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How many houses have burned down because you didn't tighten down a screw terminal on a device enough or too much?

You probably should have used the backstabs, that's definitely safer than tightening screw terminals without a torque driver.

The NEC, everyone. Blindly follow along, it will keep you warm and safe.
As a Master Electrician and a Master Electrical Inspector my job and yours is to do just that !! The code is the code and it’s not open for anyone’s interpretation.
Do you want to not follow the code and be liable for a fire or shock or arc that hurts or kills someone ?!?! If everyone who considers themselves a Master Electrician does their job to code and to at least the acceptable industry standards if not above like all real electricians then we’d seldom have any problems.
As an Inspector that does 75+ inspections a week I check everyone’s torquing since we implemented the 2017 code May 1st 2020 which was almost a year ago and the grace period and electricians playing dumb phase is over !!!
The codes are required for a reason and if you don’t understand why that is and why the NEC AND ICC AND IRC AND NFPA AND A PLETHORA OF OTHER AGENCIES AND GOVERNING BODIES REQUIRE US TO IMPLEMENT AND ENFORCE THEM, then maybe you should find another trade ?!
Do you want to get that phone call in the middle of the night that a job you wired burned down because you didn’t believe the required electrical code should be implemented properly with work you did and a little kid was burned and or killed ?!?!?!
I know that I don’t , as well as a lot of other electricians and inspectors like myself don’t want too !!!!!!
They make the rules and our job is to follow and enforce them , period !!! They feel that 818 pages of articles are required, if you’re following them blindly and feeling warm and safe and don’t agree with the codes , again find another trade !!!
I have personally seen a building catch fire in a matter of minutes specifically because some hack electricians didn’t properly tighten the lugs in a 600 amp main disconnect and it created an arc in an improperly bonded and grounded 12 gang meter bank . And the tenth meter turned cherry red and caught on fire and began to melt and spew out flames in literally 30 seconds from when the electricians turned it on, they turned it on as I was walking in the door before I had a chance to inspect it and approve the reconnection !!!
When they saw the flames and smoke they ran out of the mechanical room like the incompetent cowardly hacks that they were, i in point of fact took off my fire resistant Klein jacket and put out the flames before the entire building was engulfed in flames !!
And because they had also not done the exit/emergency lights or smoke detectors and fire alarm system correctly I had to evacuate the tenants until the fire department arrived !!!!
So things being done to code and those codes being enforced by Electrical Inspectors are something I believe in with every fiber of my being !!!!
If not for my quick thinking and disregard for my own safety 15 families could have perished on that cold winter night with just a simple disconnect reconnect being done to replace a 600 amp single phase main disconnect !!!! And it was specifically because again, the main double barrel lugs were not tightened with a torque socket !!!! They were tightened with a standard t-handle Allen wrench and left finger loose as were the grounds and the neutrals
It could have been the worst night of my life, I could have been hurt or worse or one of the 15 elderly people who lived in that building could have been hurt or worse !!!
So 3 months later every time I inspect a service or meter or panel or switch gear or Pv inverter or whole house transfer switch you can count on the fact that I’ll ensure that every connection is tightened properly and to code !!!!! So don’t knock the NEC code requirements because someone not following them came within minutes of causing a tragedy that I would have never ever recovered from or perhaps survived ?!
The codes are required for a reason so follow them, because all it takes is for someone to rush and try and save a few minutes and a few dollars for an unbelievable and unspeakable tragedy to occur !!!! The electricians responsible will never ever do electrical work again, for the violations themselves with regards to the torquing and fire and emergency systems and for reconnecting without my inspection sticker and my release to the utility company, I had their licenses revoked and they will never be able to get another one or liability insurance either !!!
This is a very very recent and true story and anyone who reads it should put themselves in my position and think about what you would have done ?!?! And how much it would change your work style as a Master Electrician and as a Master Electrical Inspector like myself with regards to doing things to code and enforcement of that code as required !!! I agree that some codes are a stretch and redundant and some make little to no sense !!!
But the NEC is our rule book and it’s our job to follow it and enforce it whether we agree with it or not.
My lengthy story shows how a small deviation from the code whether it be lack of knowledge or lack of proper tools or experience or laziness or cheapness can have devastating consequences !!!!
Thank you very much to all the electricians and inspectors who feel like I do and the ones that don’t and think I’m an a** for my post, ask yourself how you would feel if your lack of proper attention and interest and code requirements killed a dozen people or even one person or just one burned child !!!! How would you be able to live with yourself knowing an extra 10 minutes of your life could prevent it !!!!!!
 

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Hackenschmidt
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As an Inspector that does 75+ inspections a week I check everyone’s torquing since we implemented the 2017 code May 1st 2020 which was almost a year ago and the grace period and electricians playing dumb phase is over !!!
Well it's a shame but you'll get no response from Dr. Hackworth.

Anyway, how are you checking torquing?
 

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Ready Mix concrete plant electrician
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1,967 Posts
Well it's a shame but you'll get no response from Dr. Hackworth.

Anyway, how are you checking torquing?
After reading that rant/wall of text, I was wondering the exact same thing. If he’s coming behind with a torque wrench of his own and tightening it further, the connection will be over tightened.
 

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Well it's a shame but you'll get no response from Dr. Hackworth.

Anyway, how are you checking torquing?
I think Hack was doing another one of his troll posts anyway. I have lost count of how many failed backstabs I have encountered... many, many, many more that burned up binding screw terminals. Plus, I would argue that most of the failed binding screw terminals were due to a HO replacing a receptacle... hence would never be inspected.
 

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After reading that rant/wall of text, I was wondering the exact same thing. If he’s coming behind with a torque wrench of his own and tightening it further, the connection will be over tightened.
Amen!!!!
 

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Electrical contractor 37 years. Electrical inspector 2 years
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1,243 Posts
As a Master Electrician and a Master Electrical Inspector my job and yours is to do just that !! The code is the code and it’s not open for anyone’s interpretation.
Do you want to not follow the code and be liable for a fire or shock or arc that hurts or kills someone ?!?! If everyone who considers themselves a Master Electrician does their job to code and to at least the acceptable industry standards if not above like all real electricians then we’d seldom have any problems.
As an Inspector that does 75+ inspections a week I check everyone’s torquing since we implemented the 2017 code May 1st 2020 which was almost a year ago and the grace period and electricians playing dumb phase is over !!!
The codes are required for a reason and if you don’t understand why that is and why the NEC AND ICC AND IRC AND NFPA AND A PLETHORA OF OTHER AGENCIES AND GOVERNING BODIES REQUIRE US TO IMPLEMENT AND ENFORCE THEM, then maybe you should find another trade ?!
Do you want to get that phone call in the middle of the night that a job you wired burned down because you didn’t believe the required electrical code should be implemented properly with work you did and a little kid was burned and or killed ?!?!?!
I know that I don’t , as well as a lot of other electricians and inspectors like myself don’t want too !!!!!!
They make the rules and our job is to follow and enforce them , period !!! They feel that 818 pages of articles are required, if you’re following them blindly and feeling warm and safe and don’t agree with the codes , again find another trade !!!
I have personally seen a building catch fire in a matter of minutes specifically because some hack electricians didn’t properly tighten the lugs in a 600 amp main disconnect and it created an arc in an improperly bonded and grounded 12 gang meter bank . And the tenth meter turned cherry red and caught on fire and began to melt and spew out flames in literally 30 seconds from when the electricians turned it on, they turned it on as I was walking in the door before I had a chance to inspect it and approve the reconnection !!!
When they saw the flames and smoke they ran out of the mechanical room like the incompetent cowardly hacks that they were, i in point of fact took off my fire resistant Klein jacket and put out the flames before the entire building was engulfed in flames !!
And because they had also not done the exit/emergency lights or smoke detectors and fire alarm system correctly I had to evacuate the tenants until the fire department arrived !!!!
So things being done to code and those codes being enforced by Electrical Inspectors are something I believe in with every fiber of my being !!!!
If not for my quick thinking and disregard for my own safety 15 families could have perished on that cold winter night with just a simple disconnect reconnect being done to replace a 600 amp single phase main disconnect !!!! And it was specifically because again, the main double barrel lugs were not tightened with a torque socket !!!! They were tightened with a standard t-handle Allen wrench and left finger loose as were the grounds and the neutrals
It could have been the worst night of my life, I could have been hurt or worse or one of the 15 elderly people who lived in that building could have been hurt or worse !!!
So 3 months later every time I inspect a service or meter or panel or switch gear or Pv inverter or whole house transfer switch you can count on the fact that I’ll ensure that every connection is tightened properly and to code !!!!! So don’t knock the NEC code requirements because someone not following them came within minutes of causing a tragedy that I would have never ever recovered from or perhaps survived ?!
The codes are required for a reason so follow them, because all it takes is for someone to rush and try and save a few minutes and a few dollars for an unbelievable and unspeakable tragedy to occur !!!! The electricians responsible will never ever do electrical work again, for the violations themselves with regards to the torquing and fire and emergency systems and for reconnecting without my inspection sticker and my release to the utility company, I had their licenses revoked and they will never be able to get another one or liability insurance either !!!
This is a very very recent and true story and anyone who reads it should put themselves in my position and think about what you would have done ?!?! And how much it would change your work style as a Master Electrician and as a Master Electrical Inspector like myself with regards to doing things to code and enforcement of that code as required !!! I agree that some codes are a stretch and redundant and some make little to no sense !!!
But the NEC is our rule book and it’s our job to follow it and enforce it whether we agree with it or not.
My lengthy story shows how a small deviation from the code whether it be lack of knowledge or lack of proper tools or experience or laziness or cheapness can have devastating consequences !!!!
Thank you very much to all the electricians and inspectors who feel like I do and the ones that don’t and think I’m an a** for my post, ask yourself how you would feel if your lack of proper attention and interest and code requirements killed a dozen people or even one person or just one burned child !!!! How would you be able to live with yourself knowing an extra 10 minutes of your life could prevent it !!!!!!
I kind of agree with much of what you said about following the established codes and standards. Not following them or ignoring them opens up to lawsuits. I went back to contracting after two years as an inspector because I found some people not willing to change when the new codes come along. Many electrician were conscientious but I still had electricians asking about AFCIs 5 years after the code adoption. Some still didn't use ICAT cans in the ceiling. I am not even going to mention the stuff I saw with swimming pools. If an inspector starts flagging too many things then the contractor moves on to another agency. Now I put blinders on and only worry about my work.
 

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Electrical Contractor
Trying to retire or at least slow down a bit, but life not cooperating
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4,753 Posts
After reading that rant/wall of text, I was wondering the exact same thing. If he’s coming behind with a torque wrench of his own and tightening it further, the connection will be over tightened.
How can you be over tightening when a torque wrench (the good ones), click at the desired torque?
The real real question is, how do you check for an over torque? You would have to use the old needle style I guess?
 

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As a Master Electrician and a Master Electrical Inspector my job and yours is to do just that !! The code is the code and it’s not open for anyone’s interpretation.
Do you ever use your discretion on an inspection?
 
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How can you be over tightening when a torque wrench (the good ones), click at the desired torque?
The real real question is, how do you check for an over torque? You would have to use the old needle style I guess?
In my experience the torque value is nearly impossible to test after the fact. Coming behind to hit it with a torque wrench later may show it’s loose from the wire taking a set. It may also show it’s over tightened from having to overcome the starting friction from the face of the screw head and thread friction.
Torque is really an indirect way to indicate the clamping force of a bolted joint.
 

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Bilge Rat
motors and controls.........
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As a Master Electrician and a Master Electrical Inspector my job and yours is to do just that !! The code is the code and it’s not open for anyone’s interpretation.
Do you want to not follow the code and be liable for a fire or shock or arc that hurts or kills someone ?!?! If everyone who considers themselves a Master Electrician does their job to code and to at least the acceptable industry standards if not above like all real electricians then we’d seldom have any problems.
As an Inspector that does 75+ inspections a week I check everyone’s torquing since we implemented the 2017 code May 1st 2020 which was almost a year ago and the grace period and electricians playing dumb phase is over !!!
The codes are required for a reason and if you don’t understand why that is and why the NEC AND ICC AND IRC AND NFPA AND A PLETHORA OF OTHER AGENCIES AND GOVERNING BODIES REQUIRE US TO IMPLEMENT AND ENFORCE THEM, then maybe you should find another trade ?!
Do you want to get that phone call in the middle of the night that a job you wired burned down because you didn’t believe the required electrical code should be implemented properly with work you did and a little kid was burned and or killed ?!?!?!
I know that I don’t , as well as a lot of other electricians and inspectors like myself don’t want too !!!!!!
They make the rules and our job is to follow and enforce them , period !!! They feel that 818 pages of articles are required, if you’re following them blindly and feeling warm and safe and don’t agree with the codes , again find another trade !!!
I have personally seen a building catch fire in a matter of minutes specifically because some hack electricians didn’t properly tighten the lugs in a 600 amp main disconnect and it created an arc in an improperly bonded and grounded 12 gang meter bank . And the tenth meter turned cherry red and caught on fire and began to melt and spew out flames in literally 30 seconds from when the electricians turned it on, they turned it on as I was walking in the door before I had a chance to inspect it and approve the reconnection !!!
When they saw the flames and smoke they ran out of the mechanical room like the incompetent cowardly hacks that they were, i in point of fact took off my fire resistant Klein jacket and put out the flames before the entire building was engulfed in flames !!
And because they had also not done the exit/emergency lights or smoke detectors and fire alarm system correctly I had to evacuate the tenants until the fire department arrived !!!!
So things being done to code and those codes being enforced by Electrical Inspectors are something I believe in with every fiber of my being !!!!
If not for my quick thinking and disregard for my own safety 15 families could have perished on that cold winter night with just a simple disconnect reconnect being done to replace a 600 amp single phase main disconnect !!!! And it was specifically because again, the main double barrel lugs were not tightened with a torque socket !!!! They were tightened with a standard t-handle Allen wrench and left finger loose as were the grounds and the neutrals
It could have been the worst night of my life, I could have been hurt or worse or one of the 15 elderly people who lived in that building could have been hurt or worse !!!
So 3 months later every time I inspect a service or meter or panel or switch gear or Pv inverter or whole house transfer switch you can count on the fact that I’ll ensure that every connection is tightened properly and to code !!!!! So don’t knock the NEC code requirements because someone not following them came within minutes of causing a tragedy that I would have never ever recovered from or perhaps survived ?!
The codes are required for a reason so follow them, because all it takes is for someone to rush and try and save a few minutes and a few dollars for an unbelievable and unspeakable tragedy to occur !!!! The electricians responsible will never ever do electrical work again, for the violations themselves with regards to the torquing and fire and emergency systems and for reconnecting without my inspection sticker and my release to the utility company, I had their licenses revoked and they will never be able to get another one or liability insurance either !!!
This is a very very recent and true story and anyone who reads it should put themselves in my position and think about what you would have done ?!?! And how much it would change your work style as a Master Electrician and as a Master Electrical Inspector like myself with regards to doing things to code and enforcement of that code as required !!! I agree that some codes are a stretch and redundant and some make little to no sense !!!
But the NEC is our rule book and it’s our job to follow it and enforce it whether we agree with it or not.
My lengthy story shows how a small deviation from the code whether it be lack of knowledge or lack of proper tools or experience or laziness or cheapness can have devastating consequences !!!!
Thank you very much to all the electricians and inspectors who feel like I do and the ones that don’t and think I’m an a** for my post, ask yourself how you would feel if your lack of proper attention and interest and code requirements killed a dozen people or even one person or just one burned child !!!! How would you be able to live with yourself knowing an extra 10 minutes of your life could prevent it !!!!!!
I used to believe that 'code is code' but since the code has shifted its focus from actual safety to manufacturers profit, I now believe that most of it is still valid but not all of it.
 

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I would like someone to explain the proper way to torque a lug set screw. When a lug is torqued to spec: DO OT WIGGLE THE WIRE. If you do the wire wiggles around and loosens up screwing up the torque setting. Is it proper to torque, wiggle retorque, wiggle then retorque to get the wire to set in the lug?
 

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I used to believe that 'code is code' but since the code has shifted its focus from actual safety to manufacturers profit, I now believe that most of it is still valid but not all of it.
Amen!!!... Thank you, thank you, thank you.
 

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As a Master Electrician and a Master Electrical Inspector my job and yours is to do just that !! The code is the code and it’s not open for anyone’s interpretation.
Do you want to not follow the code and be liable for a fire or shock or arc that hurts or kills someone ?!?! If everyone who considers themselves a Master Electrician does their job to code and to at least the acceptable industry standards if not above like all real electricians then we’d seldom have any problems.
As an Inspector that does 75+ inspections a week I check everyone’s torquing since we implemented the 2017 code May 1st 2020 which was almost a year ago and the grace period and electricians playing dumb phase is over !!!
The codes are required for a reason and if you don’t understand why that is and why the NEC AND ICC AND IRC AND NFPA AND A PLETHORA OF OTHER AGENCIES AND GOVERNING BODIES REQUIRE US TO IMPLEMENT AND ENFORCE THEM, then maybe you should find another trade ?!
Do you want to get that phone call in the middle of the night that a job you wired burned down because you didn’t believe the required electrical code should be implemented properly with work you did and a little kid was burned and or killed ?!?!?!
I know that I don’t , as well as a lot of other electricians and inspectors like myself don’t want too !!!!!!
They make the rules and our job is to follow and enforce them , period !!! They feel that 818 pages of articles are required, if you’re following them blindly and feeling warm and safe and don’t agree with the codes , again find another trade !!!
I have personally seen a building catch fire in a matter of minutes specifically because some hack electricians didn’t properly tighten the lugs in a 600 amp main disconnect and it created an arc in an improperly bonded and grounded 12 gang meter bank . And the tenth meter turned cherry red and caught on fire and began to melt and spew out flames in literally 30 seconds from when the electricians turned it on, they turned it on as I was walking in the door before I had a chance to inspect it and approve the reconnection !!!
When they saw the flames and smoke they ran out of the mechanical room like the incompetent cowardly hacks that they were, i in point of fact took off my fire resistant Klein jacket and put out the flames before the entire building was engulfed in flames !!
And because they had also not done the exit/emergency lights or smoke detectors and fire alarm system correctly I had to evacuate the tenants until the fire department arrived !!!!
So things being done to code and those codes being enforced by Electrical Inspectors are something I believe in with every fiber of my being !!!!
If not for my quick thinking and disregard for my own safety 15 families could have perished on that cold winter night with just a simple disconnect reconnect being done to replace a 600 amp single phase main disconnect !!!! And it was specifically because again, the main double barrel lugs were not tightened with a torque socket !!!! They were tightened with a standard t-handle Allen wrench and left finger loose as were the grounds and the neutrals
It could have been the worst night of my life, I could have been hurt or worse or one of the 15 elderly people who lived in that building could have been hurt or worse !!!
So 3 months later every time I inspect a service or meter or panel or switch gear or Pv inverter or whole house transfer switch you can count on the fact that I’ll ensure that every connection is tightened properly and to code !!!!! So don’t knock the NEC code requirements because someone not following them came within minutes of causing a tragedy that I would have never ever recovered from or perhaps survived ?!
The codes are required for a reason so follow them, because all it takes is for someone to rush and try and save a few minutes and a few dollars for an unbelievable and unspeakable tragedy to occur !!!! The electricians responsible will never ever do electrical work again, for the violations themselves with regards to the torquing and fire and emergency systems and for reconnecting without my inspection sticker and my release to the utility company, I had their licenses revoked and they will never be able to get another one or liability insurance either !!!
This is a very very recent and true story and anyone who reads it should put themselves in my position and think about what you would have done ?!?! And how much it would change your work style as a Master Electrician and as a Master Electrical Inspector like myself with regards to doing things to code and enforcement of that code as required !!! I agree that some codes are a stretch and redundant and some make little to no sense !!!
But the NEC is our rule book and it’s our job to follow it and enforce it whether we agree with it or not.
My lengthy story shows how a small deviation from the code whether it be lack of knowledge or lack of proper tools or experience or laziness or cheapness can have devastating consequences !!!!
Thank you very much to all the electricians and inspectors who feel like I do and the ones that don’t and think I’m an a** for my post, ask yourself how you would feel if your lack of proper attention and interest and code requirements killed a dozen people or even one person or just one burned child !!!! How would you be able to live with yourself knowing an extra 10 minutes of your life could prevent it !!!!!!
My God I hope this is hack trolling us. To think that there are blowhards like this guy out there otherwise gives me a migraine.
 

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Just screw them till they squeal.
The only two places I have ever used a torque wrench on small screws was a nuclear power house and NASA.
We were not using torque wrenches on receptacles at either place.
Panels yes.
 

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I wish Hack was still here just because I would love to read his response to this guy 😆
I feel pretty certain that he is still lurking in the shadows here and still reading the posts.
I’m also certain that MTW would have said it’s stupid to even permit the job, and demand that he admit to being a Communist.
 
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