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I recently had a 4 point inspection and the inspector detected an electric hazard.

As shown on the picture the power line goes from the meter to the panel with the main switch and from there into the house.

enter image description here

Underneath is a second panel that "hooks" into the first panel causing the double tap.

Currently only my sprinkler system is connected to the second panel but I am planning to get a pool so ideally I would like to add the pool pump, lighting and a current generator (Endless Pool) to that panel.

My house is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Edit: Here are additional details from the inspection report

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here What should I do?

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A picture of the inside of the panel might help us get a better idea of what's going on –  Steven Jan 16 '13 at 20:31
2  
From your report: "Repairs should be made by a licensed electrician" I think sums this up nicely. –  BMitch Jan 17 '13 at 15:37

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

To simply look at this situation and immediately call it a violation, is incorrect. While it may indeed be a violation, more investigation is required.

At the end of section 110.14(A) in the National Electrical Code (NEC), there is this short paragraph.

NEC 2008

110.14 Electrical Connections.
(A) Terminals. ...Terminals for more than one conductor and terminals used to connect aluminum shall be so identified.

Which means if the terminal allows multiple conductors, it should be labeled somewhere either on the terminal itself or in the documentation inside the panelboard. So make sure you read all of the labels inside the panelboard, before marking this situation as a violation.

However, Section 408.41 of the NEC, clearly says that the grounded (neutral) terminal block is a violation.

408.41 Grounded Conductor Terminations. Each grounded conductor shall terminate within the panelboard in an individual terminal that is not also used for another conductor.

There is an exception to this section, but it does not apply in this situation.

But wait, there's more... Section 90.4 of the NEC, allows the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to waive requirements or permit alternative methods.

90.4 Enforcement. ...The authority having jurisdiction for enforcement of the Code has the responsibility for making interpretations of the rules, for deciding on the approval of equipment and materials, and for granting the special permission contemplated in a number of the rules.

By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives can be achieved by establishing and maintaining effective safety.

There is also 90.2(C), which may fit your situation better.

90.2(C) Special Permission. The authority having jurisdiction for enforcing this Code may grant exception for the installation of conductors and equipment that are not under the exclusive control of the electric utilities and are used to connect the electric utility supply system to the service entrance conductors of the premises served, provided such installations are outside a building or terminate immediately inside a building wall.

It may also be important to note, that the installation is only subject to be compliant with the currently adopted code. Which means if this was installed before these codes were adopted, this could be a legitimate installation.

The best thing for you to do, would be to contact a local licensed Electrician. Ask them to take a look, and make recommendations as to how this situation should be handled. If you contact the local electrical inspectors office. They should be able to tell you when the work was completed and approved, and by whom. They should also be able to find any special notes supplied by the inspector, that would indicate if the inspector gave special permission in this situation. If the work was completed by an unlicensed Electrician, the homeowner may be responsible for the repairs. But this would completely depend on your location, as well as many other legal factors that I will not discuss here.

Fixing this is not a DIY task.

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The "double tap" refers to the fact that there are two wires connected into the bottom of your main breaker. Although it used to be allowed to connect two wires into lugs in some cases, this is now against code.

Since you will be wiring up some additional outdoor appliances, odds are you'll need to substantially rewire your secondary panel to accommodate new circuits. Assuming you're hiring an electrician to do that work, I'd recommend asking them to also address this issue.

For safety reasons, I wouldn't call this a good DIY project for anyone not already deeply familiar with electrical wiring work.

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Can you site the code that prohibits double taps? –  Tester101 Jan 17 '13 at 13:14
    
Double tap came up during my home inspection in November. It's against the code and an electrician has to remove the extra tap. The reason is because the terminals are designed for one tap and the extra one may come loose, causing an arc. –  staticx Jan 21 '13 at 20:01
    
@0A0D Double tapping may be acceptable, if the terminal is designed for it. Double tapping can lead to arcing, but it more often causes high resistance connections. High resistance connections lead to heating, and a bunch of other dangerous stuff. –  Tester101 Jan 21 '13 at 20:51
    
I dunno. Neither of us are electricians so I just know what my home inspector told me :) –  staticx Jan 22 '13 at 12:38

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