How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
What is the average life expectancy of an electrical panel in a house?
Sunday, December 15, 2019
How long does an electrical panel last?
You can expect an electrical panel to last 50 years or more, depending on where it is installed. An exterior panel exposed to both sun and rain can corrode through as early as 20 years if there is water leakage into the panel that allows standing water inside. Panels exposed to a corrosive atmosphere, such as in a room where pool chemicals are stored, will also have a shortened life.
An interior location is conducive to a longer life; and being in a conditioned space is even better. This is what Schneider Electric, manufacturer of Square D panels, has to say about panel life:
"Since panelboards are basically sheet metal, insulators, and bus bar assembled parts we believe that the useful panelboard life pertains more to the devices that are installed on a panelboard rather than the panelboard construction itself. For example a circuit breaker or switch installed in a panelboard is more likely to reach it's end of life before the panelboard structure itself. A circuit breaker or switch can be replaced as needed while the panelboard itself continues to operate. Obviously there may be instances when current carrying parts such as branch connectors may need to be replaced, but again the panelboard construction can continue to operate."
Here’s a graph comparing the life expectancy of a panel to other electrical components in a home.
Also, see our blog posts How do I determine the age of an electrical panel? and When should a corroded or damaged electric panel cabinet or disconnect box be replaced?
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about ELECTRIC PANELS:
NOTE: These life expectancies are based on data provided by InterNACHI, NAHB, FannieMae, and our own professional experience. Because of the numerous variables that can affect a lifespan, they should be used as rough guidelines only, and not relied upon as a warranty or guarantee of future performance.
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