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Old 01-02-2012, 02:19 AM   #1
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


I am purchasing a home and had a home inspection. Was there at time of inspection, and inspector mentioned that the wiring for the dryer's 240V connection may be miswired based on the gauge thickness of the wires attached to the 30 Amp breaker switch and the 20 Amp one adjacent to it (black wire swapped between breakers), but he couldn't say for sure that was the case.

And also the electrical panel was missing dead-front cover, and panel is kind of old. You can see the PDF excerpt of report here:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/dlshare/tem...icalwiring.pdf

so just wanted some thoughts before I proceed with anything or have an electrician take a look (after I get the house).

Questions:
  • Can I simply swap back the black wires between the 30 and 20 Amp breakers to remedy the issue? Or should more analysis of the wiring be done? For swapping the wires, just flip off main power breaker (and the breakers being rewired) at the panel and rewire then flip on, or do I have to call utility to shut off power first and turn back on later?
  • based on photos should electrical panel be replaced, or better to keep until problems arise then change as it's still functional?
  • and compared to making the changes myself, how much would an electrician typically charge to replace an electrical panel, or for a simple job of rewiring the improper breaker wiring connection?
thanks in advance for advice.

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Old 01-02-2012, 03:56 AM   #2
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


Quote:
Originally Posted by daluu View Post
I am purchasing a home and had a home inspection. Was there at time of inspection, and inspector mentioned that the wiring for the dryer's 240V connection may be miswired based on the gauge thickness of the wires attached to the 30 Amp breaker switch and the 20 Amp one adjacent to it (black wire swapped between breakers), but he couldn't say for sure that was the case.

And also the electrical panel was missing dead-front cover, and panel is kind of old. You can see the PDF excerpt of report here:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/dlshare/tem...icalwiring.pdf

so just wanted some thoughts before I proceed with anything or have an electrician take a look (after I get the house).

Questions:
  • Can I simply swap back the black wires between the 30 and 20 Amp breakers to remedy the issue? Or should more analysis of the wiring be done? For swapping the wires, just flip off main power breaker (and the breakers being rewired) at the panel and rewire then flip on, or do I have to call utility to shut off power first and turn back on later?
  • based on photos should electrical panel be replaced, or better to keep until problems arise then change as it's still functional?
  • and compared to making the changes myself, how much would an electrician typically charge to replace an electrical panel, or for a simple job of rewiring the improper breaker wiring connection?
thanks in advance for advice.
You may think that changing two wires is a simple job BUT !
No good electricain would change it,
before checking that everything else is ok too.

Your system needs a fair bit of work !
I would get an electricain to check everything!
If you want peace of mind !

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Old 01-02-2012, 03:57 AM   #3
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


Can we get some normal pictures please? And I don't really understand what Gage wire is connected at the dryer?
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:01 AM   #4
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


If you are unable to find a replacement inner cover or whatever was missing fromt he panel you may have to put in a new panel. This will likely require that the power company shut the power off while this is done, and depending on the positions of the knockouts on the new panel, splicing (and pigtailing) some of the circuit wires after they enter the panel.

Swapping circuit conductors among breakers does not need a real expert; just flip off the breakers in question.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:59 PM   #5
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


I love HI's that only know enough to sound professional.

Did he really all out that IC can for being "in contact" with insulation?
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:41 PM   #6
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


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Originally Posted by Julius793 View Post
Can we get some normal pictures please? And I don't really understand what Gage wire is connected at the dryer?
Thanks for all the comments. I can follow up later with better photos. The photo here came from inspectors report. I didn't take pictures myself at the time (perhaps I should have), and the house is occupied, haven't closed on it yet.

Regarding gauge wire at dryer, do you mean the 240V outlet connection? No idea unless the outlet cover is removed I guess. The current owner's dryer is gas, so outlet is unused, though inspector checked that it was at least working via a meter tool.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:46 PM   #7
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
You may think that changing two wires is a simple job BUT !
No good electricain would change it,
before checking that everything else is ok too.

Your system needs a fair bit of work !
I would get an electricain to check everything!
If you want peace of mind !
I figured that was so, but wanted your inputs beforehand, trying to save money. The home does have some minor issues with a few electrical outlets, some aren't grounded (old home, not updated), and could use more outlets in some areas. But just want to fix what's really necessary for now. And inspections here, there all add up in costs, unless electrician nice enough to do a free home assessment
and provide quotes for repairs of individual items. But I'll contact an electrician about that later.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:50 PM   #8
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
I love HI's that only know enough to sound professional.

Did he really all out that IC can for being "in contact" with insulation?
He didn't specifically say they were in contact, but that he couldn't verify that since didn't have adequate (or safe/secure) access to walk / crawl the attic. And I guess he didn't want to dismantle recessed lighting trim from ceiling on a currently inhabited house to check or something.

I posted a related thread for that to help figure out if the recessed lights are IC or non-IC:

Recessed lighting housing - how to tell if is IC or non IC?
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:46 PM   #9
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


Since you have not signed anything, have the sellers fix the electrical. Most likely it could require a permit to be pulled, so as a buyer you should be working with a lawyer also if you want to do everything correct.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:29 PM   #10
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


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Since you have not signed anything, have the sellers fix the electrical. Most likely it could require a permit to be pulled, so as a buyer you should be working with a lawyer also if you want to do everything correct.
Well, home is in escrow, haven't closed on it yet. Had inspection done and contingency period should be over now I think. Seller has agreed to fix certain items but this wasn't one of them.

I guess can try to negotiate with seller about this. If they won't agree to fixing it, then how much can I ask for a price reduction or closing credit based on these type of work to be done? For reference this property is in San Jose, CA.

And also what if seller agrees to fix things but does sloppy (DIY or cheap contractor) job, and you can't tell w/o (paying?) having electricians and others to inspect the fixes appropriately, that still adds to my costs. Isn't it in best interest to fix important things oneself (that are not required by law for seller to fix) as seller is motivated against quality to cut costs when fixing things.

I have a buyer's agent, but I should get a lawyer too? How much will that add to my costs for lawyer? Is the lawyer needed for work that I do after getting the house or to verify seller's work on fixing thing? The lawyer would be there for reviewing the proper paperwork and permits?
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:16 PM   #11
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


Yes you should get a lawyer. A Real Estate agent barely knows how to market homes, besides with the fact that most are in cahoots with the home inspector, etc. And right now they are really flooded with inventory, and those that are still hanging in there are battling each other for commissions.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:38 PM   #12
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


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Yes you should get a lawyer. A Real Estate agent barely knows how to market homes, besides with the fact that most are in cahoots with the home inspector, etc. And right now they are really flooded with inventory, and those that are still hanging in there are battling each other for commissions.
But I should get a lawyer specializing in real estate right? How best to look a good one up?

And what could the layer be able to review at present if I were to get one? All the documents I have regarding the property, particularly the home inspection report? Because a more thorough review of the electrical issues would require an inspection by an electrical contractor first (who if good one should know if permits needed).
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:43 PM   #13
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


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But I should get a lawyer specializing in real estate right? How best to look a good one up?

And what could the layer be able to review at present if I were to get one? All the documents I have regarding the property, particularly the home inspection report? Because a more thorough review of the electrical issues would require an inspection by an electrical contractor first (who if good one should know if permits needed).
Forget the lawyer ....

All he will do is cost you a fortune and take your money probably in the neighborhood of $2000. Seller is not obligated to fix anything. You should submit your list of items to be repaired or upgraded and then see what the seller can afford to do and is willing to do. Main thing is that the home is structually sound, no water intrusion, or basement flooding etc... Wiring can be repaired over time. Check for any disclosures in the contract etc...

The seller may not be able to afford a panel replacement but I would ask as that is a zinsco panel, not the best on the planet. Pay an electrical contractor for cost estimate if seller is not willing or can't afford it.

Don't by a house that isn't what you expect, your really the only one that can protect yourself from that mistake.

Is buying the house a done deal ??

EDIT ... forgot to mention to check with your insurance company that will insure the home as to things they are objectionable to insuring.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:39 PM   #14
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


Yea, I was leaning towards not getting a lawyer.

The house is almost a done deal, pending some fixes by seller and mortgage loan completion, and the closing.

House inspected w/o major issues, just less minor problems here there. It does have a permitted family room addition that was approved by the city a while back (I looked over the permits to confirm). Addition looks professionally done, and the outlets there are grounded. The issues are in the original parts of home, excluding the addition.

This is a house I do like as well. Compared to other homes on the market in the area, this one's pretty decent in shape and price, though compared to some slightly pricier ones, not fully remodeled (kitchen, baths, but that's ok for me).
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:48 PM   #15
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Miswire for 240V and electrical panel replacment?


I don't understand, even in a buyers market, all the people that try to get the seller to make the house to the buyers desires. The buyer is buying a used home. Would you expect a used car to come with the same equipment as a car ten years newer? Do they think the dealer is going to install those options and take a price reduction?

This is not directed to the OP, just comments based on some of the replies in this thread.

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