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White powder on some breakers


mridgeelk
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Some breakers in this panel have a small amount of a white powder on the plastic next to the point of attachment screw, most evident on the fourth wire, the white used as a hot. A similar powder is evident in one of the drain valves in the crawlspace. I told my client that the valve likely dripped causing the buildup. The water is extremely hard which probably explains the buildup at the valve, but I don't have a clue what caused the deposit on the breakers. Any ideas?

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Hi,

Not sure about the valve. I've seen it before in areas that were dry. I've got a half-baked theory that it's related to certain chemicals being stored in close proximity to the panel. Is there a laundry in that basement with open boxes of detergent nearby? If so, was there a distinct laundry smell like bleach had been used?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by mridgeelk

Some breakers in this panel have a small amount of a white powder on the plastic next to the point of attachment screw, most evident on the fourth wire, the white used as a hot. A similar powder is evident in one of the drain valves in the crawlspace. I told my client that the valve likely dripped causing the buildup. The water is extremely hard which probably explains the buildup at the valve, but I don't have a clue what caused the deposit on the breakers. Any ideas?

Those are Siemens breakers. When they're manufactured, the black plastic housing has a small open port just next to the wire terminal. This port is filled with a white plaster-like substance -- I don't know what it is or why it's there. Sometimes this substance breaks down and accumulates on the adjacent ledge just as it's doing in your photo. I've seen it a few times but never gave it much consideration before.

Sorry I don't have more information for you.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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