Life Expectancy of Equipment, switches, receptacles

Does anyone have a table/chart available?
thanks, Peter


I don’t know if such a list or table exist, but in my opinion, it would all depend on the quality of the Product and the usage of it. Those two variables would dictate as to how long something would last.
No different than a car. Depends on make, quality, useage. Some have a car for ten years like me and some have a car for two years.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


I have seen a chart [somewhere] but I would think it would just be a guide. I fully agree with your above post.

Thanks Mario;

The reason for what I have said is due to what I have seen in the past.

I have renovated College Libraries that had receptacles 25 years old and still like new.
I have renovated College Dormitories where equipment and receptacles were in a dangerous condition after only five years.

I would be curious to see that list if it exist and am sure that it would only be a guideline as you mentioned.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

This is timely… there was a note in the old versions of the National Electrical Code almost 50 years ago with respect to the lifespan of wiring. I don’t know why it was ever removed. It might be interesting for a the home inspector to know that over 50 years ago, the code did recognize that wiring had a limited lifespan. The code read as follows:

1953 NEC, Chapter 10, Table 2, Note 10-

**10. Deterioration of Insulation. ** It should be noted
that even the best grades of rubber insulation will dete-
riorate in time, so eventually will need to be replaced.

It’s hard to say when a switch will fail. Some were definately better than others. Many of the pushbutton switches from the 20’s are still in service, and may continue to work for some time. For receptacles, it depends wholly on how often an attachment plug is inserted. The contact wipers become weak, which is where the hazard is created. I do know that the inspector in my neck of the woods that inspects rental property uses a receptacle tension tester on most of the recs to determine their state of wear. I think Daniel Woodhead is the OEM for receptacle tension testers. I think they’re relatively inexpensive.

Some switches that were in use from the late 50’s through the 70’s contained mercury. They were not a mechanical switch inside. They have a blob of mercury inside that is sloshed this way and that as the switch handle is toggled. These mercury swiches have a definate distinctive feel when operated, as they don’t “click”, no matter how slight. They have a very smooth operation from the ‘off’ to the ‘on’ position. These switches last indefinately, unless damaged by an outside force. Because they contain mercury, they can present a hazard to the occupant if damaged such that the mercury is no longer contained. They are a disposal issue when replaced.

Same was in the 1965 NEC as well Marc…in regards to the rubber coated wiring

I like to replace swiches and receptacles after 637 novemdecillion electrons have passed though the unit. Counting the little buggers can be quite tedius :slight_smile:

DANG…and I figured I was the only one with a “novemdecillion” electron counter…until I figured out I was counting the same electrons…OVER…and OVER and OVER again…:slight_smile:

Right. There has been no new electricity generated since 1937. We’re still recycling the same set of electrons.

YEP…but the POCO loves it…

I love when people say…they want to get off the GRID so they can be GREEN…I say…you want to SAVE green…you can’t beat the theory of recycling any more than with Electicity…from your xfmr to the panel…we have been using those same electrons …over and over again.

Now that is what I call recycle at it’s BEST

I have installed one such “off grid” system. Never again. Water turbine, solar, and wind. Some of the equipment was customer supplied, some I billed for. For the amount of money this guy spent, I’m am 110% certain he could have purchased utility power for the rest of his natural lifetime. Not to mention, he’s got a storage bank that has a certain lifetime, that will cost him almost 6K to replace when it won’t hold the charge he needs. No, thanks.

I tell them…if you want off grid get a generator…lol…and buy FOSSIL fuel to feel GREEN…:slight_smile:

I consulted on a Wind Turbin project being presented in WVA…not me fella I will stick to ON THE GRID work…:slight_smile:

Speaking of green, how do you resolve the fact that my (nurse) wife gets SPAM email from the Vegan Society?

LOL…passing on WHAT they dont eat…classic

Off the grid folks usually can’t get utility power. It is certainly the most expensive power you will ever use…

As for device life, I suspect that buried somewhere in the literature for high quality equipment they will have Mean Time Between Failures predictions (hence “spec”) but for the 40 cent junk it is up to how the guy in taiwan felt the day he put it together and what the quality of the scrap metal they were using was. (no spec).
The NEC, AHJ and U/L (or NRTLs in general) do not address the life of equipment, only that it was working when inspected and that it won’t cause a fire when it fails.