We all know that electrical stress manifests itself as heat.
With a thermal camera many times electrical or mechanical damage can be predicted by finding something to be unusually hot. Thermal cameras are excellent predictors!
A fun definition of stress says that it is the confusion created when one's mind overrides their natural instinct to unceasingly wring the neck of some stupid jerk who utterly deserves it.
While that definition surely works for me (!), it doesn't exactly describe the electrical problem I am pointing out.
Looking into a panel box the other day I noticed that one breaker was different.
It was newer. Can you see it? The second from the bottom.
It's the right brand and all, but newer and different.
When I see new or different in a panel box, that always indicates someone was inside and probably did something.
What was done in this case was to replace a previous circuit breaker.
I never know why.
So I took the cover off to have a peek.
Looking more closely one can see stress.
It manifested itself as heat, but heat happening really quickly! This was heat in a flash! In more ways than one.
When this happens the connection, breaker and perhaps what it is servicing are all compromised.
This breaker should have been replaced immediately.
But, could this stress be the reason the first breaker was replaced with this newer one?
And if so, what is causing the problem?
Certainly I don't know, and can only recommend that a licensed electrician investigate this further. It might be that a fixture or appliance is causing the problem. This could be ongoing!
It represents a serious problem, and perhaps future a fire hazard.
My recommendation: when opening the door of a panel box, look for continuity of age and brand of the breakers inside. If there are changes, someone has been in the box for some reason, changing or adding breakers. It's a good idea to know why. And if, IF, the person replacing the breaker(s) was a professional!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560