Panel condition

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  #1  
Old 07-26-16, 11:41 PM
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Panel condition

Attached is a pic of a Murray panel. I don't know the history of it or how it got wet. (it's a rental) I do know that behind removed breakers, there is minimal discoloration and no corrosion.

My question is...what do you think? Should I worry about the condition we're seeing? Thanks very much.

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  #2  
Old 07-27-16, 01:18 AM
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We're only seeing the bottom half of the panel. Based on that.... I'd be concerned.

If the water passed thru the breakers, especially the main..... they can be comprised. They can be rusted and may not trip. The bus bars need to be checked behind all the breakers for corrosion.

That brings us to the next question.... where did the water come from ?
If it followed the service/service cable in from the meter there may be water damage out there too.
 
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Old 07-27-16, 01:49 AM
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I have had water come into my panel box from two houses one my main house and one now a former rental. Water in a panel box is never a good sign at all and unfortunately it can turn out to be a silent killer as usually you never look into your panel box unless you want to add a circuit or replace a breaker. I say killer because boxes like that have been known to explode too as well as what PJmax has already mentioned.

Being as this though is the landlords responsibility you need to contact your landlord and I would tell him why you opened the box(perhaps you saw flickering lights?) and the condition of the box as that is a fire code violation. If the landlord will not fix the panel box then contact the city or town you live in and have them send a housing inspector. It is then up to the landlord to hire a qualified electrician to repair the damage. Most of the time at the meter box a gasket is missing and it allows water into the box be sure to tell your landlord that.
 
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Old 07-27-16, 10:02 AM
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OK thanks. It is just the bottom half/base with the rust.

Perhaps more important--one other thing I found:

When they switched to gas, the electric dryer circuit was then used to power some basement outlets. (They j-boxed the #10 wire in the ceiling, then out to outlets.)

Here's the kicker... at the panel, they pulled the white wire off 30a breaker and put it on the neutral bus, and left just the black wire on the breaker. (FYI no they did not sever the breaker handle tie)

Now I realize this will work in theory, but I immediately pulled the 30a breaker out and replaced it with a 15a SP breaker, which I put the black wire on.

I assume I did the correct thing, because this was not a safe condition....or am I missing something?
 
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Old 07-27-16, 10:06 AM
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Just FYI, I am not the tenant. The place is vacant. I am helping prep the house for rental.
 
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Old 07-27-16, 10:11 AM
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I immediately pulled the 30a breaker out and replaced it with a 15a SP breaker,
Yes.... that was a good thing to do. You should also attach a small label inside the panel on that #10 wiring identifying for use at 15A only.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 07-27-16 at 11:35 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-27-16, 10:13 AM
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So was this a dangerous thing?
 
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Old 07-27-16, 01:58 PM
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It was not proper, but also not a major hazard. If a fault was to develop in the gas dryer it could theoretically get more power than it was designed to handle. The fact that the circuit does have #10 wire makes it less of an issue.
 
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Old 07-27-16, 11:41 PM
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the electric dryer circuit was then used to power some basement outlets. (They j-boxed the #10 wire in the ceiling, then out to outlets.)
#10 wiring on a 30A breaker isn't dangerous but the OP mentioned the 15A breaker which led me to believe they tapped basement receptacles off the #10 cable with #14 cable. Then the 30A breaker would be dangerous. Standard 120v receptacles cannot by code be connected to anything over a 20A breaker.
 
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Old 07-28-16, 09:33 AM
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Hey guys...yes they j boxed #10 to #14. But wire gauges or even code aside, (not to negate code) isn't the safety issue that a problem in the 15a outlets would not trip the 30a breaker? (The circuit was connected to one terminal) Especially since the handle tie was intact?
 
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Old 07-28-16, 11:20 PM
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New circuit breakers are great for now but that panel box really needs to be replaced as soon as possible. I myself certainly wouldn't knowingly rent my premises to anyone knowing how poor the condition is of the panel box. In theory you could just replace the bus bar in the back of the box and replace any corroded circuit breakers, of which I see many from your picture, and then just call it a day. However the panel box is of an unknown manufacturer and finding the right parts for it may be problematic depending on the electric supply house you go to.

Also replacing the bus bar shouldn't really be done by anyone other than a licensed electrician as it is dangerous to do and could void the persons homeowners insurance. I really do encourage you to talk to your friend and have a licensed electrician replace the panel with a more modern panel. Not sure about the amps going through that panel but if it is only 100 amps then replacing the service with 200 amps at the same time would be a good idea. Then if there are things you still want to do you can then work in a bigger safer box.
 
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Old 07-29-16, 12:34 PM
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isn't the safety issue that a problem in the 15a outlets would not trip the 30a breaker? (The circuit was connected to one terminal) Especially since the handle tie was intact?
A direct short probably would have tripped the breaker, but an overload may not have before a fire occurred.
 
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Old 07-29-16, 10:40 PM
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I would recommend having the service entrance cable as well as the meter replaced. Many times the water leaks in through cracks in the cable.
 
 

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