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Old 10-15-2015, 08:07 PM   #1
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How Illegal is this electrical panel???


I recently moved into a rental in Idaho. This is the panel and I am a little concerned about it. As you can see the wires inside the enclosure are completely open to the world when the door is open and all the door is is a cabinet door. I'm assuming this does not meet code. What kind of an enclosure do the breakers need to be in? Thanks in advance.

P.S. I tried to attach a picture and am not sure if it worked. Please let me know if you can't see the images.
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Last edited by kwikfishron; 10-16-2015 at 06:44 AM. Reason: Rotate pictures
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:30 PM   #2
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Oh man.

I've seen worse, but that's definitely got a few things going on.

-Incoming hot wires shouldn't be white.
-Hot wires for the stove circuit shouldn't be white
-Way too much of the romex jacket in the panel.
-Might have some wrong-brand breakers in there. I can't spot them as readily as some of the other guys.
-Was there an actual deadfront and cover on there that you removed, or just the wooden door? If it was just the wood, that's wrong too.

That's just a few things that came to mind on a 5-second glance. When I see something that ugly, the entirety of the electrical system becomes suspect.
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:34 PM   #3
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That is all there is behind the wooden door that you can see on the side of the photo. I did not remove anything. Also, I do not see a GFI anywhere in the house, bathroom or kitchen. Does an old house have to be updated with a GFI to protect the circuits in the kitchen and bathroom? I will be contacting the management company about the panel and am wondering if I need to bring up the GFI issue. Like you said, it makes you question all of the wiring in the house.

Thank you!!!
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:41 PM   #4
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Typically, nothing "has to" be brought up to current code unless new work is being done. You say there's a management company though; is this a rental property you're living in?

Your local rental codes may have something to say about it though. The lack of a deadfront on the panel, leaving the "guts" enclosed only by combustible material is probably a fire code violation, at least. A lot depends on your location.
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:44 PM   #5
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Yes this is a rental property in Boise, ID. Thank you for the info, I will be contacting the management company for at least the dead front and see if the electrician says anything else when he is here putting that on. Does a certified electrician have to do the electrical work on a house that is being rented out?
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:46 PM   #6
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In every jurisdiction I'm aware of, yes, a licensed electrician would be needed to do any electrical work. Whether replacing a deadfront is "electrical work" is debatable, but I suspect additional work will be called for anyway.
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Old 10-15-2015, 09:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colemeth View Post
Yes this is a rental property in Boise, ID. Thank you for the info, I will be contacting the management company for at least the dead front and see if the electrician says anything else when he is here putting that on. Does a certified electrician have to do the electrical work on a house that is being rented out?
The guys you want to ask are the Idaho division of building safety. It appears Homeowners in Idaho can do work on their primary or secondary residence if it is not used for a commercial purpose, but I don't see a rental management company being legally allowed to hire a handyman for it, and they'd be crazy from a safety and liability standpoint to ask a handyman to do work of the scope you may be talking about.

http://dbs.idaho.gov/
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Old 10-15-2015, 09:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colemeth View Post
Yes this is a rental property in Boise, ID. Thank you for the info, I will be contacting the management company for at least the dead front and see if the electrician says anything else when he is here putting that on. Does a certified electrician have to do the electrical work on a house that is being rented out?
Every major city has a renter's authority that represents anyone renting, in case there are issues with landlords.

In your case, if you ask the management about doing anything, they will blow you off and start looking at you as a trouble maker, then be looking for anything that they can, to evict you.

With that setup and the age of the place, I take it that this is a pretty low priced rental that you are in.

I would put the cover on, send the management/ownership a letter addressing that you had an issue of a tripped circuit breaker, and when you opened the panel, you noticed that there was no metal cover for safety reasons (electrocution), along with your other concern about the wiring does not make it easy to figure which sets of wires go to which circuit breaker.

Include pictures, send a certified letter to them. Also send one without being certified. Keep copies of the letter, picture and the receipt from the Certified mailing.

This is the Idaho Attorney General Landlord/Tenant Guidelines that holds both parties accountable for their side of the contract agreement. http://www.ag.idaho.gov/publications...lordTenant.pdf

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In some cases, we'll have the tenant contact the Building Department, fill out a substandard housing form, and have a Building Inspector perform an inspection for code violations.

Tenants can also call Legal Aid (345-0106) or Renter/Tenant Rights Consumer Protection (334-2424) for assistance http://pds.cityofboise.org/home/faqs/code-enforcement/



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Old 10-15-2015, 09:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McSteve View Post
In every jurisdiction I'm aware of, yes, a licensed electrician would be needed to do any electrical work.
What if the area you are in does not have licensing?
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Old 10-15-2015, 09:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by McSteve View Post
Oh man.

I've seen worse, but that's definitely got a few things going on.

-Incoming hot wires shouldn't be white.
-Hot wires for the stove circuit shouldn't be white
-Way too much of the romex jacket in the panel.
-Might have some wrong-brand breakers in there. I can't spot them as readily as some of the other guys.
-Was there an actual deadfront and cover on there that you removed, or just the wooden door? If it was just the wood, that's wrong too.

That's just a few things that came to mind on a 5-second glance. When I see something that ugly, the entirety of the electrical system becomes suspect.
OK, but he's simply a renter. NONE of this matters other than the missing cover. A renter should NOT be even touching the electrical panel other than maybe resetting a breaker, which is why the missing cover matters.

If he were the homeowner then everything would matter.
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Old 10-15-2015, 09:50 PM   #11
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I believe that McSteve's inquiries are important as a landlord has a warranty of habitability which includes keeping electrical operating safely. I would say if it is not to code it is most likely not operating safely. I will send the letters for proof that they received the notices and see what they say. Can I request an inspector to come look at the panel and see what he says?
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Old 10-15-2015, 09:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colemeth View Post
.... Can I request an inspector to come look at the panel and see what he says?....
Absolutely you can.....

and then find another place to live....
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Old 10-16-2015, 05:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colemeth View Post
I believe that McSteve's inquiries are important as a landlord has a warranty of habitability which includes keeping electrical operating safely. I would say if it is not to code it is most likely not operating safely. I will send the letters for proof that they received the notices and see what they say. Can I request an inspector to come look at the panel and see what he says?
Not entirely true. While not code legal, those white wires are NOT hurting anyone who is not going to be working on that system.

Can I ask WHY you even moved in there in the first place??
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Old 10-16-2015, 09:20 AM   #14
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If electric wiring is installed improperly, it remains illegal (grandfathered as illegal if you insist) until corrected.

You can cautiously wait until problems (such as unnaturally dimming lights) show up and then complain. Then at least the chances of being evicted are less than if you pointed out problems now using semi-technical if not fully-technical jargon.

You can cautiously do things that you feel comfortable doing and that no one can tell later that you did (that you touched), for example tightening up all the smaller screws and set screws in the panel and at switches and receptacles throughout the house. Many problems with home electrical systems are due to loose connections.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-16-2015 at 09:26 AM.
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