Schneider Electric Recalls PowerPact J-Frame Circuit Breakers Due to Fire, Burn, Electrical Shock Hazards
Question: Would a bad breaker panel harm appliance?
An electrician mentioned to me that a bad distribution board (also known as panelboard or breaker panel) can harm appliance. He mostly relates the potential cause to surge through panel, while a surge can be due to lightening etc. He particularly referred to a bad panel removed this morning that has half of the channel showing signs melting.
I don’t understand the above concept for the following reasons and would bring this here for discussion.
A panel breaker serves to protect the electrical appliance in home. When there is current higher than a set limit, the circuit breaker will trip and shut off the electricity. So the panel can only do protection than harm as long as the circuit breakers are functioning. Even if the breaker fails to trip, we can only blame it not doing its job but to accuse it as the source of damage, or it causes the damage.
The breaker will fail to protect the appliance when a surge takes place too fast for the circuit breaker to react and trip. However, this should blame the circuit breaker rather than the panel channel itself. The panel channels are conducting current. A brand new panel channel won’t do any better than an old one that has flaws in protecting the home appliance from surge.
Would the panel channel that has signs of melting be less conductive and therefore outputs less voltage. I doubt about it. But even if it is the case we have the following argument. Less output voltage may cause an appliance not functioning properly. But less output voltage also means less capability of doing damage. When the proper power is charged, the appliance should come back to work normal.
It’s my understanding that the worst scenario for panel breaker to go bad is that it lost its capability to protect the home appliance, but not that it will become harmful to the appliance. If a panel breaker itself does the adverse thing, i.e., to harm the appliance, then that will be a big issue to the panel manufacturers.