Breaker Panels

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  #1  
Old 08-29-19, 09:41 PM
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Breaker Panels

I need some advice. My landlord has recently closed the business he had in his basement. This business and the home he purchased in the 60's. Each have it's own meters and breaker panels. He was told that a few ceiling lights in the residence were on the business panel, so he asked if they could be moved to the residential panel when he disconnects the business service. I found a real mess. Most of the entire building is on the business panel and the remaining were on the the other panel. That panel, even though it has it's own meter, has NO MAIN BREAKER. There is my dilemma.
So, about half of the business panel load will go away when I remove the business circuits. I want to have the service disconnected on the NO MAIN panel and treat it as a sub-panel. That way the whole structure is on one service. The total load will be within the allowable load for the "business" panel's service. That's a mouthful. Setting aside each municipal code requirements, would this generally be allowable considering the situation?
 
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Old 08-29-19, 10:06 PM
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Turning the business panel into a sub panel off the residence panel should be acceptable everywhere. You will need to separate the grounds and neutrals if they are not already separate.
 
  #3  
Old 08-30-19, 04:25 AM
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...There is my dilemma.
So, about half of the business panel load will go away when I remove the business circuits...
Sorry, a bit confused here. You state this is your landlords property. Assuming you live here also or rent from your landlord. Why are you doing the actual work? Are you licensed and insured? There may be a liability issue here with you doing the work on your landlords property. Just checking
 
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Old 08-30-19, 04:37 PM
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That's what I thought, joed. I just wanted to make sure I was thinking correctly. AFJES, the concerns you raise is good advice have been discussed between us. I am qualified to do the work, but I'm not licensed or do I have liability insurance. Since he is aware of this and knows my qualifications, he doesn't have any concerns or issues.
 
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Old 08-31-19, 05:19 AM
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This is the landlord's dilemma , not yours. I would not touch anything where owner says code requirements can be ignored.
 
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Old 08-31-19, 12:59 PM
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No main breaker if 6 or less handles for disconnecting is perfectly legal. I have seen lots of services like this. Most had sub panels for the smaller circuits. Unless you owe this guy big time I would shy away from work like this. It is muddy, messy and bound to bring you grey hair. If you must contact the authority having jurisdiction and ask for help. Redesigning this mess would not be something I would want on my karma.
 
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Old 08-31-19, 03:22 PM
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The other issue with this proposed set up is the fact that now everything in the building will be on the residential service.

If there are "common areas" in this building such as entrances that go to the residence and basement or parking area lights etc the tenant will now be paying for all the "Landlords" electrical usage.

Any building that has common areas where the units are rented out must have a "House Meter" (separate service) which services the "common areas" so the tenant/s is not charged for the electrical usage in those common areas.

If the landlord plans on giving the tenant (which I would assume in this case is only one tenant) full access/use of the entire building (as a single residence rental including the basement) then the tenant can be responsible for all of the electrical usage charges by the power company. <---- Someone please check me on this. I believe this is still the code as I am retired and not up to date on all recent codes.

Any utilities such as a sump pump, well water (if not town water) etc, must be figured in. If the lease (if presently occupied) does not include the electrical charges for such things in the home (because it was on the business panel to start with) then there can be issues again where now the tenant is now paying for this electrical usage.
 
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Old 09-06-19, 07:51 AM
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I want to thank everyone for the input you provided. I spoke with the code enforcement officer about the job that needs done. Interestingly enough, no license or certification is required on my part to do this job. After going over the detailed drawing submitted he wasn't even going to inspect anything, provided we submit any changes we may do. However, he did recommend the intended combined panel be replaced due to the controversy surrounding it (which is a Federal Pacific Electric or FPE for short). So, based on the scope of the job, my friend/landlord and I decided to have an insured electrician do the work. We felt that it may be possible the homeowners insurance might get their shorts in a bunch by not using an insured electrician, should anything unforeseen happen. Thanks again!
 
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Old 09-06-19, 08:48 AM
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Glad to hear you opted for an electrician for this. I think a job like this may be a bit much for a DIYer.
 
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Old 09-07-19, 04:07 AM
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Glad you and he has decided to hire a licensed and insured electrician to do the panel.

If you had mentioned this-
However, he did recommend the intended combined panel be replaced due to the controversy surrounding it (which is a Federal Pacific Electric or FPE for short)
You would have heard from many of us to advise your friend to swap out the FPE panel because of the reasons of failures. Very happy to see this is being replaced
 
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Old 09-07-19, 08:07 AM
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Sorry. It didn't occur to me at the time to mention the panel manufacturer. I knew it had unfavorable breaker issues, but final test results from the Consumer Product Safety Commission found no reason for alarm and closed it's investigation. The results showed that even though some breakers didn't trip at the designated amperage, they did trip at an amperage slightly above that value. That value wasn't high enough to cause dangerous conditions. So I wasn't going to replace it, but it would make sense to do it during this job. I am going to remove all of the business circuits, wiring and fixtures, to simplify the electricians job. That is required to change that meter's designation from "On Demand" to "Residential". Oh, another unintentional omission is this municipality has it's own electric company.
 
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