Circut breakers and electric outlets replacement

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Old 01-22-18, 12:42 PM
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Circut breakers and electric outlets replacement

I have 45 years old house and company which made circuit breakers is no longer in business. So far I never have any problem with circuit breakers. I never had breakers tripped either.

Is it recommending that you change circuit breaker after certain time? Or just take out few and see back of it for any burned or blackened wire signs?

Do you change electric outlets and plugs as well after certain time?

I have an electrician came in to do something else. He was kind of pushing me to do this work. I think he was looking to make some easy bucks off me. Not sure if I need this to be done. I have been living here for 10+ years and so far I don't have any electric issues.
 

Last edited by asi; 01-22-18 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 01-22-18, 01:34 PM
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With the circuit breakers it depends on the brand -- some are OK after so much time and some are not. Danger brands would be FPE, Federal Pacific, Sylvania and Zinsco. ITE/Bulldog Pushmatic are in a grey zone -- sometimes they stick, but many are still perfectly good. Many other brands should be OK at that age as long as the look to be in good shape, the switch handles operate freely and the bus bars are free from corrosion.

Receptacle outlets do wear out over time from the force of plugging and unplugging cords. They should be replaced if they show any signs of burn marks, corrosion, overheating or if the plug fits in loosely.
 
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Old 01-22-18, 01:35 PM
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If the wiring is fine (like not aluminum) and everything works, I'd generally be inclined to leave it. For instance, I replace receptacles when there's a need, like the springs no longer hold the plugs from appliances.

What brand is the circuit panel?

EDIT: Looks like Ben types faster than I do.
 

Last edited by stickshift; 01-22-18 at 01:36 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 01-22-18, 01:39 PM
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If you have not had any breakers tripping I would not replace them, you can read the temperature of the breakers with a lazer type device about $20 at Harbor freight and unless one is warmer than the others I would not worry, this is how they check the breakers without having to remove them to look at theor connections, maybe doing this will create a problem you do not have now. same thing with the outlets inside the home, unless they are broken or obviously sloppy and sparking I would not touch them many times messing with older electric circuits creates problems, especially if the home is old enough to not have a ground wire ran with the hot leg and neutral to each outlet, in the 1950.s the outlets often only had 2 holes not three,and some will be replace with modern 3 hole outlets and jumper wire the neutral to the ground terminal in the outlet, this will fool a outlet analyzer to indicate that all is kosher when it is not.
In older homes the best option if not rewiring the home is to install a GFI outlet at every outlet and put the sticker included saying this outlet has no ground.
The "bootleg ground" I mentioned earlier by jumpering the neutral terminal to the ground terminal is often seen when the home is inspected for a sale and the inspector says there is no ground od bootleggged ground and 3 hole outlets were replaced in past, there is a very dangerous condition that can go years un noticed yet potentially could kill someone.
The condition is when the polarity (hot leg) is reversed and used on the neutral terminal and ground is jumpered to the neutral terminal meaning that BOTH the neutral and ground are electrically the hot leg and the neutral leg is wired to the positive terminal at the outlet, as i stated a plug in outlet analyser will be fooled by this condition and will say there is a ground when there is not.
This is known as RPBG "reverse polarity bootleg ground"
Now imagine several years pass and a plumber is called and he crawls under your home lying on damp dirt and he has a trouble light with a metal shroud and light bulb guard like a cage plugged into your homes outlet that has a RPBG condition.
The plumber is crawling on his back under the home on damp soil and he touches his lights metal shield which is electrically hot, this can and very often will kill someone and it might have been this way for years and nobody ever discovered this luckily. I went to a home one time where the lady said if I touch my water faucet and refrigerator at the same time I get shocked, I assumed it was a small tingle and tried it myself using my hands like a dummy rather than my volt meter and was bitten hard by a very powerful shock, amazed I took my volt meter and put a probe on the faucet and the other voltmeter probe on the refrigerator and to my horror read 120 volts!! This is seen on older 2 wire circuits in older homes and very few contractors realize this as many never saw a 2 wire circuit before if they are young.
 
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Old 01-22-18, 01:39 PM
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Yep, you get the standard answer of "it depends on what you have" which more often than not isn't specified.

But generally speaking, no; breakers and receptacles do not wear out from age alone. It's other factors.
 
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Old 01-22-18, 01:47 PM
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In some cases the breakers not tripping is the problem. They're supposed to trip on overload to prevent a fire -- the danger brands I listed above are those that are known to NOT trip when they are supposed to.
 
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Old 01-22-18, 01:49 PM
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Circuit panel is by ITE. So far no hotness and every thing moves fine.
 
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Old 01-22-18, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by asi
...So far no hotness and every thing moves fine.
.
How did you measure "hotness" and under what ambient conditions?

What do you mean by "everything moves fine?"
 
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Old 01-22-18, 02:39 PM
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Hotness by touch (perhaps not accurate measure), and moving fine means plugs are neither loose nor very tight. I know how loose or very tight (kind of stuck) plug feel like. I have experienced in my rented apartments. This is Not a issue at present at my home yet!

My circuit breakers never tripped made me think, either I am doing a very good job of not putting too much load or my circuit breakers are customary only. I have aluminum wiring in the house.
 
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