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Old 04-07-2009, 11:28 AM   #1
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Need opinion on Electricians 'work'


So I hired an electrician to upgrade an old 60AMP breaker panel to 200AMP panel in my house. The old panel was a federal pacific panel, very small in size and rusty... and yes, dangerous fire hazard.

Once he opened things up, we found out that the the builder of the house (43yrs ago) actually cut into the brick/blocks of the wall of the house to be able to recess the smaller old panel into the wall, there is drywall directly over the blocks.
So we don't really want him to cut more of the blocks out of the wall to fit the larger panel in, so we said it would be fine to just mount it on the wall.
What we didn't realize is that he would mount a large piece of board on the wall, onto which he would mount the new panel. Although this room isn't at it's best right now, we plan on repainting it and putting down carpet and making it a nice livable area in the near future. So I was shocked when I saw that he mounted this giant ugly board on the wall and also how much drywall he cut out to do his work. I'm wondering if there is a better or more proper way for him to install this, but I know nothing about how it could be done.

Take a look at the picture attached and tell me if this is really the best way install a box like this w/out cutting into the cement block behind the drywall? Is it appropriate for me to ask him how he plans on finishing this properly? I don't want to step on his toes, but I'm seriously upset about the appearance so far. If anyone has any advice... or suggestions... please reply... Or if anyone has seen a panel mounted like this before, what have you done to make it more 'pleasant' the the eyes or to to conceal it?

Yes, I know the door isn't on it yet, there will be a panel cover. So don't worry about that.

Thanks for your opinions.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:44 AM   #2
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Need opinion on Electricians 'work'


It's pretty standard to put plywood up & then the panel
I actually have 4x8 plywood up, but its in the basement

Hard to say if that is the way to rouet the wire
But generally cutting out the drywall is easier

Did you specify what you wanted done in any way?
Did you discuss with him in advance that this would be a finished room?
Did you specify that the area was to be refinished as part of the project?
I would think most electricians aren't drywall people - but can probably do the job

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Old 04-07-2009, 12:33 PM   #3
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I agree with Scuba's post and I would have the same questions for you.
That is a COMPLETELY standard way of installing a panel. In fact it is a VERY neat job.
That is a NOT a "giant" ugly board. It is actually on the smaller side of what would typically be used.
Typically what you see is standard. There is no "finishing" involved.
I myself paint my boards grey.

I am of the firm opinion that if you were going to be this picky about the installation I would think you would have been MUCH more thorough with him BEFORE hand instead of ripping this clean installation afterward.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:55 PM   #4
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You can build the wall out it's entire length to the depth of the panel. All you would lose is about 4" from the room size. Some sheetrock and paint and you would have a nice flush mount panel.

Overall, the electrician did a fine job.
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:14 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your replies so far, I appreciate all the expert opinions, please keep them coming. I just want to say I don't mean to 'rip' on my guy's work, I just had no idea what to expect because 1. I have never owned a home before so I had no idea what to anticipate and 2. I have never hired an electrician before, so I had no idea how they do their thing and what they do to get it done.

I'm glad to hear the reassurance about the board being standard procedure and it puts my mind at ease that he's doing things right. He doesn't communicate very well so he didn't describe the process in advance so after he was at my house for a day and a half, then left w/out even saying a word or saying he's not done yet, I was quite shocked to see what I saw. I appreciate your reassurance though that this is standard and proper. For someone who's never heard/seen how this is done, it was a surprise.

To Speedy Petey... I would have been more thorough with him had I any idea about what to even ask for... But considering it is already a finished drywalled room, I anticipated he would leave it in the same condition in which he found it. He did not inform me otherwise. This is a split level home so the front of this room is above ground with a large picture window, so it's not very basement-like, it just needs the old floor tiles removed and refinished with nice carpet and a fresh coat of paint on the wall.

To Scuba Dave's quesitons:
Did you specify what you wanted done in any way?
Answer: When we discussed the work, he knew there would be some drywall repair and since this is his personal contracting company and they do renovations all the time, his brother does the drywall, so I'm anticipating they will at least fix the hole up top, I'm not too concerned about that. I just thought they would have just drilled through the drywall all the way to the cement block behind it and mounted that panel that way.
Did you discuss with him in advance that this would be a finished room?
Answer: The room is already finished, actually, drywall everywhere, built in bookshelves, large picture window, proper lighting, etc... just the tile on the floor is ancient so the tile needs redone and the walls need repainted. I would assume a professional doing work in a finished room like that would bring it back to the condition he found it in.
Did you specify that the area was to be refinished as part of the project?
Answer: I assumed so not knowing what the standard procedure what. I figured if you tear something down, you're responsible to build it back up. Was I wrong? As I mentioned, he did say his brother would finish the drywall they cut out.
I would think most electricians aren't drywall people - but can probably do the job

I like the suggestion I got from "InPhase277" about building up the drywall around the box... would it be an unreasonable request to make of them to build up drywall around the box to that corner of the room? If they wanted to charge me for that extra work... what would be a fair price?

Please forgive my lack of experience with this type of stuff.... but this is why I'm getting your opinions before I approach him to know what is within my right to request and expect vs what is out of scope.

Thanks again!

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Old 04-07-2009, 01:29 PM   #6
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It is a very nice & neat install
Is that a whole house surge at the bottom of the panel? Looks like it.
If the room was finished prior to the job it should be finished at the end (IMO)
From his work he looks to be a Pro with experience who cares about his work
From the picture it wass hard to tell if this is in a partially finished basement - thus my questions to finish
Building out an enclosure is a good idea
I think I would only do that corner

I had a plumber come in & do some work - quite a bit
Seems every time I turned around the job became bigger
But everything he did was professional & required
I did tell him that I would do the demo & put new drywall up myself

Very hard as you say to specifiy what you want & ask questions when you don't even know the right questions to ask
As a homeowner/DIY I know what you mean

I've learned a lot from this board & learn more each day
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:34 PM   #7
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Does anyone see the ground wire?
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:51 PM   #8
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I understand about the bad communications. Some guys are just like that. Sometimes I am the opposite and over communicate.
I will admit, in a finished room I certainly WOULD have told my customer that the panel will be exposed and that you would have to get someone to build an enclosure. In fact this has happened many times.

Split-levels can be a PIA in this respect that there is sometimes no way to "hide" a panel during an upgrade, especially when the new panel is MUCH larger than the old.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:02 PM   #9
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Don't see any on the ground bars
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:05 PM   #10
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I don't think he cut a lot of drywall. A 8' x 8" patch is just the same to repair as a 12" x 36".

Hanging a panel on plywood is normal in some areas. I wouldn't have wasted the effort though. I would have just hung it on the dryall covered brick.

It's a clean installation except for the exposed cables. I would have made the effort to conceal them.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:10 PM   #11
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InPhase277 has the best idea.
Otherwise how do you cover all the cable coming out the top of the panel??
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loyal View Post
Don't see any on the ground bars
The grounds and neutrals are interchangeable in this panel, because it is the main. The ground wire for the grounding electrode comes in very sneakily on the left hand side of the main service cable. You have to look real close.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:18 PM   #13
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Scuba Dave... thank you for your input...
Yes, it is an Eaton Cutler Hammer whole house surge, the 'ultra' model :-)
Although I know nothing about electrical components, I do work for Cutler Hammer, so I talked with the product design team at work and to with this electrician to determine what some of the best stuff I should have put in is. So everything in there is CH; factory direct :-). Just being a loyal corporate citizen... plus everyone keeps telling me we make pretty darn good products. I guess I'll find out!
(I also just had a whole bunch of plumbing work done - 22yr old tank taken out, tankless rinnai put in, leaky water main fixed, new pipe run to laundry area, standpipe added, new laundry sink added, old cement sink demolished... but the plumber was so professional an communicated and explained everything so clearly that I knew exactly what to expect and had all the cost 100% upfront).

Can anyone tell me what it would cost to build a drywall enclosure just immediately around the new Loadcenter and to that corner? Not even to the floor.. just to the bottom of the panel. I will discuss with him what he was planning on doing to finish it and if we can pay him the difference to build up the little extra dryway around that panel.

To TazinCR - I'm sure there is a ground somewhere b/c part of the work was to add the two grounding rods to the outside, b/c previously the electrical was grounded to the plumbing in the house.

Thanks all for your input...
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TazinCR View Post
Does anyone see the ground wire?
Yes, looks like 2 - one on each side of mian wire
One to ground rods, other to water pipe?
I used zoom to enlarge pic

As to exposed cables, she did mention he's not finished
Kinda obvious since the cover is off

I'd discuss with electrician the finish work
He may prefer a drywaller comes into build out the fake area
Or he may be able to do it
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:23 PM   #15
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Ahhh...there it is

There must also be a bonding jumper or bonding screw someplace too,
to bond the enclosure. Is that right? Looks like there might be one
on the left between the ground and neutral bars.

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