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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Bakersfield, California
    Posts
    62

    Default Blackened Copper Wire In Service Panel

    I found blackened copper wire in service panel, but I doubt it is Chinese drywall related.

    Electrical panel is located in the outside wall of the garage, garage walls and ceiling are finished. All the exposed copper in the main panel is blackened. No other discolored copper was found anywhere else in the house at the half dozen outlets and switches opened including at the garage outlet in the same wall as the main panel or at the exposed copper pipes at the garage water heater.

    The House was built in 2005 and occupied in Aug 10, 2005 a few weeks before Katrina. I did look at the garage ceiling lid which is visible in the attic and did not see any made in China markings. Seller is original owner and he stated that there have been no issues or repairs since he has moved in.

    Any Ideas?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Blackened Copper Wire In Service Panel

    Chemical reaction of some kind is my bet.
    Look for lawn, pool, cleaning, chemicals stored in the garage.
    Of course you know there might be some Chinese drywall mixed in with the good stuff and some of it is not plainly marked. It is kind of like trying to prove someone is a liar or honest. Much easier to prove the liar part but almost impossible to prove a man honest since you would have to look at every single thing he ever said or did. To prove a liar, you just need one lie.
    All you need is one piece of Chinese drywall to prove a problem. To prove it is clean, you must look at every piece.
    So for all of us, be careful how you phase when you report what you find.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Chico,Ca
    Posts
    423

    Default Re: Blackened Copper Wire In Service Panel

    The AL neutral bar,lugs look very good in the photos, in addition the plating on the fasteners looks very good also, if there was corrosion on those items I would be worried.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Blackened Copper Wire In Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Martin View Post
    I found blackened copper wire in service panel, but I doubt it is Chinese drywall related.

    Electrical panel is located in the outside wall of the garage, garage walls and ceiling are finished. All the exposed copper in the main panel is blackened. No other discolored copper was found anywhere else in the house at the half dozen outlets and switches opened including at the garage outlet in the same wall as the main panel or at the exposed copper pipes at the garage water heater.

    The House was built in 2005 and occupied in Aug 10, 2005 a few weeks before Katrina. I did look at the garage ceiling lid which is visible in the attic and did not see any made in China markings. Seller is original owner and he stated that there have been no issues or repairs since he has moved in.

    Any Ideas?
    Chinese drywall can't cause this to occur outside the house.

    Was there a well and sprinkler system? Sulfur in well water can cause this. I saw this exact same condition today at a house with a well with a sulfer removal system.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Blackened Copper Wire In Service Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Cramer View Post
    Chinese drywall can't cause this to occur outside the house.

    Was there a well and sprinkler system? Sulfur in well water can cause this. I saw this exact same condition today at a house with a well with a sulfer removal system.


    Mark is right, we see this all the time with sulfur in a well system.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    California
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Blackened Copper Wire In Service Panel

    Does anyone have information (perhaps from a manufacturer) about the potential for this condition to damage the circuit breakers? If cupric oxide is forming on the exposed copper surfaces inside the panel, it is probably also forming on the fine-stranded flexible wiring inside the circuit breakers.

    Douglas Hansen
    www.codecheck.com


  7. #7
    Matt Fletcher's Avatar
    Matt Fletcher Guest

    Default Re: Blackened Copper Wire In Service Panel

    I see that fairly often and could never determine what is was. Everything else looked fine so I d not write it up. Never knew about the sulphur.


    Matt
    Detroit Home Inspections, Grosse Pointe Home Inspectors, Harper Woods property inspections page.


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