Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Zinsco Breaker Panel 2017

Discovered this outdated and faulty Zinsco panel on a residential onsite inspection of a property that was purchased for a client. They wanted to know the condition of the electrical grid tied original wiring harness throughout the existing home and barn and all outbuildings?

My conclusion was a total up date from the grid tied weatherhead onward because the original home had additions dating back over 100 years old and it appeared to have had over 4 major remodels done to it throughout the years to increase the homes square footage? Not knowing 100% what may be lurking behind closed finished walls concerning the inside electrical wiring harness the only foolproof means is to open the walls up for visual and digital metering inspections. Which lead to discoveries of live termite damage to structural wood and a host of other delays and additional labor needed to bring the old home into the modern era.

With over 43 years experience in the electrical trade and a retired master electrician this project from the beginning was quite a challenge because everything electrical existing was outdated and not intended for the modern electrical loads used in today's homes. A gut instinct told me not to bid this project any other way than by time and materials meaning that whatever labor and whatever materials is the cost of the project. Not only would the electrical labor hours be needed but also the demo and removal of all the necessary walls and ceilings hours along with carpendary hours for the ruff in electrical to begin. By doing this approach a clean slate was achievable to update the entire electrical project to the modern era. 6" new construction airtight can lighting with thermal overload was the choice for all lighting using LED dimmable trim fixtures and putting 3 way and 4 way switching in where there was none before
This approach lead to over 50 light cans being installed all ENERGY STAR rated for lower electrical billing from the standard 60 watt screw in light bulbs being replaced. (50 standard 60 watt light bulbs take 3,000 watts of electrical energy usage 3000/120= 25 amps) the same 50 60 watt light equivalent bulbs can be replaced with the above light can and LED trim for quite a savings (50 LED trims X 10.5 watt take 525 watts of electrical energy usage 525/120=4.375/5 amps) this method saved this client 2475 watts of electrical energy usage and 20.265/21 amps savings . The LED trims were also used outside for soffit down lighting as they are also wet location rated.

Opening walls and ceilings allowed many original outdated and unsafe wiring installations to be discovered like un grounded lamp cords buried into walls and ceilings that were operating lights, switches and outlets as well as original overloaded circuit breakers and other faults. This is why all new wiring was being installed throughout the home for a clean slate which gave better control for many energy saving options like dedicated circuit breakers for major appliance loads that also were ENERGY STAR rated.

Contact D B Electric for all your electrical needs!
Website www,dbelectric.us

Thursday, November 2, 2017

1988 Manufactured Housing Electrical Troubleshooting

Manufactured housing mobile homes or whatever your idea of  of this type of housing refers to is a nightmare to diagnose major electrical issues with because not only is there inside wiring to consider but also the outside pole or pedestal utility meter and Main Breaker tap for the power source and all wiring involved.

This call for help was that the monthly utility grid billing was over $300.00 and the inside light fixtures would turn off and on by themself or the light bulbs would just blow up as soon as they were screwed in. To start the gas furnace a kitchen outlet controlling the coffee pot had to be turned on for the furnace to start?  Many outlets did not work and on and on the list of problems continued for a onsite meeting to determine the course of action to take to resolve the many issues.

The recent onsite electrical service call for help has me scratching my head even with 43 years hands on experience and a retired master electrician with this 1988 mobile home 2 bedroom 2 bathroom typical kitchen and living room. Reversed polarity on outlets, extension cords hanging out of windows feeding outside lights these issues stem from many years of poor electrical repairs. WIth a pole mounted utility meter base 100 amp 240 volt stepped down to a 60 amp 240 volt breaker to feed a plug and cord attachment for the inside 100 amp Main Breaker panel. As usual the inside home panel was full of 120 and 240 volt breakers and all of the 120 volt breakers that were the piggy back style. The PVC 2" pipe that came thru the floor to feed the inside mobile home panel also had 3 other sets of 240 volt wiring that was feeding ? along with the plug and cord attachment for a total of 4 sets ?. (The above pipe should hold only the plug and cord cable) so this leads me to believe that was added onto after the factory wiring ?.

After 20 hours of  all new inside outlets and switches devices and correcting the old backstabbed wire termination to the more reliable pigtail true series circuit according folded and removing all light fixtures and replacing with plastic keyless with 9 watt LED bulb replacement from older 60 watt bulbs. (The reason for light fixture replacement was all old fixtures had brittle wiring and sockets from using 100 watt bulbs in 60 watt sockets) And replacing the old inside Main Breaker panel along with all new circuit breakers gauged to proper wire size and zero piggy back . All that work tightened up everything humanly possible with the original mobile home inside wiring harness and if further issues arose which they did it would be with the outside pole mounted utility meter base 100 amp 240 volt stepped down to a 60 amp 240 volt breaker to feed a plug and cord attachment for the inside 100 amp Main Breaker panel.

Getting voltage reading between 197 and 220 in the 120 volt on the inside outlets and very dimming on the inside lighting when loads like the furnace and refrigerator start ups? Further troubleshooting on the  pole mounted utility meter base 100 amp 240 volt stepped down to a 60 amp 240 volt breaker to feed a plug and cord attachment for the inside 100 amp Main Breaker panel. Found that LINE SIDE utility grid meter at a steady 120 240 volt single phase and LOAD SIDE utility grid meter jumping all over when startup loads were trying to be applied? A call the the local utility grid provider for a service call revealed that a Neutral Switch was the cause of the voltage spikes and replacement of this Neutral Switch would revolve the spiking issues? Between you and I this seems fishy as I have never heard of a Neutral Switch used in grid tied residential electrical useage?

My recommendation to the client was to remove the pole mounted utility meter base 100 amp 240 volt stepped down to a 60 amp 240 volt breaker to feed a plug and cord attachment for the inside 100 amp Main Breaker panel. And to upgrade the service to 200 amp meter base and 200 amp weatherproof Main Breaker panel. This than would allow the plug and cord 60 amp 240 volt to be removed and replaced with 100 amp thhn copper wire and PVC conduit feed by a 100 amp 240 volt breaker in the new weatherproof panel. Also another 100 amp 240 volt PVC conduit feed for a metal pole barn on the property with a 100 amp 240 volt subpanel installed there to power the necessary loads.

Sadly the client did not take my recommendations and went to cobbling up the pole mounted utility meter base 100 amp 240 volt stepped down to a 60 amp 240 volt breaker to feed a plug and cord attachment for the inside 100 amp Main Breaker panel themself.

D B Electric
Email www.elecwired@live.com
Website www.dbelectric.us
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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Residential Load Troubleshooting

Working on original wiring issues that was installed by some licensed electricians is not for the faint of heart or non experience or knowledgeable troubleshooters. As it takes years of hands on skills to become proficient in the abilities that it takes to get projects completed A to Z with with quality craftsmanship.  

This phase of past and current client troubleshooting issue stems from a outbuilding that had a attached indoor greenhouse. A #14-2 w ground 15 amp 120 volt NMB romex cable was stabbed thru the wall for greenhouse feed terminating inside a single gang plastic nail on box that usually is put inside walls for outlets ect but in this case it was screwed to the outside outbuilding wall for greenhouse power? Reusing the existing power tap but terminating it inside a single gang weatherproof box now called my splice box power feed. After removing all the other old NMB wiring, splitters, extension cords and cowboy electrical new PVC conduit and weatherproof boxes and covers were used for single pole switch for 2 over head LED 4' lights and 4 outlets load side of GFCI lineside. Turning power back on bang goes the breaker? Troubleshooting revealed that over 20 openings (lights and plugs) were being controlled by this 15 amp 120 volt circurit breaker. Along with a old dinosaur of a refrigerator load and now the Greenhouse load.

Ok the fix as it's always is that it's in the numbers is to take the greenhouse and add it onto it's own circuit breaker as well as add another circuit breaker for the old dynasoar refrigerator. By taking these 2 loads off of the overloaded over 20 openings original circuit breaker still does not solve that issue but it does free up 7 spaces now lowering the 20 to 13 openings on a 15 amp 120 volt circuit breaker. The fix than is to add yet another circurit breaker and split the 13 openings between the 2 circuit breakers. And splitting circuits up in original wiring that is behind closed walls and ceilings that is stapled in place is not fun in the least.

By openings I mean a outlet is a opening a light fixture is a opening and by code you are allowed X number of openings for the amperage of the circurit breaker that it is designed to control the branch circuit wiring and device openings being operated. It seems as some electricians do not know how to count as I see overloaded openings in residential usage on a regular basis. Usually problems do not occur until more and more things are being plugged in  and being operated than it is a call to a quality craftsman to figure out what in the dickens is going on?

Simple to complex grid tied or a mixture of alternative electrical energy D B Electric has your A to Z electrical troubleshooting issues taken care of with quality craftsmanship and services.

D B Electric
Web www.dbelectric.us
Email www.elecwired@live.com
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