Door to garage and electrical issues

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Old 07-13-15, 04:09 PM
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Door to garage and electrical issues

Ok one of you guru's. Haven't seen it yet but ex- is already in some sort of panic over the home inspection on the sale of the house.

I knew about possible electric issues and how to address those, but what about this?

Supposedly, it says that the door between garage and living area needs to be metal, at least that's what she was told by realtor. Original door, house built in 1990, flat wood skin, solid core, 1 3/4" thick with closer installed.

As I remember from a few years back (ok, 10-12 years and in VA) a codes inspector told me per IBC, minimum 1 3/8" solid core (which eliminated paneled doors) was all that was required. No mention of fire ratings or anything else since those stickers often get removed or painted over.

Called the local inspectors office (I don't think he was really happy and it was near COB) and he said (I think) that the door automatically qualified for a 20 min fire rating.

Replacing it at this stage would be a royal PITA for me. I'd have to haul all my tools over there (again) and carry the door in my trunk.

The old couple that want to buy love the house and location and I would never leave them with a safety issue, but I think he's wrong.

Thoughts?
 

Last edited by Gunguy45; 07-16-15 at 12:01 AM. Reason: More appropriate forum now that more info is available
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Old 07-13-15, 04:32 PM
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As you know, all codes are local so it doesn't matter what "code" may be for someone living somewhere else. However, to the best of my knowledge you do not need a metal or metal-skinned door, just one with a fire rating. Now that may be a 15 minute, 30 minute, 60 minute or some other rating but unless the door was replaced (or added) after the original house construction it should be acceptable.

My house was built in 1987 and has a solid core wood door. It does have a fire rating, the label is on the top edge, but I don't recall what that rating is. You do need a self-closer.

Remember too that "home inspectors" and Realtors often do NOT know the local building codes but rely on national standards and what they might have heard at the corner tavern.
 
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Old 07-13-15, 04:35 PM
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That's not the first time that I heard of the metal door. However, it had to do with a boiler room & not a garage. Just a day or two ago, there was a post about a flue being too close to the stairwell. Lawrosa quoted the National Fire Protection Association code since it wasn't in any of the plumbing codes.

That might be the place to look. However, you might want to call the building dept again, at a more opportune time, first.
 
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Old 07-13-15, 04:53 PM
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I grew up in a house that had a detached garage but I also remember many houses that had a garage that was entered from the basement and these all had doors with sheet metal facings. The paint shops at every place I worked prior to college had metal-faced doors and the old power plant I worked in (and later volunteered when it became a historical museum) had several metal-faced sliding doors. I suspect that ALL of these metal-faced doors were full of asbestos insulation, I know they were all really heavy considering their size. They all had fusible links that would melt in case of fire and release the door to the closed position.

BUT, I don't think I have ever seen a metal-clad door between the garage and living spaces in any single-family house built in the last forty years.
 
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Old 07-13-15, 04:54 PM
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Yeah, not the first time I heard it either. Matter of fact that's why I first inquired back in VA. I was working at HD selling the darn things and I often got people building that wanted to stain all their doors, kinda hard to do with steel.

Well, just got a call, big meeting between us, the buyers, a handyman, and both realtors to go over the list...which I haven't even freaking seen! I know they want the place and I hope the handyman is one of the good honest ones. If they need $500 back, I'll be good with that. Or I can do repairs myself. Nothing like getting in an attic on a 100 degree day.

I'm just wanting to get this stuff over with.

How odd though...actually meeting the buyers? Should I wear one of my Navy ballcaps or the VA BCH Police one? Maybe both?
 
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Old 07-13-15, 04:58 PM
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All sorts of codes have changed since the house was built, and you aren't required to do anything about any of the things that are grandfathered in. An inspector may point them out and may erroneously try and scare people into thinking all those things NEED to be fixed, which is just pure BS. I wouldn't give any discounts for ANY of it, but that's just me.

Now if someone did substandard work or ignored what was then a current code, that's different.
 
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Old 07-13-15, 05:47 PM
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Well, there was some non-code work that was there when I bought it, and yeah, I admit I did a bit myself. Mostly minor like no cover on a box in the attic (that I forgot about and always intended to fix) and exposed Romex run under the patio roof but not subject to weather or damage. I never expected to be moving so I didn't give it much thought before the troubles started. Nothing unsafe, but not to code so, I won't argue about those.

I'm sure the freestanding (no footings or anchors) pergola/grape arbor will be listed, but the codes guy wouldn't answer without drawings and plans, etc. I told him it wasn't a permanent structure and I could disassemble it in 30 min with a socket wrench. I'm sure I got the old crotchety guy. Wait...I'M the old crotchety guy now!

Yeah, this meeting is going to be fun. I just need to try to not explode.

This inspector was praised by our realtor. I assumed they had a good "working relationship". And we all know what that means.
 
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Old 07-13-15, 06:45 PM
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Go there with a price, in mind as to how much you are willing to pay, to avoid any or all of the repairs. At the same time, don't act desperate. They will be looking, for that. You might be better off with a beret than a Navy cap.
 
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Old 07-13-15, 07:59 PM
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A beret? So I look like a French mime? lol

Yeah, I'm not that desperate, but I know the ex- is and I understand that. I'm not going to give away the farm.

Got a bit more info and apparently it may not be a huge deal like the realtor and ex- were making it out to be initially. Apparently the guy listed things like efflorescence on the block retaining wall/fence and cracks in the 25 y/o stucco block fence. Well DUH? The house is better built by a long shot than the spec house built in 2000 that I'm living in now.
 
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Old 07-13-15, 09:13 PM
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I would definitely show up with a half smoked cigar, or maybe a corn cob pipe and a can of spinach in your hand. When you feel like saying something, just bite down and squeeze the can. LOL
 
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Old 07-13-15, 09:44 PM
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Ok, now that I got the report, can a section of Romex exposed on an interior wall be run in flex conduit for about 7 ft?

I'll box in the stuff on the porch if it becomes a big deal, is that acceptable? Does that make it no longer exposed?
 
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Old 07-13-15, 09:47 PM
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Why not just use wire mold?
 
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Old 07-13-15, 10:38 PM
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Can't in the garage. The original installer drilled a hole in the ceiling and didn't use a plumb bob, so the hole through the wall at the bottom is offset by about 1" (not a stud though, I don't think). And wiremold would still leave some exposed cable at the top since the ceiling hole is about 1" off the wall.

At least I can say I didn't do it! And I never would, but the porch and uncovered box is all on me.

Ahh well, nothing I can do tonite. Just checking my ammo load for tomorrow.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 03:34 AM
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If the garage/house door is original and in decent shape I can't see where it would be an issue. While I have painted quite a few metal doors leading to the garage, I've painted 1000's that were wood - all of which passed the new home's inspections.

Hope everything goes well with the meeting
 
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Old 07-14-15, 03:14 PM
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Ok, well, they brought a "handyman" who is not a handyman at all. He's a GOB from one of the old families in town and used to be a homebuilder/contractor. Pretty much all full of himself in some ways, ok in others.

Here's the relevant issues.

There was no problem with the door...although it's 1 3/8" not 1 3/4" like I thought. It was a pet door in the wall between garage and home, buyers are fine with it since they have a little dog that can use it. Even kept the cut out sections of sheetrock so it can be easily patched later if they want.

One problem was the exposed cables which need to be in conduit.

Oddly, the flex conduit connections on the rooftop package unit are a problem because the black plastic wrapping has degraded and come off after 25 yrs (duh?). No one has even been able to tell me what it's for or what it does. The "genius" said just double wrap it with friction tape and it will last for years. Yes, friction tape! I'm like "Whhhhaaaaattt?".

The inspector also noted a double tapped breaker (I never had the cover off) and the "guru" said you can't pigtail inside the panel, which is complete BS as far as I know. He also said don't believe anything an electrician says. Really??

The guy even called a bunch of 2x4's stacked to make a beam a gluelam. You can tell they are actual 2X4' since the edges are rounded. They were starting to sag and separate slightly when I moved in so I jacked it up and lag screwed the length every 18". Maybe that's old school/built locally gluelam, but nothing like I ever dealt with before.

If anyone can enlighten me to any of these issues, I'd appreciate it. Looks like no problem with the sale if the appraisal goes well. The wife of the buying couple really really wants the house. And her old man (and I mean old) could really care less and isn't real sharp anymore either. He never even looked at anything.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 03:41 PM
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Let's start with the electric. That seems like the easiest problem, to solve. You didn't say where the exposed cables go or what they do? Can they be rerouted through a crawl space or loft instead?

Can another breaker be added to the box to alleviate the double tapped breaker?
 
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Old 07-14-15, 05:05 PM
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See post #7. The stuff on the patio is in rigid conduit on the verticals in the possible damage areas, but it's just fastened to the framing through holes in the rafters in the ceiling and leads out to a switch, outlet and floods attached to one of the outer support posts. All exposed cables are under cover, no UV, no rain. I'm sure an electrician will just pull it all back and cut it and run the flex stuff with the wires inside, or pull it back through the empty flex stuff(I dunno the terms). At this point, I'm pretty much ready to just let a Pro do it. He can probably knock it out in an hour. It's a PITA having to haul stuff over there, not having what I need with me, etc. And if I'm around the ex- for more than 30min I just get crazy.

Realtor is setting up an estimate appt.

Dunno about the breakers. There's 4 knockouts on the top that say "do not remove", or similar. Even the "guru" seemed confused by that. This is out West. Meter and panel are all on mounted outside.

What do you know about the pigtail? I know all codes are local, but pretty sure it's allowed per NEC. The guru said no.

Don't know the brand, I think its SD, but not sure. (Just verified with ex-, is a SD). Meter at the lower right, connection point to mains on the lower left (sealed) then all the breakers are in the upper part of the cabinet.

Breaker terminals don't look like ones I've seen on here allowing double taps. I'd have to look and verify. Can't post the pic the inspector took.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 06:58 PM
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The flexible conduit on the roof should be Liquidtite or similar. Wrapping with "friction" tape (a cloth tape impregnated with asphalt) is WRONG. Wrapping with PLASTIC tape may be marginally acceptable although I would want the bitter end also wrapped with either a self-fusing tape or a short sleeve of adhesive-lined heat shrink plastic to keep the plastic from unwinding.

The garage wiring I mentioned some time back that you could manufacture a chase from some plywood and 1x common lumber or even 2x4s.

IF the panel has Square D type QO circuit breakers then in most cases (there are a few exceptions) the terminals ARE listed for two conductors. If it is a Homeline panel then only one wire per breaker. Splicing (including pigtailing in the CB panel IS allowable under NEC rules but may be prohibited by local code although I doubt it. Canadian Electrical Code prohibits splices in the CB panel.

Dunno about the breakers. There's 4 knockouts on the top that say "do not remove", or similar. Even the "guru" seemed confused by that.
Quite common, especially when "across" from the main CB. That the "guru" doesn't know that is just one more mark against him.

Breaker terminals don't look like ones I've seen on here allowing double taps. I'd have to look and verify.
If it is the type that has the screw pressing directly on the wire against a vee slot then only one wire is allowed. If it is a large (pan) head screw with a groove on either side of the screw in the threaded plate OR if there is a pressure plate loose on the screw then two wires are allowed.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 07:35 PM
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Thanks Furd. Just to be clear all wiring is under the multilayer rolled on roofing product (whatever it's called) on the patio. Like running it in the attic of a house. Odd how there might be such different rules? Not like it's out on an exposed freestanding pergola (which the inspector made absolutely no mention of).

As to the garage, funny I just saw an article in a magazine about adding an outlet in a kitchen and running it down in the wall and across in the cabinets. I guess the rt angle ends don't need to have the nut on them (like if they were connected to a metal box) as long as they are solidly clamped...using flex I mean. Basically just stick the threaded part in the sheetrock and put a clamp close. A chase was my first thought, but I think it would actually be more expensive and intrusive than just using flex. I was thinking stupid about running Romex in conduit and all that, then realized a short length just for physical protection is acceptable.


As to the panel...this is one of those weird ones (to me) the main is located about 1/2 way down on the right side. Took me a minute when I first moved here to find it. I was so used to the mains at the top.
Yeah, the friction tape just seemed stupid to me, but WTH, if the buyer is ok with it, who am I to complain. Any idea what the original plastic wrap was for? Never saw anything like it in the past.

Oops...misread your post. Yeah, I understand liquidtite makes sense to the AC (like the whips I saw on central AC compressors back in VA). I agree, self vulcanizing tape would seem more appropriate. This stuff is original and is grandfathered in I guess. This area had very few codes until about 15-20 yrs ago. I think they just let the GOB builders do what they wanted.
 

Last edited by Gunguy45; 07-14-15 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 07-14-15, 08:45 PM
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As to the panel...this is one of those weird ones (to me) the main is located about 1/2 way down on the right side. Took me a minute when I first moved here to find it. I was so used to the mains at the top.
Sounds like a split bus panel. Are there spaces for a maximum of six, two-pole circuit breakers in the upper section?
 
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Old 07-14-15, 08:56 PM
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Ehhh...no clue. Not living there now. That sounds right though. Seems like all the 240V loads (used or not) were on the right side in the breaker section. It's wired/plumbed for both gas and electric to range, WH, dryer. All on gas right now.
 
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Old 07-14-15, 11:24 PM
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In a split bus panel the top six double-pole circuit breakers are all considered to be main breakers, one of which is the main for the lower section in its entirety. You can only have double pole CBs in the top portion and in many cases (maybe all cases, I don't remember) the minimum size is a 30 ampere CB. So that would mean water heater, kitchen range, the lower bus main and a maximum of three other 240 volt loads; perhaps to a sub-panel, electric heat, or some other 240 volt load.

Split bus was popular in the 60s and 70s as a lower cost option to a single main circuit breaker. It is allowable under the NEC rule that allows up to six "throws" to shut off all power in the panel. I'm not sure if split bus panels are still being manufactured or are even allowable by current code but most assuredly they were once quite popular.
 
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Old 07-15-15, 09:19 AM
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Actually, as the refs say, "Upon further review...", I don't think it's a split bus. the 240V loads are just arranged that way for convenience I imagine. There's a single main breaker that kills everything it's just not in the location I was used to. I know that for certain from when we had a storm and power kept dropping in and out. I finally just threw the main til it passed. Better than burning things up. Of course I wasn't used to everything being in one enclosure outside either. At least it's not like the few I saw in CA where the panel was built in to the exterior wall.

And this is a 90's home...were split bus still in common use then?
 
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Old 07-15-15, 09:20 AM
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I'll take some pics this afternoon, have to go over and do a few things anyway.
 
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Old 07-15-15, 11:01 PM
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Pics of the problem areas

Garage top and bottom..preexisting
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Porch. Yellow is my additions, other was preexisting
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Panel box. Main is lower right. Double lug is lower left for the white box. A doorbell transformer of all things. Still in the box! Yeah, inspector made no mention of that.

Forgot my reading glasses so all I could make out was Type MP-T L-5338 on the double lug. All the others are SWD Series 1 LP-9698(?). No clue on how to determine if 2 wires are allowed.
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Oh, and the knockouts saying "Do Not Remove"? No buss bar behind them, I dunno why.

Still waiting for electrician and HVAC techs to call.
 
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Old 07-16-15, 12:36 AM
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The type NM cable in the garage I would simply box in as I previously described. I would use hot melt glue to hold it all together and then paint it to match the wall.

The circuit breaker panel is simply upside down, or more correctly, was installed for a bottom feed rather than a top feed. There are no bus bars across from the main breaker because that space is used by the circuit breaker hold-down bracket. This is common. Obviously with no bus bars there would be no place for an additional circuit breaker and that is why the "twist outs" have the Do Not Remove label.

To determine if the circuit breaker will accept two discrete wires you need to look at the wire entry point. If it has a small head, or headless, screw that presses directly on the inserted wire it is for a single wire only. If it has a wide head screw and also has a groove on each side of the screw shank (part of the CB itself) OR has a pressure plate under the screw head along with the grooves then two wires of the same gauge size may be used, one on each side of the screw shank.

The type NM cable under the roof is just plain wrong. It doesn't matter if it is "protected" by the roof, type NM is simply not allowed outdoors.
 
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Old 07-16-15, 01:07 AM
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Thanks Furd, I guess we are the only ones up this late...lol. Actually the do not remove plates are at the top of the last pic, not across from the main. It's just kind of a weird box, they could have but in longer bars and had 4 extra slots or just not had the knockouts in the cover.. I didn't take a pic with the cover in place.

I agree boxing in the garage wire would probably look less industrial IMO, attaching to the wall might the issue and I think the overall cost might actually be more over a section of flex, 2 fittings, and clamps.

Yeah, as to the CB, I understand what you mean...same as an outlet with plates under the screw. I don't think that is the case. I'll lay odds the electrician will say...yeah, we'll just pigtail...boom done.

I know the major deal is going to be the porch wiring. The "guru" actually said that it was allowed in the past, but not anymore. Even I thought that was wrong, though I did it myself. Like I said, really never expected to be moving. Would UF be ok?
 
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Old 07-16-15, 01:40 AM
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Type UF would be acceptable but it is a real bear to work with because of the solid construction.

I'm going to go clean the cat box, wash my hands, brush my teeth and go to bed.
 
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Old 07-16-15, 06:21 PM
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Nothing unsafe, but not to code
If it is not up to code, then it is considered unsafe.

You have a Square D Homeline panel. Those breakers can not be double taped. You may splice in the panel as the NEC does not prohibit it. If the "Guru" still says you can't, then ask him for a NEC or local code reference. You can also ask the local AHJ (inspector). Funny the "Guru" didn't mention anything about the double taped neutrals. That is not allowed under the NEC.

Could you just remove the wiring under the porch, or do the buyers want it/like it?
 
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Old 07-16-15, 08:37 PM
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Ya know, I'm not really sure if they really want it or not. Guess we'll reach that point after the electrician comes out. The items fed by the wiring are the floods, an outlet on the patio, and another outlet out in the yard near the wall.

Does seem odd about all the neutrals doubled up, looks like plenty of room for them individually.
 
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Old 07-17-15, 09:16 AM
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NM is allowed to be run on the surface of the walls, unless subject to damage which is entirely subjective. Since the wall is not damaged it might be hard to say the cable will be damaged.

The transformer should not be in the panel.

Without looking I thought Homeline allowed two conductors like QO.

The pet door violates the fire rating between garage and living areas.

Lots of poor advice and lack of knowledge shown by the report and contractors.
 
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Old 07-17-15, 05:35 PM
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I really don't think the panel looks like a Homeline, but it is an early '90s panel and that is about the time Square D brought out the Homeline line. It really makes no difference other than those breakers do not allow more than one conductor termination in them. No, the guru missed the doorbell transformer in the panel or he just didn't know it shouldn't be there. Regardless, if it wasn't on the list of issues I'd leave it alone. The alledged "Guru" doesn't seem to know a lot about electrical work or codes, how did they happen to even consider bringing him into that meeting as an expert?

BTW, if that is a Homeline panel the "Guru" missed what looks like a Siemens breaker at the lower left of the panel. Only Square D breakers are U.L. Listed for use in Square D panels.
 
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Old 07-17-15, 07:48 PM
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Yeah, like I said...the Guru was a contractor/builder GOB that probably knows the buyers from the Elks. Who knows about the actual inspector.

We're still trying to figure out how ANY of this stuff needs doing when we have an AS-IS agreement. Or at least we thought we did.

I'm just waiting for the electrician now. If it's crazy, we'll have to work something out. I'm actually more concerned with the HVAC guy to fix the duct in the attic. It runs from the unit down about 10 ft to the living space ceiling and the outer plastic covering has failed (Duh, 140 degree attic temps? It's like the PB of HVAC I guess). Maybe he can just wrap it, but I think replacement would require a crane to lift the unit off the base.

I like the area and most of the people, but I swear I'm about ready to sell all my tools and such and move in to Larry's cabin full time. (As long as he lets me use his shop.)

Btw, for those that don't know... GOB=Good Old Boy. Different meaning out here. Doesn't mean a reliable person with values, it means money and connected.
 
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Old 07-17-15, 09:34 PM
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In my area once a buyer and seller agree to the purchase AS IS it negates the disclosure form and any responsibility for the buyer to make any repairs. That is, UNLESS the "as is" notation has a statement to the contrary naming specific items that the buyer will correct prior to closing.

For example: The buyer could "...agree to purchase the house "as is" except for the exposed electrical cable in the garage which the seller will repair or replace to meet the electrical code in force when the cable was installed."
 
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Old 07-17-15, 10:50 PM
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Yeah, I think thats going to be the big discussion come Monday. I really detest the realtor and the ex- has had most of the dealings, but I think it may be time to push the issue.
 
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Old 07-18-15, 04:15 AM
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BTW, if that is a Homeline panel the "Guru" missed what looks like a Siemens breaker at the lower left of the panel. Only Square D breakers are U.L. Listed for use in Square D panels.
Good eye Joe! I did notice that one.
 
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Old 07-18-15, 06:32 AM
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Good eye Joe! I did notice that one.
New glasses.

I am not terribly familiar with the earliest version of Homeline panels and breakers. When Homeline first came out (I think in '90 or '91), did the breakers have the litte square white labels on them like the ones in the picture? The labels look a lot like the old Crouse-Hinds, but the breaker handles look more like Homeline. GunGuy said it was Square D so I'll go with Homeline, it's definitely now a QO panel.

We're still trying to figure out how ANY of this stuff needs doing when we have an AS-IS agreement. Or at least we thought we did.
I think the way I'd handle this situation is first to check the contract. If it really is an AS-IS contract I believe I'd hand the estimates to the realtor and say, here ya go, the buyers will need this.
 
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Old 07-18-15, 07:10 AM
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Btw, for those that don't know... GOB=Good Old Boy.
Thanks for the clarification, I wasn't sure what GOB meant. I came up with "Grouchy Old B------".

On a related, and a bit more serious note, is there any thread/location/sticky that has a list of acronyms and abbreviations?
 
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Old 07-18-15, 08:49 AM
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Not that I am aware of. You will see poco, power company and AHJ, authority having jurisdiction, used a lot here.
 
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Old 07-21-15, 01:33 AM
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Update...

Met with the electrician. Price was reasonable I think, but doubt we'll have him do it all.

He agreed that there was no reason not to pigtail in the panel, though he didn't seem familiar with the term?? Might have been before I explained my background and knowledge. Can I just strip out some 12 ga Romex conductors and DIM? It's only a 15A circuit. He said the transformer in the box is a violation and could be fixed, but since it wasn't on the report, who cares. No mention of the neutrals or the Siemens breaker...so again, not my problem.

Wiring under the porch roof he suggested getting the buyers to agree to pull it out (which I can do in 30 min) or he can hard pipe it on the surface for $225. If the buyers don't care, and I kinda think they won't, boom it's gone. Said he can't use typical metal flex for moisture and rust issues, would have to be Liquidtite which I guess is kind of a pain?.

He want's to use EMT in the garage as well (though it's off center a bit) because he said you can't use flex due to the above issues. Said he could use PVC. Probably has plenty of EMT on the truck I would guess?

Do boxes in an attic (not a traffic or storage area) need to be secured to a joist or rafter? Can they just sit loose out in the open?

I just really want this crap done and be out from under. Still waiting for the appraisal report, that could blow the whole deal.
 
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