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Discolored (Scorched?) Breakers


dtontarski
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Inspected a home on a hill with an elaborate lightning protection system. Note the discolored breakers on the upper left side of this 1975 split-bus main service panel. Could this scorching be the result of a past strike?

What's the call on this? Further analysis by an electrician? Is breaker replacement mandatory? I don't pull breakers...could this have damaged the bus? Any and all advice will be appreciated. Thanks.

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Morning Chad,

I'm writing up the obvious issues. When a panel has one of these old surge arresters with leads going to each of the hot bus bars do you address this? This is mentioned in Hansen's book...but not called out as an issue.

As far as I know it's not an issue....I wonder if the surge protector was installed the day after the big strike of '91

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Inspected a home on a hill with an elaborate lightning protection system. Note the discolored breakers on the upper left side of this 1975 split-bus main service panel. Could this scorching be the result of a past strike?

What's the call on this? Further analysis by an electrician? Is breaker replacement mandatory? I don't pull breakers...could this have damaged the bus? Any and all advice will be appreciated. Thanks.

I can't tell from the picture, but if the discoloration on those breakers is from scorching or overheating, the breakers ought to be replaced.

There might be damage to the busbars too. I'd recommend having the electrician remove all of the breakers to look for damage to the busbars and the concealed portions of other breakers.

As for the rest, I don't know much about lightning protection and how it damaged electrical equipment. Lightning is almost unknown around here.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Everyone - thanks for the review & input. I did recommend further analysis, including load calculation, the removal of breakers, and the inspection of the bus. The square footage of the home has been increased significantly since it was built and I pointed out that this service was currently marginal and recommended an update. This home was cosmetically flawless with great curb appeal...they actually installed new shingles.....just to the roof exposure facing the street. Out of sight...out of mind....roof and electrical components alike.

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