What I'm Seeing Now

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Paint Over Spray Inside The Electric Panel Box

What if you see paint over spray inside the electric panel box?

 

THERE SHOULD NEVER BE PAINT OVER SPRAY

INSIDE THE ELECTRIC PANEL BOX!

 

This is an office condo.  If it's there not been proper oversight by the condo management, the condo owners and the paint company is unprofessional. 

Why remove the cover from the electric panel box to paint?

Certainly painters have little to no reason to remove a panel box cover.

And if they do, they have substantial reason(s) to cover and protect it!

So, what does painting components inside the panel box cause.

Simply put - stress.

Undue stress.

And the stress can cause other problems, particularly heat.

See the blue color on the screws clamping down on the braided copper wire?  Many electricians have told me that means heat.  And in particular it means too much heat over a long period of time.

The breaker in question is the nearly-white one on the lower right in the thermal image.  I broke out the camera because the breaker felt warm to the back of my hand.

Not super hot, it is 132F.  But the heat pump had only been running for 1/2 hour at this point.

The heat pump is not very old - 2008.  It's maintenance is unknown.

The condo is 1982 vintage and the heat pump 2008, so the HVAC has likely been replaced more than once.

Some brands and brand years want circuit breakers to be updated when their units are installed.   The breaker above that services it does not appear to have been replaced when the unit was upgraded.  In fact, it looks older than the others around it!

But notice how the breaker in question is influencing the one to its left and the main just above.  That is undue stress!

An electrician evaluated the box for this, and many other problems, and pronounced things unfit overall and some major work would be needed.   So my client was happy with the report and results of the inspection.

My recommendation:  over spray on circuit breakers can be seen with the cover still on the box.  But removing the cover is necessary to really see the condition of things overall.  This is true in a condo (if they permit it) and a residence.  Thermal cameras can make visual what can be felt with the hand - heat and undue stress.  And thermal cameras can lend credence to the idea that stress is undesirable.  Plus, the side benefit as always, thermographers are all really cute.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 17 commentsJay Markanich • February 02 2015 04:44AM

Comments

That doesn't look good.  It doesn't look attractive either, so seems like a lose lose.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 4 years ago

And it wasn't the only place where there was over spray, Debbie.  Just the spot that got very warm.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, really no excuse for sloppy work! Obviously this needs spome attention! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 4 years ago

Strange that the others are newer and not sprayed Jay. Seems like an easy fix.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 4 years ago

It's sloppy to say the least Wayne.  Other things were scarier.  Charlie Buell used the acronym FUBAR when I sent him a photo!

It would be if only one breaker needed replacement Tom.  But alas ... the electrician wanted to evacuate the city.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

One thing I check with compressors is the max breaker size on the data plate plate compared to what is in the panel. When compressors get replaced, the breaker doesn't always. Newer compressors are more efficient, thus requiring smaller breakers. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay Markanich Great blog post and we have not only seen this often, but the home inspectors we use do tag this issue.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc.) over 4 years ago

Jay, I think your first question is the best one...Why the overspray? I think most painters would be nervous about painting near an open box.

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

At least they could have used a more neutral color! The electrician will be happy for some work caused by someones inadequacy.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 4 years ago

BEWARE the paint company with a paint spray system.

They have a tendency to want to use their spray equipment for all painting needs.

Sometimes a simple paint brush and paint bucket is far more efficient and less costly when all is done.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Jim - in this case the compressor was so close to the brick wall and staircase that I couldn't see it and even my clever camera contortion antics couldn't get a photo!

As they should S&N!

Tom - no way should painters be taking the cover off the panel box, and if it was off first they should protect it.

Raymond - I'd go with Redskin colors myself, but that's just me.

Lenn - they are in and out as quick as a lick.  Protect stuff?  Not us...

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Morning Jay Not much to say about this one.  I know the panel should have been covered before the painting began.. Sounds like it wasn't a professional who did the painting

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 4 years ago

And look at all the side benefits painting inside there brought James! 

You're right, not professional.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

What goes through the mind of the handyman or contractor doing this job?   I hate it when you find issues involving the electrical panel on the inspections you do for my buyers.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 4 years ago

Wait until you see the next post about this panel box Chris Ann.  And I expect you would rather find out about electrical issues from me and not your clients!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I've seen that a lot, Jay. It's especially an issue in commercial spaces where the painters want to get that edge around the panel. I've seen some so bad you had a hard time recognizing the color of the conductors. Just sloppy workmanship.

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 4 years ago

Sloppy to be sure, there Gramps, and dangerous! 

While you might be a great Gramps, I bet you aren't a Great Gramps...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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