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  1. #1
    Elite Member GPintheMitten's Avatar
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    Default Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?

    Folks,

    Long story, short. A subpanel in the house has had water intrusion at some point and now it has corrosion. What should I do, if anything, to fix this.

    The back story:

    We just moved in to our new 18 acre horse farm a couple of months ago. A few days ago, I shut the breaker off to the well and 2 other circuits while I was tracing the wires that run to my barn. After I got done, I turned them back on but later discovered no pressure in the well. I double checked the breaker for the well pump and it was on. I checked for current flow to the pressure switch and had current.

    I called the well guy, he checked with his meter and found insufficient current to power the pump. The breaker and the panel had corrosion, so I replaced the bad breaker and we got full current flow.

    The house was built in 1985. Obviously at some point there was water intrusion in the panel. It is nailed directly to the poured concrete wall. This panel used to be the main service entrance panel and the wall used to be an outside wall. But an addition was added 3 years ago, so this basement wall is now an interior wall and the panel is now a subpanel. The main is now in the new addition.

    So now, my question is what to do about this subpanel? As far as I can tell, everything is working ok, but the well had been working ok too before I opened the breaker for that circuit.

    I know I could replace the whole panel and all the breakers, but I already am spending about a $1000 to run a new circuit to the barn, because two of the 3 wires underground have a short to ground. So I'm wondering if there is a solvent I could use to clean up the corrosion, or just leave it alone, or replace the whole panel.

    I'll post pics in a few minutes from my phone.

    Suggestions welcome. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Elite Member GPintheMitten's Avatar
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    Default

    Here's pics.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?-forumrunner_20121213_102153-png   Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?-forumrunner_20121213_102131-png   Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?-forumrunner_20121213_102213-png  

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?

    That looks pretty bad -- and my bet is that the internals of the breakers have corroded as well. This corrosion may interfere with breakers tripping during an over-current situation. For this reason alone I would get a new service panel and breakers. Long term I think you are going to have continued problems with this panel. As for applying any sort of "solvent" -- nothing you add to that situation is going to help. A lot of the problem will be in areas that you can neither see nor get any sort of "solvent" to.

    Since you stated that this service panel is now a sub-panel hung off of a new main service panel, replacement is an easy DIY task as it does not require futzing with the POCO meter base to disconnect the service drop. Instead, you can just switch off the subfeed to the corroded sub-panel.

    At Lowes or Home Depot you can get a quality Square-D "QO" series service panel (has a copper busbar, vs the aluminum busbar in the "HOM" series) with a breaker assortment for a couple of hundred bucks. The process of swapping out the panel and breakers should take you just a couple of hours including stepping back and having a cup of coffee.

    Wrooster

  4. #4
    Gold Member KENSFM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?

    Replace the panel/contents and correct the source of moisture. That panel is just a major accident waiting to happen. I would do it today, it will be money well spent.
    Ken
    "Wake up, if you want your dreams to come true."

  5. #5
    Advertiser kennyd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by KENSFM View Post
    Replace the panel/contents and correct the source of moisture. That panel is just a major accident waiting to happen. I would do it today, it will be money well spent.
    Ken
    ^^^^^^^^^^^
    What he said...
    KennyD
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?

    Yep, time to replace it. Pulling the meter can is easy, though you can get in trouble for doing it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?

    A question to the forum ... Since this is now a sub-panel. Should the neutrals be separated from grounds ? I noticed the panel grounding lug is connected to the neutral...

  8. #8
    Advertiser kennyd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by hosspuller View Post
    A question to the forum ... Since this is now a sub-panel. Should the neutrals be separated from grounds ? I noticed the panel grounding lug is connected to the neutral...
    Under the current code, yes they should only be bonded together at the main panel and kept separate at the sub.
    KennyD
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  9. #9
    Advertiser kennyd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyoldman View Post
    Yep, time to replace it. Pulling the meter can is easy, though you can get in trouble for doing it.
    Read his post...it's a subpanel so there is no need to pull the meter.
    KennyD
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Corrosion in Electric Panel ... What to Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyoldman View Post
    Yep, time to replace it. Pulling the meter can is easy, though you can get in trouble for doing it.
    Quote Originally Posted by wrooster
    Since you stated that this service panel is now a sub-panel hung off of a new main service panel, replacement is an easy DIY task as it does not require futzing with the POCO meter base to disconnect the service drop. Instead, you can just switch off the subfeed to the corroded sub-panel.
    See the snippet above cut-n-pasted from the first reply to this thread.

    Wrooster

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