OK to use deoxit on main panel contacts?


Old 07-08-08, 02:20 PM
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OK to use deoxit on main panel contacts?

I recently purchased a home with a ITE 200A load center / breaker panel. I am guessing that the panel is about 30 years old. It has a few 'issues' I plan to remediate, like two exposed breaker slots, and at least one bad breaker pole.

When I get a chance, I'm probably going to start replacing the old breakers with AFCI models where appropriate. Is it okay to apply a cleaning/lubricating product such as deoxit on the panel/breaker contacts?

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Old 07-08-08, 09:17 PM
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The bad breaker pole may be as simple as just replacing the breaker.

Why do you feel you need to use a product like deoxit? Since the breakers should be matched to the buss bars (using ITE approved breakers in an ITE panel), there should be no need for the deoxit. If there is corrosion or something that makes it seem like you need it, you need to consider a panel replacement. 30 years is a good lifespan... if you really don't have any problems, then there's no reason to replace it - but if you're noticing intermittent connections, etc, you should consider it.

Some other comments:
- It looks like there may be a GE breaker in there (2nd breaker on the left side). If approved, you're good. If there's corrosion or anything on the buss bars, it could be due to incompatible breakers.

- Don't feel you have to replace things with AFCI breakers (unless you're doing other renovations). Many people feel that AFCIs are not quite ready for prime time, combined with the cost, and at least questionable benefit. (Not intending to start an AFCI discussion - just something to consider).
GFCIs on the other hand have saved lives, make sure all your bathrooms, kitchen, and outdoor receptacles at a minimum have GFI protection either at the breaker or on the receptacle.

- The main strikes me as interesting as it seems to have 4 poles. Most residential panels have only 2 (one for each hot leg). I'm curious, is it a typical 120/240 service?

- While you're at it, use your time to map out your circuits and come up with a good list of which breakers control what.
Old 07-08-08, 09:19 PM
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That 4 pole style is very common for a residential main.
Old 07-08-08, 10:36 PM
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The service is a standard three-wire single-phase mid-point neutral residential system from what I could see when the home inspector had the panel opened up.

I'm not aware of any corrosion or problems with the panel itself, but figured the deoxit might help things continue to run well.

Like many residential load centers in Colorado, it's mounted on the exterior of the house. Which I do not understand, since walking out in the snow to reset a breaker isn't my idea of a good time, but I'm sure there's some historical explanation for this common CO home 'feature.'

My understanding is that ITE load centers use Siemens breakers, so I cannot explain the presents of a GE breaker, but I'll be certain to check that out when I open the panel up next. I'll definitely replace the two pole breaker with the bad pole. I've heard that AFCI breakers have had issues and are perhaps too easily tripped, though I see the 2008 NEC went ahead and mandated them for more circuits than just bedrooms, so had hoped they'd be worked out. I'm already replacing old outlets with leviton GFCI outlets in the bathrooms, kitchen, and outdoor outlets. I assume it's advisable for the washing machine outlet in the laundry room, too.

I look forward to the point when I have every single circuit clearly identified and labeled, though I sort of dread finding more surprises like the bathroom circuit that also powers a living room ceiling fan and outdoor light post via the magic of electrical tape splices in the crawlspace (sans junction boxes). Lotta work here...
Old 07-09-08, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by chromal View Post
I assume it's (GFI outlet) advisable for the washing machine outlet in the laundry room, too.
I guess not, actually, as explained here.

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