Question About 150A Panel & 'Complete Rewring' Job

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Old 05-14-15, 07:24 AM
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Question About 150A Panel & 'Complete Rewring' Job

Hi,

My daughter is in another city and is in the process of purchasing a home. She's had an inspection done and there are a couple of issues re: the electrical system.

Note: Her agent represented to her that the house had been 'completely rewired'. We are unable to find where a permit was pulled, but that's not to say one wasn't pulled...I may not have found the right place to look yet (but I think I have).

House was built in 1955

1) Every outlet tested 'Open Ground'. The seller has agreed to remedy the problem, so I guess they will either ground to the metal outlet boxes (if possible) or install and label GFCI's

The house is only 1100sf. The inspection report indicates that the panel is 150 amps. Here is a pic of the panel as provided by the home inspector.

2) Am I right that there is zero room for additional breakers in this panel?

3) There is no 150 amp main breaker. How old do you think this panel is? The current owner who 'completely rewired' the home has only been there 8 years.

4) I'm moving to her area and she would like me to move in with her for about a year and upgrade some things on the property. I have a complete wood shop, so I'm going to need some additional capacity. Looks like a new panel will be in order. Does that sound right? In my current shop, I have (3) 220v lines and (3) 120v lines that service my shop only.

This is the best/only pic the inspector took of the electrical.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 05-14-15, 07:36 AM
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Panel Capacity

2) Am I right that there is zero room for additional breakers in this panel?
Does the breaker cover panel have any more knockouts available?
 
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Old 05-14-15, 07:36 AM
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"Complete rewired" doesn't sound right. It's too vague, for my liking. Are some of the cables BX & some Romex? If so, the best you can say is that some circuits were either added or updated. Yes, the panel box looks full. If you can't find the permit, you should at least be able to find out who did the job. If they won't tell you, walk away from the house. If they tell you, ask the contractor what he did.
 
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Old 05-14-15, 07:50 AM
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I agree that 'completely rewired' doesn't sound right at all (all of the open grounds). Since I'm not in the area (I'm 2000 miles away) I don't know how much of the wiring is Romex v. BX.

It just sort of blows my mind that this little house has completely filled a 150a panel. Any guess as to how old this panel is?

To answer the other question re: knock outs on the panel, I don't know. This is the only picture the inspector took and my daughter doesn't know/remember if there were knockouts. Regardless, the panel looks full to me.
 
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Old 05-14-15, 07:58 AM
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The house can't be "completely rewired" and have open ground receptacles unless they did a really shoddy, uninspected job. There have probably been some new circuits added here and there. I do not see many (any?) bare ground wires in the panel, so that is a big red flag that the branch circuit wiring is likely original to the 1950s.

We can't know for sure if the panel is full without seeing the model number which would tell us if tandem breakers are allowed. It is a 20 space panel which has four tandem breakers installed in the correct slots, assuming the panel allows tandems. This leads me to believe the panel is probably a 20 space / 30 circuit meaning there is some room for expansion by replacing the single breakers at the bottom of the right column with tandems.

A 150A service should be plenty for a house of that size, even with some additional circuits for woodworking machines. I would only be concerned if I saw a bunch of large circuits for electric heat, spa, etc, which do not seem to be in that picture. The panel is a relatively modern design, certainly not original to 1950, but would need more info to get a more accurate age.

You are correct in that there is no main breaker in this panel. That means one of two things -- this panel install was botched really bad and must be replaced; or there is another breaker panel somewhere in this house which contains the main. If there's another panel, the most likely locations are right next to the meter base or built-in to the meter base. In either case, I do have some concern about the grounding and bonding of this panel. I would need to see in and around the meter and adjacent panel(s) to tell you if this is OK or a major problem.
 
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Old 05-14-15, 07:58 AM
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Best would be to hire a real electrician to do an inspection.

Picture not good but looks like there is a green bonding screw installed. This should only be there if this is the main disconnect.
 
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Old 05-14-15, 08:03 AM
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Lee, I think that someone is giving your daughter a load of crap. If they are doing it with the electrical, who knows what else? I wouldn't waste my time with those people.
 
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Old 05-14-15, 08:44 AM
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Completely rewired to a realtor seems to have a different definition than to an electrician.

The neutral looks insulated, so I suspect conduit or an outside disconnect.
 
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Old 05-14-15, 08:21 PM
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I see a bunch of wires with yellow romex jackets marking what each circuit is. Yellow 12/2 Romex has been around about 12-14 years so these may be fairly new circuits. Adding more circuits would take nothing more then a sub panel (or two ). The service rating is more important and 150 amps should be plenty as others have pointed out.

I'm thinking "rewired" means all the devices changed.
 
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Old 05-15-15, 09:17 AM
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Thank You!

I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to reply to my OP. Here's what's happened:

We brought an electrician out for an inspection. He discovered:

- The main disconnect is at the meter
- The panel is properly bonded/grounded
- Duplex breakers are allowed in this panel
- He did a sampling of the receptacles in the house. The outlets that he checked were able to be grounded to the metal box. He explained that if a circuit cannot be properly grounded, a GFCI would be required and would need to be labeled appropriately.

His overall assessment was that the work was done properly and that we shouldn't have cause for concern. While the real estate agent had recommended an electrician, we were able to have a family member recommend someone that wouldn't have a bias (or who's bias would be favorable to us. Not in any way taking away from the professionalism of the trade itself, just making mention of this).

Thank you again for the replies and have a great weekend!
 
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Old 05-15-15, 04:14 PM
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That was good thinking not using the real estate's electrician. I got cheated for $400 on an exterminator once. If I remembered the guys name, I would post it. I complained to the real estate. Of course, it did nothing.
 
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Old 05-15-15, 07:58 PM
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His overall assessment was that the work was done properly and that we shouldn't have cause for concern
If all the work was done properly, why weren't the receptacles properly grounded? Why is it we don't see any branch circuit grounding conductors inside the panel?

The outlets that he checked were able to be grounded to the metal box.
Why weren't they?

1) Every outlet tested 'Open Ground'.
Why?
 
 

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