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Old 02-24-2013, 04:59 PM   #46
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


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I take pride in the outcome of my work and welcome criticism because it makes me better at my job. I am not even criticizing the work here. Only the price. Come on.
A) I find it hard to believe that there are only a handful of guys you could have hired. Sounds like a great place to be an electrician.

B) Many jobs like this, and many guys, use flat rate pricing. How did you come up with the $100/hr thing?
Also, panels and services, like boilers for plumbers, are often priced flat rate, and are often priced higher than other work.
You CANNOT break the price down based on only the actual time the guy was standing on your property working.

C) What area are you in so we can all be a bit clearer on this?

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Old 02-24-2013, 05:01 PM   #47
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


You now seem to be arguing a different topic...whether or not a homeowner/unlicensed individual should be able to do their own electrical work. This would be a more valid debate.

My post count does not accurately reflect my feeling on that particular issue. I believe that anyone working on a property should have to be licensed and insured. This is not out of selfishness. This is not to "artificially inflate prices". You will not own that property forever and not all problems are visible.

The reason I do post here, is not to help a DIYer. It is to help the people who might be affected by dangerous conditions the DIYer creates...their family, neighbors, or someone else who lives there in the future.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:11 PM   #48
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
A) I find it hard to believe that there are only a handful of guys you could have hired. Sounds like a great place to be an electrician.

B) Many jobs like this, and many guys, use flat rate pricing. How did you come up with the $100/hr thing?
Also, panels and services, like boilers for plumbers, are often priced flat rate, and are often priced higher than other work.
You CANNOT break the price down based on only the actual time the guy was standing on your property working.

C) What area are you in so we can all be a bit clearer on this?
I will refrain from telling you what area I was in for that because I really don't need any problems.

The rate I came up with was from the handful of electricians in the nearby area. This was the lowest price estimate with a known reputation; I chose him because, after going to the inspector's office for a permit with my journeymen electrician friend and asking if we were allowed to service the panel, the inspector told me it has to be a master electrician of the city and then routinely stopped by the house to inspect, so I figured I better pick someone he knew well to keep things friendly and he gave me a few names, though there weren't many more in the phonebook. The master electrician I hired was a nice guy and seemed to have a good rapport with the city inspectors. Others went as high as the 2000 dollar range. It was a small town, not a large city, so there weren't a lot of choices.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:12 PM   #49
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


I am the 49th post. About 43 of them could have been avoided by the eliminating one sentence in the posters first post.

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Originally Posted by Bradeno View Post
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.

Bradeno...can you post a photo of the panel in question?

Last edited by hammerlane; 02-24-2013 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:24 PM   #50
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


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You now seem to be arguing a different topic...whether or not a homeowner/unlicensed individual should be able to do their own electrical work. This would be a more valid debate.

My post count does not accurately reflect my feeling on that particular issue. I believe that anyone working on a property should have to be licensed and insured. This is not out of selfishness. This is not to "artificially inflate prices". You will not own that property forever and not all problems are visible.

The reason I do post here, is not to help a DIYer. It is to help the people who might be affected by dangerous conditions the DIYer creates...their family, neighbors, or someone else who lives there in the future.
I didn't come here to argue philosophy or politics. I was a fool to try to do so here. You win. We don't agree on anything. I just wanted a simple (or not so simple) question answered.

The house I rebuilt is safer and intentionally above and beyond code on many levels and certainly much safer than any house in this area (which shaved my profit margin because I take pride in my work not my profits); it is gutted and brand new, so I could really use your support since my intention is to create safe conditions and understand the things I do not know. All the neighbor's houses are much more unsafe an unkempt than the house I meticulously remodeled from the ground up so the new owners would never have to worry about anything. I could have easily just left the old Wadsworth in, like many contractors told me I should do and many contractors would have done because salaries in this market just aren't worth the extra expenses on a house, even if it does pose a fire hazard.

Thanks for all the 'not to help'. I did not come here to pick a fight. I am done.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:25 PM   #51
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


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Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
I am the 49th post. About 43 of them could have been avoided by the eliminating one sentence in the posters first post.




Bradeno...can you post a photo of the panel in question?
I will have someone take a picture as I am not there at the moment. And yes, I should have just eliminated that first sentence. It had nothing to do with the question.

Last edited by Bradeno; 02-24-2013 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:30 PM   #52
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


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I will refrain from telling you what area I was in for that because I really don't need any problems.
Seriously? Like what?

I wasn't asking for your address. Just your state would help.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:11 PM   #53
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


I just find it odd that when the inspector flagged him for the conduit neither him or the electrician themselves could give a reason to why. Bottom line is though he will fix the problem most likely free of charge so theres no reason to be upset about it.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:35 PM   #54
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


Sorry I missed all the fun, But as both a contractor and inspector I have just a few comments.

1. Jim answered what was wrong in post #5. Pay particular attention to the following;

(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 cabl(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.

My guess is the violation is that the contractor installed all the cables into one "2 conduit. He should not have installed more than (4) 2-wire cables in the conduit. Without a picture we will never know for certain.

The inspector should have cited the code.

The contractor should have known the code.

I agree that the OP should not have been forced to use one of a handful of contractors.

And finally, we as contractors are free to charge whatever the market will bare. We also are required to constantly hone our skills and knowledge. Our day doesn't end at 5:00. The cost of running a business is mind staggering. A dealership charges $95.00/hr to work on my car. I charge close to $100.00 and I bring a truck to your location.

Please update your profile with what state you are located in. It will help answer a lot of questions.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:38 PM   #55
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


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I just find it odd that when the inspector flagged him for the conduit neither him or the electrician themselves could give a reason to why. Bottom line is though he will fix the problem most likely free of charge so theres no reason to be upset about it.
Ya know for some reason I've been wondering the same thing. And I've been wondering why would a local electrician who has done this work many times do something that was not code compliant. Is as if we are to believe on this job he just out of the blue did this conduit thing ..... why?

IMO there is more to this story.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:02 AM   #56
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


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I happen to charge $100 an hour. After all the costs, fees taxes and insurance, I cleared $34 per hour last year and that doesn't include all the hours that aren't billable; shopping, traveling, bookkeeping, accounting, inventory, planning, estimating and sales.
Sounds about right after paying taxes at the end of the year.

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Originally Posted by Bradeno View Post
And how much of all that 'expense' did you right off on your taxes? It sounds like you are treated much better than most equally hardworking people who hire you who have no pensions, make 30K/year, have no 401K etc etc. Why do you deserve all these things but others do not?
Everyone deserves these things but it's their choice whether they want to work and achieve that goal. If we decide that is what we want then we have every right to work our way up to being able to have them. Yes I do feel bad for all the people that don't have them. But why should we hold ourselves back just because others don't have or don't want them.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:15 AM   #57
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


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And how much of all that 'expense' did you right off on your taxes? It sounds like you are treated much better than most equally hardworking people who hire you who have no pensions, make 30K/year, have no 401K etc etc. Why do you deserve all these things but others do not? Why do you feel you are better than them and allowed to demand more? These are all choices your company makes to keep you on because you are exceptionally good at what you do, I assume. Great. I can only assume that you deserve it because there are tasks you do that are much more difficult than this one, or you can do them much more efficiently.
That $34 was after taxes (BTW, it's write-off, not right-off). So if you figure about 5 hours a day is billable and 240 working days a year, then that is $40,800 take home, with no benefits factored in; not exactly a fortune. Why do I deserve to make more than someone making $30K per year? Probably because the apprenticeship is 4 years, the same as college, and just as difficult. Because that 4 years only gets you a Journeyman card, you still need to do a lot more schooling and experience to get a Master's card. I know guys with 20+ years in the trade who've failed that test MANY times. Also because the job is very difficult and dangerous. There is a reason it is "skilled trade" and it deserves a higher level of pay.

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Old 02-25-2013, 12:19 PM   #58
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I love to hear people say "Well, you get to write that off on you're taxes"

This is true, but it needs to be paid for long before I get a chance to write it off, and it is not always a 1 for 1 exchange!
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:58 PM   #59
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


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Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
Ya know for some reason I've been wondering the same thing. And I've been wondering why would a local electrician who has done this work many times do something that was not code compliant. Is as if we are to believe on this job he just out of the blue did this conduit thing ..... why?

IMO there is more to this story.
There is no more to the story. I didn't try to cheat anyone or try to do it myself or anything like that. I don't need hassles with the city. I hired the electrician. Watched him do most of the work.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:10 PM   #60
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Question about changing a service panel (breaker box)


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Originally Posted by electures View Post
Sorry I missed all the fun, But as both a contractor and inspector I have just a few comments.

1. Jim answered what was wrong in post #5. Pay particular attention to the following;

(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 cabl(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.

My guess is the violation is that the contractor installed all the cables into one "2 conduit. He should not have installed more than (4) 2-wire cables in the conduit. Without a picture we will never know for certain.

The inspector should have cited the code.

The contractor should have known the code.

I agree that the OP should not have been forced to use one of a handful of contractors.

And finally, we as contractors are free to charge whatever the market will bare. We also are required to constantly hone our skills and knowledge. Our day doesn't end at 5:00. The cost of running a business is mind staggering. A dealership charges $95.00/hr to work on my car. I charge close to $100.00 and I bring a truck to your location.

Please update your profile with what state you are located in. It will help answer a lot of questions.
I am done debating the cost. You can't have a real discussion on a message board about politics, religion, or money and so we will never come to an agreement or compromise on this. And though I understand your point of view, I also realize that plenty of equally skilled and experienced tradesmen make far less for just as much risk and liability. That the city gives electricians an artificial market price on many routine electrical projects that a journeyman could be assumed to do easily is what bothers me.

And I believe a man should be able to do 95% of what ever he wants on his own house on his own land. Just like he should be able to do whatever he wants to his car or his tools or whatever, even though one day he will definitely sell his beat up old car to some poor college kid and buy a new one. That is life.

But, that is just my opinion, and it is superfluous and was in poor taste to bring up in this discussion. That is all I have to say on the subject. My fault. Please, let's not waste anymore bandwidth on it.

Sorry to the one guy for the incorrect homonym for write. Good Lord, thanks for catching that one, it almost got away from me!

Here is a picture of the conduit. The wires in the conduit are all fairly loose and movable and not rubbing, but there are certainly more than 4 in there. Why only 4 allowed? That seems excessively conservative and arbitrary as a number, and I have seen much larger bundles of wires in other tighter situations be considered code. What is improper about this? Does it cause interference?

The inspector has allowed the contractor to keep the conduit (since I would have been charged for removal and reinstallation of all the wiring, he took pity I guess) so long as I install a plumbing access panel into the conduit, even though I was just going to leave it open anyway.
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