It’s really true that $2 of caulk can stop rust in an electrical panel box. You don’t expect something as small as that to avoid thousands of dollars in maintenance costs. Caulk is cheap. Not using it does indeed potentially cost you thousands.
The electrical panel box failed inspection at a home inspection of a Oradell home this afternoon. This surprised everyone because the box looked find from the outside.
All you saw was orange when the home inspector removed the cover. There was rust everywhere. It was so severe that the electrical wiring and circuit breaker switches had been compromised as well.
The home inspector explained how this happened. He said that rain water ran down the conduit into the panel box. The foundation opening was not caulked properly so rain water came right into the box.
Power comes into a home from the outside electrical lines. The utility company (PSEG) brings wire that’s connected to it’s power lines through the foundation and into the panel box. The panel box then distributes that electricity throughout the house as needed.
In order to bring wire carrying electricity into the house, a hole is made in the foundation wall. Conduit is the protective tube around the wire. This travels through the hole and into the top of the electrical panel box. Electricity is then distributed throughout the house according to how many switches are in the panel box. As a result, it’s an open invitation for rain to get inside if the hole isn’t sealed tight.
The inspector told us this could have been avoided with only $2 worth of caulk. Because the homeowner didn’t make sure the caulk was in good condition, he has an expensive fix. Because this is a serious safety hazard, an electrician must come ASAP to replace the panel box.
If you own a home in Oradell or anywhere in Bergen County, it’s a smart idea to check all your foundation openings every spring and fall.