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  1. #1
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    Default rust on wire breaker connection

    1968 deteched ocean view, outside pool; the panel in the basement bedroom. What cause rust? bedroom too hot? pool chemicals? any concern on the wire?

    Thanks

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    1968 deteched ocean view, outside pool; the panel in the basement bedroom. What cause rust? bedroom too hot? pool chemicals? any concern on the wire?
    Thanks
    Being next to the ocean.... the ocean. I have a healthy respect for what the ocean can do. I was called to repair communications gear in a condo complex that was adjacent to the ocean, and all the communications jacks were all corroded similar to what you have in the picture.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    1968 deteched ocean view, outside pool; the panel in the basement bedroom. What cause rust? bedroom too hot? pool chemicals? any concern on the wire?

    Thanks
    It really doesn't matter and your not there to figure out why, just write it up and move on. Too many inspectors try too hard to be a hero and figure everything out. If its obvious i.e. pool chemicals stored right below the panel then sure, tell them, but if not then guessing is just that, guessing, you can discuss it with them but don't put a guess in your report, just write it up and move on, bottom line. Looks like a common wire used as a hot wire is the only thing I really see with these breakers in the picture.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Rust is another word for FE O2, (oxygen invading iron).
    What we have here is oxygen invading copper, Copper oxide.
    Long periods of high humidity and/or some of that Chinese drywall the guys are always bragging about on this site.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    Rust is another word for FE O2, (oxygen invading iron).
    What we have here is oxygen invading copper, Copper oxide.
    Long periods of high humidity and/or some of that Chinese drywall the guys are always bragging about on this site.
    Chinese drywall makes copper turn black not green.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    I do not see rust, but I do see oxidation. The copper is reacting to something in the environment if it is green my experience has shown the the copper is reacting to pool chemicals or fertilizer type products. Salt air will also turn it green.

    If it is Chinese drywall it would be black. Copper turns black when it is exposed sulphur dioxide (main culprit in the drywall).

    I would note that the panel is showing some oxidation on the exposed copper and that is about all I would say. I would not tel my folks that they need an electrician to take a look as not much of anything can be done. It is not going to hurt anything.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Copper oxide (green)
    It can be the salt in the air, carried by the wind. Ocean side houses have a lot of metal rust, corner bead, lath and wire mesh under stucco is notorious. And with the high constant humidity those houses get a lot of abuse. Either way, not your worry, just write up corrosion on wires, suggest electrician repair/clean. I believe there is a grease just for these types of harsh environments to protect the copper, much like aluminum grease.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    I personally probably wouldn't say anything about it, its not that bad if you ask me. Surly not something your going to get sued over. If there are other electrical problems then I would just mention it along with them but if nothing else is wrong then I would let it go but that's me.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Correct, copper oxide = green in color. I should've looked closer.
    Surface oxidation on copper happens almost immediately and is a dull dark color. This is not an issue until the oxidation is such that it is 'green'.
    A thin amount on the surface is not an issue but if it has made its way to the terminations is certainly is.
    Call it out for investigation.


  10. #10
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    Smile Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    1968 deteched ocean view, outside pool; the panel in the basement bedroom. What cause rust? bedroom too hot? pool chemicals? any concern on the wire?

    Thanks

    Pete;

    As I finished up Certification on Pool Maintenance, the problem maybe unbalanced water issue. i,e, too much calcium, too much hardness, water temperature imbalance, too much salt water from water softner. Hard to say witout testing the water. You could be right on target about the cemicals because of the imbalance. Just a thought. I had an imbalance of water which turned a stainless steel pool ladder rusted and black. This cause was due to imbalance of water (grounding) because the positive and negative ions was reversed because not enough hardness in the water,

    Chris


  11. #11
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Roth View Post
    Pete;

    As I finished up Certification on Pool Maintenance, the problem maybe unbalanced water issue. i,e, too much calcium, too much hardness, water temperature imbalance, too much salt water from water softner. Hard to say witout testing the water. You could be right on target about the cemicals because of the imbalance. Just a thought. I had an imbalance of water which turned a stainless steel pool ladder rusted and black. This cause was due to imbalance of water (grounding) because the positive and negative ions was reversed because not enough hardness in the water,

    Chris

    This is about an electrical panel inside the house, I doubt the pool water chemicals being out of balance had anything to do with it.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Starkey View Post
    This is about an electrical panel inside the house, I doubt the pool water chemicals being out of balance had anything to do with it.

    Jim;

    That was a mere suggestion. If you have any doubt, then YOU put your skills to work instead. Try a little rechseach on the subject. You home inspectors have given me a ton of advice on home in spections that I have digested and I really appreciate Jim's and everyone eles advice and comments. Thanks


  13. #13
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    What rust?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    Correct, copper oxide = green in color. I should've looked closer.
    Surface oxidation on copper happens almost immediately and is a dull dark color. This is not an issue until the oxidation is such that it is 'green'.
    A thin amount on the surface is not an issue but if it has made its way to the terminations is certainly is.
    Call it out for investigation.
    Why call it out for "investigation"! Did it do something that needs investigating?

    Seriously, it does not need any further investigation or evaluation. This is what you the home inspector is suppose to be doing. Have enough confidence in your knowledge and in your ability to make the call and to not put it off on another professional. Your client has hired you to tell them about the problems, they have not hired you to tell them to hire another person to take the monkey off your back.

    Sorry for the soapbox rant but this is a pet peeve of mine...

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    I don't see any rust. I don't see any "green" or black copper.It just looks like tinned copper to me, (one) which I'd of course expect if its power circuit for the outdoor pool in a marine (seaside) environment.Tinned copper is usually specified for marine and potentially corrosive vapor environments - especially when clamped connections, its also easier to strip.If you have a concern it can be nipped, restripped to the correct length via guage on the breaker and reconnected.I don't believe that breaker is for the panel. Not sure of the status of/if classified breakers 'fly' in your province.


  16. #16
    Robert Meier's Avatar
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Have you ever seen tinned copper with Thermoplastic insulation? Given the age of the conductors I would guess that they're type TW.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    Have you ever seen tinned copper with Thermoplastic insulation? Given the age of the conductors I would guess that they're type TW.
    Yes, absolutely. More expensive too. Often was spec'd for Marine and pools.

    I'd have guessed TWN.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Both red conductors in that pic look like they have a light green tint on the exposed conductor.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    A coat of clear epoxy paint on the exposed connections in a corrosive environment will minimize the corrosion. However, like others have said, the inspectors job is to observe and report what has been observed.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Roberts View Post
    A coat of clear epoxy paint on the exposed connections in a corrosive environment will minimize the corrosion. However, like others have said, the inspectors job is to observe and report what has been observed.
    So..................Is any listed to be used in electrical panels? Shooting the inside of a panel full of latex paint will accomplish the same thing - and get a request from a building inspector to replace the panel. I would certainly view a panel so treated as contaminated. A connection at a breaker could be compromised by applying the material. If the wire needs to be removed then reinstalled for some reason the material could prevent a good connection.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Starkey View Post
    It really doesn't matter and your not there to figure out why, just write it up and move on. Too many inspectors try too hard to be a hero and figure everything out. If its obvious i.e. pool chemicals stored right below the panel then sure, tell them, but if not then guessing is just that, guessing, you can discuss it with them but don't put a guess in your report, just write it up and move on, bottom line. Looks like a common wire used as a hot wire is the only thing I really see with these breakers in the picture.
    I don't think the OP ever stated he was putting anything in his report. Looks like he just wants to get some information and learn. I don't see how trying to learn what might be causing the condition he saw means he wants to be a hero.

    I see the green oxidation on the exposed conductors

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  22. #22
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Suspected cause of green corrosion on copper? Easy one. It is in a bedroom.

    It is most likely on an exterior wall. It can be a beach house or miles up a dirt road in the mountains, no difference.
    The space behind the panel is poorly insulated. Cold metal. The bedroom interior is heated, and has a breathing human in it for extended periods. Condensation forms on the cold metal.
    Panel in a laundry room can have the same thing. Thicker walls and foam board insulation behind the panel helps eliminate the condensation. I suggest an insulated cabinet door sometimes.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  23. #23
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    Wink Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Suspected cause of green corrosion on copper? Easy one. It is in a bedroom.

    It is most likely on an exterior wall. It can be a beach house or miles up a dirt road in the mountains, no difference.
    The space behind the panel is poorly insulated. Cold metal. The bedroom interior is heated, and has a breathing human in it for extended periods. Condensation forms on the cold metal.
    Panel in a laundry room can have the same thing. Thicker walls and foam board insulation behind the panel helps eliminate the condensation. I suggest an insulated cabinet door sometimes.
    You hold the gun.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Being an electrician for many many years and having to service these green conductors that eventually overheat at the termination...
    I would again suggest that you HI's call it out.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Peter,
    I and others understood you meant oxidation when you said rust. Something like Xerox and photocopy.

    Metals do not change without something reacting with them. I would vote for high humidity in connection with ocean. Pool chemicals a possibility, but not probable.

    Report oxidation and recommend remediation.

    Clean wire and connector apply anti-oxidation past. Simple and effective solution.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    As Bob said oxidation is not good for the connection. I think I would go with his advice.

    Also why is it when some ask a legitimate question because they do not know as to why a condition exists should any of us not want to know the answer or explore ideas to possible cause?

    I always want to know. The answer may not be definable on a single inspection or without more information but trying to find out causes, probable causes or answers I think keeps our minds sharp as inspectors.

    Questioning is a good attribute to have in my humble opinion.

    Last edited by Don Hester; 06-26-2012 at 04:25 PM. Reason: typo
    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  27. #27
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: rust on wire breaker connection

    Not much conductor to see and I'm color blind in red & green, but the red-ish insulated wire in particular has a weathered / un-natural look. I would doubt salt in the air causing oxidation unless there are other signs like rust on steel items such as the panel can itself. Certianly worth mention in your report. Curious about the white wire on a C/B terminal. Only two legal possibilities I know and I do not think your photo is either one. One would be an arc fault or ground fault breaker, but those look differently. The other would be two of the four half sized breakers are a 240 volt circuit. That would require a handle tie, ( not visable in the photo ), and the labeling on the C/B that could possibly be one leg of a 240 volt circuit says 120 volt. It is a questionable situation.


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