Inside My Circuit Breaker Box

Here’s a photo inside my circuit breaker box. Click on this photo to see it giant sized.  Take a good hard look, and then tell me everything that’s wrong with it.  I’ll give you a pat on the back for each code violation you can spot.  Ready?  GO.

I am able to spot two code violations:

1. All my whites and grounds are doubled up under the screws in the bus bar.  Apparently thats a problem.  I’ve learned from googling around that every white wire demands it’s own screw, but that sometimes it’s ok to double up the ground wires.

2. Check out the lower left breaker.  Some moron wired my entire garage with size 14 wire behind a 20 amp fuse.  Major violation & very frustrating.  Since I’m using a lot of power tools out in the garage, a 20 amp fuse is critical.  But since the line from the fuse box to the garage is buried, I’m just sort of stuck with size 14 wire…  I’m probably just going to let that one slide for now.

Anyone else see any more code violations?

Also, I’m not exactly sure what red and blue wires are.  I know black, white, and neutral.  Red and Blue, which I assume are essentially performing the same function as black, are bugging me, if only because they’re not color coordinated with the rest of the box.  I demand color coordination in my electrical box.

Mel is gonna be out of town all next week.  I’m gonna do some repairs – mostly to try and get rid of some of the old cloth-covered wires we’ve still got in the system.

7 comments to Inside My Circuit Breaker Box

  • I don't like the way that red wire on the left goes up, takes a hairpin curve and then down again. It, uh, offends my esthetic sense and is a waste of wire.

  • david, agreed. Nice catch.

    I also don't like the way that other red wire on the left just sort of ends without connecting to anything. I'm pretty sure it's a dead wire, but I can't convince anyone to touch it to find out.

  • Nathan

    Reuben, here is a link to Reuben's Minneapolis home inspection blog: http://www.structuretech1.com/blog/?cat=24 I think he has contests where you look at the photo (including an electrical box) and identify the code violation. It made me laugh to see this entry on your blog.

  • Hey Pie party Nathan, thanks for reading!

    Reuben – I don't see any defects that you didn't mention.

    Don't worry about the wire colors. On an ungrounded conductor (aka – 'hot wire'), any color is fine except for green and white.

  • Pie Party Nathan, Inspector Reuben is a valuable resource. He writes a great blog, and his Photo of the Day (accessible either through the website or through Facebook) is also quite entertaining.

    Inspector Reuben, thanks for taking a look. Keep up the good work on that blog.

  • TGD

    Lower left switches have bare copper showing.

  • OK> pat on the back for TGD!