Electrical panel question - streaks?

Hey folks, kinda new here so take it easy on the roasting…

That being said this electric panel is 11 months old.


It’s got these odd streaks that look like a fractal burn if you’re into wood working. They wipe away like they are made of dust.
It’s a new 2021 home, 200 amp panel, nothing out of the ordinary.

Any ideas?

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Being a form of plastic, it reminds me of a mold/fungi that I see from time to time on plastic… but never in a panel.

Edit:

Makes sense as it seems I recall only having seen this on relatively new items.

Welcome to the forum, Dale. Neat pictures. I have not seen anything like that before. Thanks for posting. Hopefully someone on here has a good explanation.

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I hate to think how you found out that they wipe away…You should not be reaching inside electrical panels, unless You are a qualified electrician hired to work on it…

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It’s dust. Might have something to do with the static properties of the plastic.

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Pretty sure Robert has it. I’ve seen that quite a few times. Sparky told me they come new that way sometimes.

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It pays to have an electrician friend that also hasn’t seen this before. :slight_smile:

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I’ve seen those before in the field and even once referred it to the factory for more information. The answer I got from engineering was that its a cosmetic quality control issue at the factory. They use Bakelite plastic for its heat resistant properties on many of those interior components, and sometimes they get a batch that was cooled too rapidly during molding. In places where stress or torque is applied (such as a screw or lug point) a fine dust fans out in a spiderweb pattern. Its mostly chemical filler in the Bakelite that doesn’t cool as rapidly as the rest of the plastic and gets released when drilled or stressed…

As Robert said above, its cosmetic, presents no significant safety hazard and wipes off easily. They’re supposed to clean it off at that factory, but QC isn’t always perfect.

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Damn. That’s kind of cool lookin’. Looks like dust following a vibration pattern, or a moisture pattern (like condensation on the underside of the panel).
Anywho - let’s get real. IMHO… If you’re inspecting a panel (aka “Load Center”), and (particularly in a new build) - do not consider the dust buildup to be cosmetic and harmless. It is neither of those.

  1. Dust/dirt/debris/cobwebs (especially drywall dust) in the panel can buildup on devices and cause them to fail.
  2. Dust is almost always combustible.
    Call out what you see, provide photos, and recommend proper cleaning by a qualified person.
    I most commonly see them being cleaned with vacuums or blowers.

Rock on!

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The lugs are missing the insulating covers that are now required.