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Subpanel With Crispy Breakers

Today I had a call to look at a subpanel that fed a pool and it’s equipment. The customer gave me a story covering a span of about three years which ultimately ended up in the breaker for his pool pump not working right. He said the pump would come on for a couple minutes, then shut off. The breaker wasn’t tripping, so he would turn it off, then back on, and the pump would start working again for a couple minutes, then shut off. He figured he just had a bad breaker. Little did he know…..

When I got there, I opened the subpanel and everything looked okay….from the outside. I decided to remove the breaker that was having the problem and when I did, I found this:

Burned breaker

The breaker crumbled in my hand when I removed it from the panel and part of the breaker came off and was partially welded to the bussing in the panel. Overheating? You betcha.

Pieces of breakers welded to the bussing

I pulled out the rest of the breakers to see what the condition was and there were two that were completely destroyed, and two others that had significant heat damage due to being next to the ones that were really bad. Of the other two, one had a piece missing.

Burned bussing

Burned bussing

The bussing was so burned that new breakers couldn’t be placed on those spots, and there wasn’t enough room to accommodate all his circuits on the spots that were still in good condition. My conclusion was to replace the panel and all it’s breakers entirely.

Once this was done, everything worked perfectly and everyone was happy. Doesn’t it look much better now?

New subpanel

New subpanel