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Old 09-13-2013, 05:06 PM   #1
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Moisture around breakers


This week we had some real humidity, and when I went to where my water pressure tank is, there was a small puddle on the floor. I figured this was due to the boiler being only a few feet away, and the water coming up from the well would be quite cold. A few pipes were dripping condensation.

Today I noticed several breakers in my electric panel show signs of moisture. The labels are smeared, and I can see moisture between breakers, especially if I use a flashlight.

Dumb question, could the condensation happening on the pipes migrate through the air to the panel? Or is it much more likely that I have something leaking on the panel? I felt the top of the panel today and it is bone dry, but so is everything else in there as the humidity has left us.

Thank you as always.

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Old 09-13-2013, 05:43 PM   #2
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Moisture around breakers


There may have been condensation in the panel. It is also possible for condensation that forms inside conduits to run into the panel, or for groundwater or rain to leak into conduits and end up there.

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Old 09-14-2013, 12:15 AM   #3
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Moisture around breakers


What is the panel mounted on? It's possible that the back of the panel enclosure is colder than the surrounding air, and condensation is occurring inside of the panel itself.
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:34 AM   #4
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Moisture around breakers


The panel is mounted on plywood which is mounted on some 2x4s, so there should be decent ventilation behind the panel.

I am perplexed and a little annoyed, as I had to replace my panel last year as several circuits where having trouble. And when an electrician came in, he pointed out all the corrosion inside my panel. So it looks like it's happening again...
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:50 AM   #5
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Moisture around breakers


Where is this panel?
Outside, in a damp basement?
If it's the basement and it's that damp I'd be looking into why it's so damp.
That much moisture is going to be effecting more then just that panel.
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:58 AM   #6
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Moisture around breakers


The panel is inside in the basement, on the other side of the finished area. Very dry, we never run a dehumidifier because we don't need to.
There re no conduits running into the panel, thanks for the idea anyway.

Juts makes no sense...
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Old 09-15-2013, 11:02 AM   #7
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Moisture around breakers


Water can leak into a crack in the service cable jacket and wick down to the panel.
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Old 09-15-2013, 11:03 AM   #8
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Moisture around breakers


Quote:
Originally Posted by dougp23 View Post
There re no conduits running into the panel, thanks for the idea anyway.
No conduits, so then SE cable? Is moisture traveling down inside the cable?
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:18 PM   #9
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Moisture around breakers


Changed only the panel or the service complete?
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:36 PM   #10
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Moisture around breakers


I doubt that the moisture is coming in from the service drop, but again, I am strictly an amateur here. Why I doubt it is that the service entrance comes in at the far corner of the building, it then traverses 16 feet to the panel. It is a fairly level path from where it enters to where it comes into the panel, and being 6 gauge aluminum, it is very rigid, with many dips and rises (albeit small ones) along the way.

I am beginning to think that somehow, moisture is getting in the air. It then condenses on smooth metal services, like the panel, and then of course it is able to cover the breakers a little.

I am a little leery to feel cables entering the box for moisture, if there is moisture and it is on a breaker, wouldn't I get shocked? I am debating wrapping cables in toilet paper and seeing which ones get wet, etc. I am pretty much out of ideas....Can I put those little packets of silicone that absorb moisture in the box??
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:43 PM   #11
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Moisture around breakers


SE cable is like a garden hose. Even long horizontal runs can contain and transmit moisture ...

How about uploading a high-resolution picture of your panel, with the cover removed?

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