The Rusty Screw

By
Home Inspector with H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties)

When is a rusty screw more than cosmetically un-pleasing?  Answer: When it is inside an active electric panel, securing a wire to the panel breaker.

These screws have become rusted because of high hunidity in the house and especially in the basement where this panel was located.

Rusty screws lose their ability to conduct electricity effectively, and could create an overheated connection.

Therefore it is highly recommended that such screws and/or connections be replaced.

If your electric panel is in the basement, and possibly has an enclosure built around it, a high humidity condition could exist, which could cause this to happen. Check your breaker connections to make sure they are not rusted.  

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Rainmaker
1,051,721
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Kevin, These are legitimate issues that need to be addressed and you must know your stuff good information to point out as a potential problem. Side comment, I just had a home inspection done on a new home completed in November here are the two issues that cam up: there are no door stops to keep the doors from swinging into the wall, and the boiler hasn't been service since it was installed. Come on! it's a new house do you think this inspector had to put something down to justify his fee, or is there ever an occasion when an inspector could just say everything is fine. Because I've never seen one that didn't give the buyer, seller or broker a list (even in a new house). Steve

Jul 08, 2008 06:09 AM #1
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

I have only inspected two houses in 23 years that I did not find anything wrong. Both of them were new, and from the same meticulous builder. I do not think inspectors would or should list items without a valid reason. However, I think an inspector probably has a little more time on his hands in a "perfect house" to scrutinize things a little more closely. I may not have called out the doorstops, but a boiler that has not been serviced would most likely have made the list.

Jul 08, 2008 08:46 AM #2
Rainer
2,320
Frank Peters
The Home Consultant - Inspection Services - Champaign, IL

Kevin,

Was the panel in direct contact with a concrete/masonry wall?  I've seen moisture related problems when that is the situation.  Not exactly rusted terminal screws, but deteriorated fasteners, and corrosion inside the panel.

Frank Peters
The Home Consultant - Inspection Services
Champaign, Illinois

 

 

Jul 08, 2008 08:55 AM #3
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

Frank,

       No this panel was mounted on wood, but was enclosed inside a wooden frame with a door too, so it had plenty of opportunity to have condensation, which is what caused what you see. When the connection is severly rusted, it can cause shorts or overheating.

Jul 08, 2008 09:06 AM #4
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Rainmaker
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Kevin Corsa

H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector
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