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Old 02-24-2013, 11:43 AM   #1
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


I had my service panel changed and the code here says an master electrician has to do the job.

So I had the guy out for the cost of 100/hr to do my panel, which to me is crazy for something so simple.

Anyway, my question is this:

When he installed the new panel, he shoved all the wires into a rigid pipe/conduit and screwed it into the large hole at the top of the box made precisely for that conduit. The box is located and easily accessible in the garage.

When the electrical inspector showed up, he chewed the electricians butt out for putting the wires in the conduit and said this wasn't code.

When I asked him why it wasn't code or what the purpose of the code was, he literally had no answer other than 'it isn't code'. The electrician, realizing the error of his ways, reluctantly agreed with the inspector, but he too could not explain what the purpose of the code was, but that this type of pipe was only acceptable in odd basement applications.

Can any electricians out there explain to me why this conduit is not code in a garage installation in which the walls are simply batte insulation, 2X4 and 1/8 paneling?

Thanks


Last edited by Bradeno; 02-24-2013 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:57 AM   #2
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So I had the guy out for the cost of 100/hr to do my panel, which to me is crazy for something so simple.
Knowledge, tools, insurance, taxes, licensing, time...nothing like a slap in the face to every electrician on here to start your post off.

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Old 02-24-2013, 12:03 PM   #3
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


Clearly, he didn't have all the knowledge necessary or the inspector (who makes a very good wage as well for not knowing why he is doing what he is doing) wouldn't have chewed him out

Sorry, but I have lots of experience, schooling, and knowledge as an engineer and I don't make anywhere near 100/hr (nor do I believe I should) and peoples' lives routinely depend upon my work (which includes tools, knowledge, insurance, time, and licensing) , just like an electrician. I don't have a problem with people making good money, but 100/hr for such a routine job that I or my journeyman electrician friends could have done easily is way too much to me. But if this realistic opinion means that means you can't answer my question, so be it. Thanks for the help, buddy.

Last edited by Bradeno; 02-24-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:14 PM   #4
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


To be honest with you 100/hr souinds about right if he did the entire job including getting the panel and so on. I had my electrician do it on the side and I paid him $250 for the job but I bought the box and supplied some tools and a hand when he replaced my main panel. Took him 5 hours. Oh btw, you claim of it being so simple is far from the truth. You might think its simple but anytime you are working with electricity its not as easy and pull out and plug in the new one. If it was that simple there would be no such thing as electricians. As for the reasoning of why that did not meet code (and correct me if I am wrong) but there is a code on the number of wires you can run in a single conduit (known as the fill). You cant just try and stuff as many wires as you can in a conduit and call it a day. Im not sure what the exact percentage of fill rate it is though. That is just my guess on why that did not meet code. I could be wrong.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:16 PM   #5
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


Do you really think the company you work for bills for your work at the same rate they pay you? Wake up. Companies need to cover overhead costs like gas, trucks, materials, insurance, benefits and a myriad of other expenses besides salaries even before making a profit.

Now here is the code article the inspector should have cited.

312.5 Cabinets, Cutout Boxes, and Meter Socket Enclosures.
Conductors entering enclosures within the scope of
this article shall be protected from abrasion and shall comply
with 312.5(A) through (C).
(A) Openings to Be Closed. Openings through which conductors
enter shall be adequately closed.
(B) Metal Cabinets, Cutout Boxes, and Meter Socket
Enclosures. Where metal enclosures within the scope of
this article are installed with messenger-supported wiring,
open wiring on insulators, or concealed knob-and-tube wiring,
conductors shall enter through insulating bushings or,
in dry locations, through flexible tubing extending from the
last insulating support and firmly secured to the enclosure.
(C) Cables. Where cable is used, each cable shall be secured
to the cabinet, cutout box, or meter socket enclosure.
Exception: Cables with entirely nonmetallic sheaths shall
be permitted to enter the top of a surface-mounted enclosure
through one or more nonflexible raceways not less
than 450 mm (18 in.) and not more than 3.0 m (10 ft) in
length, provided all of the following conditions are met:
(a) Each cable is fastened within 300 mm (12 in.),
measured along the sheath, of the outer end of the raceway.
(b) The raceway extends directly above the enclosure
and does not penetrate a structural ceiling.
(c) A fitting is provided on each end of the raceway to
protect the cable(s) from abrasion and the fittings remain
accessible after installation.
(d) The raceway is sealed or plugged at the outer end
using approved means so as to prevent access to the enclosure
through the raceway.
(e) The cable sheath is continuous through the raceway
and extends into the enclosure beyond the fitting not
less than 6 mm (1⁄4 in.).
(f) The raceway is fastened at its outer end and at
other points in accordance with the applicable article.
(g) Where installed as conduit or tubing, the allowable
cable fill does not exceed that permitted for complete conduit
or tubing systems by Table 1 of Chapter 9 of this Code
and all applicable notes thereto.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:30 PM   #6
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Sorry, but I have lots of experience, schooling, and knowledge as an engineer and I don't make anywhere near 100/hr
I'm sorry, but this statement pisses me off to no end.

Do you HONESTLY think an electrical contractor who charges $100/hr really "makes" $100 and hour??? If you think this you know NOTHING about being in business.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:32 PM   #7
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


Oh, and the inspector should have been able to quote you a code section right then and there. THAT IS HIS JOB.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:37 PM   #8
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


You dont have to be a rocket scientist to know that either. Im not sure how it works when you go to a company to have electrical work done. But when I had mine replaced I payed for the panel ($450). I have read that anytime you get a panel replaced it costs around $1000 so I am not sure if that means you pay for the panel they get. In any case the company charging say $100 doesnt mean the electrician gets that money. He might only get $25 worth of that hourly $100. I dont know exactly. But still if it was that simple then you could have done it yourself. Not trying to sound nasty but you come on here wanting their help and right off the bat you blast them with what you think is a high price. Dont get me wrong I think its high BUT you can either have it done by a professional the first time (remember they are insured) or do it yourself and have that risk that something goes wrong.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:40 PM   #9
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To be honest with you 100/hr souinds about right if he did the entire job including getting the panel and so on. I had my electrician do it on the side and I paid him $250 for the job but I bought the box and supplied some tools and a hand when he replaced my main panel. Took him 5 hours. Oh btw, you claim of it being so simple is far from the truth. You might think its simple but anytime you are working with electricity its not as easy and pull out and plug in the new one. If it was that simple there would be no such thing as electricians. As for the reasoning of why that did not meet code (and correct me if I am wrong) but there is a code on the number of wires you can run in a single conduit (known as the fill). You cant just try and stuff as many wires as you can in a conduit and call it a day. Im not sure what the exact percentage of fill rate it is though. That is just my guess on why that did not meet code. I could be wrong.
I was guessing it was something like that, however I tugged on the wires above the conduit after he left and it seem like it would be very easy to pull one out of the conduit were I to ever have the need. I have 16 wires in there and the diameter is nearly 2.5". Would that violate code? It is more than enough area (nearly 5 sq-in) for wires that are only about .5 cm-sq each, doesn't it?

Thank you very much for the response. I appreciate it and it probably is correct.

BTW, I also bought the box and all the breakers and it took him about 5 hours @ 100/hr + permit, so I think you got a better deal. And the guy I used was the cheapest (and nicest) electrician in town by a long stretch. I am not saying it isn't important work--it definitely is, but it isn't that specialized or complicated; every house has a box. It isn't like I was dealing with giant industrial boxes and wires. And the city turned off all the incoming power and came by a few times throughout the day, including beginning and end, to inspect, so it isn't really dangerous work either.

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Old 02-24-2013, 12:45 PM   #10
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BTW, I also bought the box and all the breakers and it took him about 5 hours @ 100/hr + permit, so I think you got a better deal. And the guy I used was the cheapest (and nicest) electrician in town by a long stretch. I am not saying it isn't important work--it definitely is, but it isn't that specialized or complicated; every house has a box. It isn't like I was dealing with giant industrial boxes and wires. And the city turned off all the incoming power and came by a few times throughout the day, including beginning and end, to inspect, so it isn't really dangerous work either.
It actually IS pretty specialized work. If you consider it so simple, and you bought the material, why didn't you do it??
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:45 PM   #11
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


100/hr? I get whored out at $150/hr. No, I don't make that much....but that is the hourly rate for me to be on a job site.....

What a lot of people fail to realize is what the real cost/hr is.

For the average person working an hourly job....lets say he makes $30/hr...to the company, it will cost them another $15-20/hr just in SS and other costs....that not including health benefits. Then there is overhead....the truck he drives costs money....insurance....tools.....business taxes....

So....that $30 wage can easily cost another $50-75 more in the additional over head....that's the fact of running a business.

To the OP....I suspect the electrician will make good on the changes at no additional charge? If so....no big deal....you get what you want. However, if he is charging you for the time....well, then you might have an argument on him charging $100/hr to make mistakes.

But I somehow bet that he fixes it at no charge.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:47 PM   #12
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I posted the reasons it was wrong 20 minutes ago. Did you read it?

BTW, the 2008 NEC was over 700 pages and it changes every 3 years. Keeping up with it is nothing complicated like engineering. IIRC the field guys are where the engineering mistakes get fixed.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:48 PM   #13
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After reading your posts and getting a sense of your attitude, maybe the EC's normal rate was only $80/hr and added a PITA charge of $20/hr.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
I'm sorry, but this statement pisses me off to no end.

Do you HONESTLY think an electrical contractor who charges $100/hr really "makes" $100 and hour??? If you think this you know NOTHING about being in business.
I really didn't intend for this to be a fight at all. I apologize. It was the guy's own company. What he bills goes towards his business and his bills. 100/hr is too much, in my opinion, but he can charge it because the city forces me to use him for these jobs even though there are plenty of people out there who would (and could) do it right for less, so he (and other master electricians) can charge higher and higher prices for a routine job. That is a fact.

And he screwed up anyway. Not that I really care at all; I think the inspector was just being a dick, the conduit is fine in my opinion, but all this nonsense about him being so well trained doesn't add up.

I am not belittling your craft at all; it is very skilled and important and useful. But it isn't rocket science. And, having known actual rocket scientists at Boeing and NG and NASA, I can tell you: most of them aren't making 100/hr unless they are at the top of the food chain and doing more than just routine jobs and calculations.

100/hr is disproportionate as a cost, even factoring in insurance and continued education etc. Changing a box doesn't require any really specialized electrical tools at all that most people don't already have in their shop.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:56 PM   #15
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After reading your posts and getting a sense of your attitude, maybe the EC's normal rate was only $80/hr and added a PITA charge of $20/hr.
Nice. Thank you for your wisdom.

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