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How much is too much rust?

Jeff Beck

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That doesn't look like an old panel so this rust thing is likely to get worse and worse.

What Bill said. An air space is needed.

NEC 312.2(A)

Even if you space it now, would it be too late? The rust is gonna keep going right?

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I seem to remember a 1/4" air space is required to prevent moisture/condensation/rust. All but just a few here have plywood between the enclosure and the wall instead.

There are normally dimples built into the panel to provide the air gap.

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