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Building/Fire code: can't install charger in garage? Really?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by bcsteeve, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    I've got a used Model S on the way in a week, and I had an electrician come out to install a charger. I figure my situation is pretty typical. The electrical panel is in the house on the shared wall that separates the garage from the house, but one level down from the garage (garage on main floor, panel in walk out basement). To me, it was an easy install. Just run a short wire from the panel through the wall and install the charger on the garage side of the wall.

    Easy, right?

    But he says "no". He tells me that the Fire code doesn't allow for penetrating the fire rated wall between the garage and living space. He told me he could do it, but when I said I wanted a permit so I wouldn't have any insurance problems, he said it wouldn't pass inspection.

    I can't be the only one with a panel inside and wanting a charger in the garage. What did other people do?
     
  2. boaterva

    boaterva Supporting Member

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    Don't you have other circuits to the garage? How did they get there? Even if this is so (the 'can't penetrate') there has to be a way to 're-seal' the hole made for the conduit/cable.

    I'd find a better electrician.
     
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  3. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    Yes, but they don't go through the wall. They go up through the ceiling into the shared attic space and then down the walls that don't border the living area. No circuits are on the wall meeting the house. I could do the same thing with the charger but a) the house wall is by far the most convenient for use as a charger and b) it'll be hella expensive. That 6/3 wire is pricey!

    Odd thing is... there's a big messy hole for where they "plumbed" in the pipes for the central vac. That might have been done by the previous owner, I don't know.

    How do you "re-seal" a hole if it has wires going through it? Wouldn't he know about that? His card says he's a Red Seal certified electrician... isn't that the best? But you're right, no harm in getting a 2nd opinion.

    [edit]: I see Red Seal is a Canadian-specific thing, but yeah it pretty much is the Top Gun of trades.
     
  4. boaterva

    boaterva Supporting Member

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    You seal it with whatever is code. Seal means it's fire-rated. That's all we're talking about. I'm not even clear on what code violation we have here... people have garages and internal breaker panels all the time.

    In any case, if this is an actual code necessity, you may be weighing the cost of the extra copper (wire) against the time and materials to seal the hole and issues if an inspector doesn't agree. If there is a way around it, perhaps that's better.

    I still don't see how 'going over the wall' is okay and going through it isn't, Seems like a hole is a hole! :D And, yep, on the vacuum. If that's the actual vacuum line, that's a lot more of a fire hazard (open air channel) than a power conduit.

    I'd definitely get a second opinion, and maybe ask them for a code citation from NEC. (Whoops, didn't see this was CA.. All of this could be Canadian 'issues'. :D )
     
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  5. Nda721

    Nda721 Member

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    Second opinion... Could be code in your area... my inspection is tomorrow, I'll keep and eye out.
     
  6. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    I would take pictures and a drawing to your local building department (the people who will do the inspection). Ask them what they would suggest. In many places they would prefer a little up front inquiry rather than having to upset a homeowner and remove improper work later.
     
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  7. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    Yeah, I'm confused too. OK, I'll get someone else out to take a look. Like you seem to be saying, this shouldn't be that hard/strange.
     
  8. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    Good call. Thanks.
     
  9. DrivingRockies

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    It's possible, and easy, to reseal. We do it all the time. Unless your city/county has some messed up regulations, find someone better.
     
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  10. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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    WWHS?



    (What Would Holmes Say?)



    ;)
     
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  11. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    Lol, I'm sure he'd say my whole house needs a bulldozer and a complete rebuild.
     
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  12. setipoo

    setipoo Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons

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    Get a 2nd opinion. I had the same situation and it's an easy solution to drill through and seal a fire-rated wall into an interior room.
     
  13. Cyclone

    Cyclone Cyclonic Member ((.oO))

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    @bcsteeve , your setup is exactly like mine, except I'm in the U.S. I also have existing 120v outlets in the garage fed from wiring going up by that "shared" wall. Not a problem at all here. I agree with others about getting another opinion, though the suggestion to ask the inspector's office first is a great idea.
     
  14. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    #14 bcsteeve, Sep 13, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    Almost 10 at night and I just got a reply back from another electrician I emailed. He said he should come look, but basically called the other guy nuts because in this jurisdiction there's no special fire stopping / rating between the garage and home at all... just normal 1/2" drywall. Here's his exact wording:
    I'm a little worried that I've gotten two polar opposite answers from two local fully licensed electricians.

    However, guy #1 was here while guy #2 is going by email. On the other hand, guy #2's answer makes a lot more sense.

    I'll know soon enough. He's coming tomorrow or Friday to take a look and confirm it is what he thinks it is. I suppose if he does the work and it fails inspection that that's on him, right? Or is that a bad assumption?

    [update]I looked up guy #2... he's not only Red Seal but also certified by the authority which does the inspections as a person who does inspections. I wonder if he's allowed to inspect his own work? Lol
     
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  15. mandersen

    mandersen Member

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    Just get a bid and make sure he includes verbiage around "Will be installed according to all local electrical codes and will include passing the inspection" Or something along those lines and go with #2 :)
     
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  16. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    If you want to be sure, you can always just ask your local building department, perhaps even your actual inspector (looks like there is a designated one per area).
    Inspector area
     
  17. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    That's for building permits. Different animal. But your point is the same, and yes I will phone the Authority tomorrow and see if there's a local office I can go run this past.

    I don't know how it is for other places, but here we have something called the BC Safety Authority which is responsible for permitting and inspecting electrical and gas in *most* (not all) areas of the province. I always thought they were a government body, but today I learned they're private and have been empowered by the province to do what they do.
     
  18. bcsteeve

    bcsteeve Member

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    I've always found #2's more satisfying
     
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  19. oktane

    oktane Banned

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    Maybe lookup the relevant code for your jurisdiction. Should be available online.
     
  20. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    #20 stopcrazypp, Sep 13, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    Okay, your area operates different than here in California. Here, the local building inspection department for a given city/town handles all permits within a city/town (building, electrical, gas, plumbing, etc). There is no special separate statewide body that does this.
     

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