What's wrong with this

mike_kaiser_gwSeptember 26, 2010

This is a sub-panel in my Mom's house. Would anyone like to comment on what's wrong. When we're done with the comments, I'll show you what's missing from the picture.

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I have seen much worse. If it is like most around here, the feeders to that "subpanel" are stuck under the main lugs of the box above.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 4:54PM
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Blue for neutral is not allowed.
Double lugged blue and white on lower right.
As a sub panel neutral ground bonded is not allowed.
Bushing needed on nipple upper left to prevent wire chafing.
Cables need to fastened to the wall where they exit the box.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 6:51PM
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My guess is he's not showing is that the #12s feeding this sub(that has a dbl30, a single30, and two single 20s) come right off the main lugs, either after, or possible before the main breaker/fuses. Also I would like to point out the missing ko fillers, the mixing of breaker types/brands, the grounds and neutrals on the same bar(not allowed here anyway), and the incorrect ko for the connector on the bottom left, since nobody pointed those out yet. This setup is an inspectors dream! Also, not unusual I must say.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 10:09PM
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This setup is an inspectors dream!

Give that man a ceegar.

The house was built in the late 50's and has had two additions over the years. Near as I can figure, the sub-panel in question was added in 1998 to accommodate central A/C. The red breaker serves part of the kitchen which was remodeled in the early 70's as part of an addition (and we won't quibble about dedicated countertop appliance circuits). There's another sub-panel, not pictured, that would have originally served that kitchen circuit. I have no idea why it was moved. Half the tandem breaker serves a light/heat/vent unit in one bathroom and the other half serves the bathroom of the latest addition. That bathroom is the only work that would have been covered by the inspection, although the contractor likely replaced a single break with the tandem. I don't know why the inspector didn't have any issues with the sub-panel, perhaps he felt that the existing work was grandfathered. Although that doesn't explain the unsecured yellow NM.

It's a heck of a mess in any case and the best part is that you have to stand over an open sump pit to work on the panels! I guess they were a little less concerned about access back in the 50's. :-)

All this started when my Mom asked me to put a receptacle in the bathroom. My Dad died in the middle of the bathroom renovation and in the confusion nobody thought to put a receptacle in the bathroom. So now I'm not sure what to do. A service upgrade is in order but it's going to be a expensive nightmare. At the very least the panel will need to be moved 15'-20' away from its present location just to meet current accessibility requirements...

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 5:51AM
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mismatched breaker companies, blu used as neu, neu/grd combined,no bushing on nipple. open k/o's. sorry about your Dad. if its not too late, i reccommend a squareD QO panel.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 11:10PM
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Ron Natalie

They all look like type BR breakers to me. That old Bryant panel line has been the illegitimate child of a dozen companies including ITE Siements, Westinghouse (whose breakers appear in the picture), etc... I think Eaton (parent of Cutler-Hammer) owns it now.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 8:51AM
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Yes they are all type BR or whatever the maker decided to call their version on that day. But most all makers of these "generic" boxes and breakers state that only the same brand of breaker is OK in a given box. For instance, depending on which big box store you buy at, Murray and Siemens are the same box (except for a few stickers) made by the same company, but if one goes strictly by the letter, you cannot use a Murray breaker in the Siemens box, or vice versa. The GE breakers sold right beside them work fine too, as far as electrons are concerned.

It would make far too much sense to just call them ALL type BR and skip all the "the sky will fall if you interchange breakers" routine.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 4:44PM
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Been using homeline breakers in every one of those panels for as long as I can remember.

Sue me. (And yes, I'm sure someone will.)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 1:36PM
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