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Thread: cupric sulfide

  1. #1
    Jon Bolton's Avatar
    Jon Bolton Guest

    Default cupric sulfide

    I am familiar with the term cupric sulfide as learned from Jeff Hooper. I have found this condition at least 4 times in my career but yet I cannot logically explain how and why this happens in an electrical panel where corrosive conditions do not exist. An internet search reveals a bunch of pool stuff and chemical engineering. I found this condition again today on a 5 year old town house. The power company just happened to be present in the neighborhood and a power company rep who has been an electrician since the 60's says he has never seen this condition while lucky me in my 40's have found it at least 4 times. This is my first post and I'm hoping one of you old timers or others smarter than me (shouldn't be hard) can enlighten me. I've attached a few pics for your viewing pleasure.

    Thanks in advance!
    Jon Bolton
    the INSPECTAGATOR

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: cupric sulfide

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Bolton View Post
    I am familiar with the term cupric sulfide as learned from Jeff Hooper. I have found this condition at least 4 times in my career but yet I cannot logically explain how and why this happens in an electrical panel where corrosive conditions do not exist. An internet search reveals a bunch of pool stuff and chemical engineering. I found this condition again today on a 5 year old town house. The power company just happened to be present in the neighborhood and a power company rep who has been an electrician since the 60's says he has never seen this condition while lucky me in my 40's have found it at least 4 times. This is my first post and I'm hoping one of you old timers or others smarter than me (shouldn't be hard) can enlighten me. I've attached a few pics for your viewing pleasure.
    Jon,

    That's pretty impressive. From the pics that you posted, it looks like the panelbox itself is essentially untouched. That would indicate a corrosive that affects copper and does not affect steel. Unless the panel itself is newer than the wiring. Possibly a corrosive gas? Other than that, I haven't a clue. Sorry.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  3. #3
    David Banks's Avatar
    David Banks Guest

    Default Re: cupric sulfide

    Jon. This has been discussed before and is in the archives somewhere. Since this is your first post just to let you know the weekends have light postings and you will probably get some more responses starting Monday.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: cupric sulfide

    Jon - Welcome to the board!
    Here is one similar thread from the archives:
    Copper Wire Discoloration - InspectionNews.com .
    Please complete your user profile so we can see where you are from when you post. You know what the realtor$ say - location, location, location.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: cupric sulfide

    Well, since I have not heard cupric sulfide I had to do a little Googling..

    Noun 1. cupric sulfate - a copper salt made by the action of sulfuric acid on copper oxide.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 07-26-2008 at 08:03 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: cupric sulfide

    Found this for you in the archives. I knew I'd seen pictures similar to yours.
    Go here.....
    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...in-panels.html

    Critical Home Inspection Services
    www.Home2Spec.com

  7. #7
    Jon Bolton's Avatar
    Jon Bolton Guest

    Default Re: cupric sulfide

    WOW! Gentlemen, thanks so much for the education and support. I could get addicted to this posting stuff. I've copied peoples explanations as well as those in the archives a couple of you sent me and will attempt some guidance for my client.

    I will also look into updating my profile as advised. I was unaware, thanks again.

    Jon Bolton
    the INSPECTAGATOR


  8. #8
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    Default Re: cupric sulfide

    Another possiblility is that it is due to anydrous ammonia. Anhydrous ammonia attacks copper leading to a dark bluish-green discoloration. Anhydrous ammonia is commonly used in the farming industry, and is a key ingredient of the manufacture of methamphetamine.


  9. #9
    Jon Bolton's Avatar
    Jon Bolton Guest

    Default Re: cupric sulfide

    More great advice, thank you! In this house, there were no other signs of a meth lab or meth use. The panel is located in a conditioned laundry room though. As of yet, I have not heard back from the electrician who was called in to evaluate but I did provide all the previous responses and responses from archived articles to both the buyer and buyer's agent.

    Jon


  10. #10
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    Default Re: cupric sulfide

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Bolton View Post
    The panel is located in a conditioned laundry room though. As of yet, I have not heard back from the electrician who was called in to evaluate but I did provide all the previous responses and responses from archived articles to both the buyer and buyer's agent.

    Jon
    Could it be a result of high concentrations of amonia or detergents in the laundry. Maybe they're into heavy bleaching ?


  11. #11
    Jon Bolton's Avatar
    Jon Bolton Guest

    Default Re: cupric sulfide

    Well, a very qualified electrician has apparently solved the mystery. Long story short...He found the ground connection inside the meter box was never connected properly. When he touched the ground inside the meter, it fell out from the lug. His conclusion, short to ground with no where to go, turned everything in the panel dark blue/black. Connected and cleaned everything, put his name on it.

    Jon


  12. #12
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    Default Re: cupric sulfide

    Jon,

    Thanks for the update. Another thing that I can add to my things to remember.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

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