Can I Clean a Rusty Electrical Panel?

No. Many new home buyers may see a rusty electrical panel and think the house is “about to blow”. It is not.  And as home inspectors we spend extra time…

Can I Clean a Rusty Electrical Panel?

Can I Clean a Rusty Electrical Panel?

Is a Rusty Electrical Panel a Deal Breaker for Buying a Home?

No. Many new home buyers may see a rusty electrical panel and think the house is "about to blow". It is not.  And as home inspectors we spend extra time explaining to new home owners that every house has issues. Our job is to figure out which issues you want to take care of immediately and which ones you add to your list for later. In many cases a little rust in the electrical panel can be caused by damp air and handled with limited maintenance. With minor rust in an electrical panel you can remove the rust, prime and then paint the box - using paint designed for metal.

However, in this case, the rusty electrical panel can NOT be cleaned, painted and considered operational. In this video you can see that water leaking into the electrical panel has caused severe corrosion. These corroded wires will cause the wires to get hot, and instead of tripping, which is what the electrical panel is designed to do, it can cause a fire. So this case in an immediate fix, but shouldn't be a deal-breaker.

Corrosion on busbars, lugs, electrical connections and wiring may result in failure of the component operating properly, may result in excessive heat which can cause a fire under some circumstances. Corrosion may lead to some home appliances being damaged or not operating properly.


Cleveland Home Inspector Finds Fire Hazard: Rusty Electrical Panel

From Mike Vakos, owner and head home inspector:

... in today's video I wanted to show you something in this electrical panel. I'm in the basement here and I just took off the cover. It looks like there's been some kind of water leak close to the electrical panel.  You can see down here all this rust, which is not good.  Then if you look up here, at all this wiring, see how badly corroded that is?  That's just a massive fire hazard waiting to happen. Those wires don't have good connections and they heat up which causes a fire.  This rusty electrical panel should get replaced and updated by a certified electrical contractor. There's a lot of other things wrong with this electrical panel but this is for sure a major hazard.  So something you want to look for whenever you have water lines close to electrical panels.  These types of things will happen where you have water leakage. So that's my tip for the day and one more reason to get a home inspection have a great day.

Can I Clean a Rusty Electrical Panel?

Cleveland Home Inspection

Whether you're buying a home from a private seller or a seller represented by a realtor, it's easy to order your home inspection from Tri-County Home Inspection.  Call, text or go through the website's order a home inspection process to get on the books. Once you've ordered a home inspection, owner and home inspector Mike Vakos will call to find out more and go over any applicable home inspection discounts.

For more posts about electrical issues found in our home inspections:

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Tri-County Inspections home inspectors deliver everything from thorough home inspections with radon testing, mold testing and septic testing add-ons to brief walk-through inspections across ten Ohio counties including: Lorain CountyCuyahoga CountyLake CountyMedina CountySummit County, Wayne CountyHolmes CountyGeauga CountyPortage County, and Stark County. We are also the Cleveland landlords' choice for lead inspection services.

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