Should this panel be replaced? Is it a DIY project?


Old 08-06-20, 09:02 AM
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Should this panel be replaced? Is it a DIY project?

This panel is at least 25 years old. Noticed rust on/in panel when we bought the house 25 years ago, but was dry. at some point noticed a drop or 2 after a storm. I recaulked around cable going into top of meter outside and around main line going into house and that stopped it 10 years ago.

1) Should the box be replaced?
2) Or steel wool wires? But that won't help for corrosion on breakers / ground bar.
3) is that a DIY thing I can do?
4) If it's a DIY, I was thinking I can pull the meter outside to kill the power? Or call power company? And then do you need a permit?

There's a ground wire or 2 that might be unconnected in pictures. I was looking at them. THey normally are connected.

5) Also, I was able to turn the screws on the circuit breakers at least 1/8 turn for all, more for a few. And same for ground screws. Over time, they loosen? Tighening them helps make a better connection? I don't know my hands torque like mentioned on panel, but 'pretty tight' would be a good rule of thumb?


Old 08-06-20, 10:42 AM
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Well, that is a real mess, are your having any issues with the panel, why are those neutral and ground conductors floating around in there? Unless you really have a need to replace it I might suggest that you shut the main breaker off and reposition all the conductors in the breaker as well as the grounds and neutrals, can I assume that all those cables coming into the panel are in the proper connectors, also you could strip all that sheathing on the cables back up close to the connectors.
DIY project, maybe , depends on the city or town ,I would think it would require a permit and inspection, usually the PCO will not reenergize without an inspection.
Old 08-06-20, 11:04 AM
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From what I can see, the busbar doesn't look damaged/corroded (though that's just based on the pics). Usually that's the main reason you'd want to replace the panel.
The ground/neutral bars could definitely use a replacement. But you should be able to replace with a similarly sized bar.
No issue with a bit of patina on the copper wires, when they are properly screwed down, it doesn't affect their conductivity.
As for the breakers, it's hard to say. If water got into them, they should probably be replaced. If it's just on the surface, they are probably fine.

If you do for a full panel replacement, it's typically not really a DIY project. Either the POCO will need to disconnect their feed or pull the meter. Pulling the meter isn't DIY - sometimes it'll be fine, but occasionally there can be significant safety issues - so we don't recommend it.

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