 can in same cases be above 1.2 cal/cm2, but not above 4 cal/cm2 (also confirmed by NESC related testing).

So it’s a rare but possible issue.

As far as shock goes think about what you are doing. It is possible for screws to be rubbing up against improperly installed wiring but from a shock hazard there’s not much there with an insulated screwdriver. You can buy nice and cheap ones at Harbor Freight now for around $20 so no excuses not to use them. This keeps all the action far from your hands.

Next problem area is removing the cover. On very large ones it’s possible to accidentally drop the cover into a live panel. 70E used to say not to do this on bolted covers except round ones like manhole covers. Hinged is no problem either. The alternative to killing power is arc flash PPE. It’s what I use but I work with much worse than residential.

On replacing covers aside from again dropping one into a panel BEFORE you put it on, inspect the areas around the screws. It takes minutes to add some tie wraps to snug things up and maybe some tape for repairs. If you don’t feel safe doing this you should not be doing live work like taking covers off. I’ve done tons of cleanup on almost every panel I have gone in, if you cause an arc flash putting screws in you have no business opening panels or doing any kind of electrical work including inspection.

Arc flash PPE is pretty basic here. FR shirts, pants. A case could be made for balaclava and face shield but it’s pretty low level what you might run into, if you have 1000 V rated tools gloves aren’t needed. I carry gloves as well as sleeves but sometimes I do live work on medium voltage equipment. Reaching around in some spots for CT readings needs sleeves.

Again opening panels us qualified work. Home inspectors have no business doing it if they aren’t qualified. Stick with using a cheap receptacle tester and tripping all the GFCIs.
 

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I think this guy is wasting his talents as a home inspector, methinks he should join the bomb squad. How many Americans are killed or maimed each year from removing the dead fronts on their electrical panels? That is 0 too many! Stop the insanity!
 

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Light Bender
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@Bob Sisson , tell me something. You say your organization tells you not to turn off the panel, but to open it live because they don’t want to possibly disrupt the power for the home owner if the main will not reset correct?

Is this actually in writing as a policy of the organization? I bet it isn’t as it could be grounds for a lawsuit if there were injuries.

So what happens if a home inspector (with no actual electrical training or NFPA 70 training) opens a live panel and a locknut or screw falls across the mains and causes a major short? Now the panel is off, damaged and in some cases not able to be turned back on. Not to mention the possible injuries to the home inspector.

Wouldn’t that be worse?

Although done often, even electricians should not be opening panels live.
 

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Electrical contractor 37 years. Electrical inspector 2 years
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@Bob Sisson , tell me something. You say your organization tells you not to turn off the panel, but to open it live because they don’t want to possibly disrupt the power for the home owner if the main will not reset correct?

Is this actually in writing as a policy of the organization? I bet it isn’t as it could be grounds for a lawsuit if there were injuries.

So what happens if a home inspector (with no actual electrical training or NFPA 70 training) opens a live panel and a locknut or screw falls across the mains and causes a major short? Now the panel is off, damaged and in some cases not able to be turned back on. Not to mention the possible injuries to the home inspector.

Wouldn’t that be worse?

Although done often, even electricians should not be opening panels live.
I believe the OP was implying that the home inspectors in his area have to have some basic training in electrical stuff. Also, in the US, our main circuit breaker is not isolated from the rest of the panel so turning it off does not de-energize the panel. Only the buss bar. Is the main breaker in Canada in a separate compartment? I agree about taking off panel covers in unfamiliar panels. You never know what is inside and we have all seen some winners. Eventually we will find a happy medium where we can be safe and still be able to inspect things whether it be electricity, steam, gas, stored energy, mechanical machines. A boiler guy does not call in an electrician, a controls guy, and a plumber every time he has to work on a boiler.
 
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