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Here we see an electrical panel that at first glance looks professional. The wiring is neat. The wires are bent and terminate properly. Upon closer examination, we see where a circuit has been added for an additional outlet in the garage. This was obviously not done by a professional licensed electrical contractor.
The wiring for the additional circuit was not done by adding a breaker even though there was room in the panel. Instead, the wiring was added directly to the main buss of the panel.
You can see the two wires screwed directly to the buss bars. This essentially created a 220 volt, 20 amp circuit that is protected only by the 150 amp main breaker. This is very wrong and very dangerous. This circuit could be overloaded to the point that the insulation could melt on the wiring and the wiring could get hot enough to create a fire.
The electrician will remove the knock-outs as required for the breakers. No more, no less. But over the life of the home, renovations happen. Things are added and things are removed. If circuit breakers are removed, the empty slots should be covered up with filler plate covers. Otherwise, it is possible to poke a finger or a tool into the open slot and touch the electrical buss inside the panel. Covers are inexpensive and should be purchased to match the brand of the panel.
These covers are easily snapped into place without having to remove the front panel of the breaker box.
First clue that this was going to be an interesting day. Meter box not attached to the home. Then open the main panel and see scorch marks on the inside….