Replacing breakers for lower power consumption

Phoenix

Member
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I've heard from several customers of mine that they have been offered this, and now seen a friend post on Facebook. They are offering to "service and clean your electrical panel" with the promise of "lowering your utility bills". They have even claimed that old breakers will somehow use more power than new ones. From everything I've been taught this is complete BS. Does anyone here have any scientific reason that these claims are anything more than just a way to scare customers into unnecessary work?
 

steve66

Senior Member
I'd say its a scam.

Yes, bad or dirty contacts on an older breaker could cause it to waste a very small amount of power.

That's the problem with these scams - sometimes they are hard to disprove because they are loosely based on an actual fact.

But its the quantity of savings that is probably a lie - but they probably never state exactly how much someone can expect to save.

I believe the savings would be very small. Just as a wild guess, I'd say it will probably never add up to $1 a year savings for a average homeowner.

Obviously, if the "cleaning" does any good at all (and that's iffy), its not going to last long enough to pay for the service work.
 

templdl

Senior Member
Location
Wisconsin
Interesting.
Simply exercising the breaker will reduce contact resistance which should be something that could be included in a maintenance schedule.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Those magic boxes with a capacitor in them likely do save you more then a cleaning of a breaker panel.

The only real value here (if they actually do a reasonable inspection and maybe re-torque connections) is reduced risk of connection failures and potential fires. Once a year is still too often though IMO and re-torquing that frequently may result in weakened conditions after a while.

I had the cover off a switchboard in a school just yesterday as part of investigating what may need to be done for a potential future project. Found one phase about to burn off of a 400 amp feeder breaker - who knows how long this has been deteriorating - but planning to get a replacement breaker and fixing it ASAP - it feeds the gymnasium - will probably fail when the place is packed full of people sometime.
 
I've heard from several customers of mine that they have been offered this, and now seen a friend post on Facebook. They are offering to "service and clean your electrical panel" with the promise of "lowering your utility bills". They have even claimed that old breakers will somehow use more power than new ones. From everything I've been taught this is complete BS. Does anyone here have any scientific reason that these claims are anything more than just a way to scare customers into unnecessary work?
Do you have a link for that? I Googled "service and clean your electrical panel" and came up with nothing like what you are describing.
 

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
I've heard from several customers of mine that they have been offered this, and now seen a friend post on Facebook. They are offering to "service and clean your electrical panel" with the promise of "lowering your utility bills".
Can you inquire of there customers, or your friend, asking for a link to the company(s). What they actually print and show can be quite illuminating.

I dealt with a similar situation a few years back by an outfit offering "connection cleaning" by a proprietary method. My client eventually figured out that it was, in fact, snake oil.
 
Can you inquire of there customers, or your friend, asking for a link to the company(s). What they actually print and show can be quite illuminating.

I dealt with a similar situation a few years back by an outfit offering "connection cleaning" by a proprietary method. My client eventually figured out that it was, in fact, snake oil.
Does the oil from snake glands remove oxidation or something? If it's so great and safe, why can't homeowners buy their own snake oil and do their own cleaning?
 
I just found out that you can buy snake oil made from snakes.

Originally snake oil came from China and was known as shéyóu. Here it was used as a remedy for inflammatory pain and particularly joint pain. It is still used for this purpose today. Elsewhere however it has been used for many other purposes – such as a cure for male pattern baldness in ancient Egypt when mixed with lion, hippopotamus, crocodile, tomcat oils and Nubian ibex.

http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15773/1/Health-Benefits-of-Snake-Oil.html

Not to be confused with lubricants for metal sewer snakes, also called snake oil.

 

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
Secret formula only available to certain organizations:happyyes:
Fixed that for ya'.:D
I actually liked "serpent organizations" better. . .

As for my client's arriving at their end understanding of the flim-flam nature of the connection cleaner's claims, . . . my client provided me with the URL for the cleaner's web presence and I shared it here for the community to consider. The subsequent thread, here, was instrumental in aiding my client.
 

jaylectricity

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
I had a customer that had a bunch of those capacitor boxes that you wire into the panel. He had a little setup that you could plug a motor load into and measure the amps, then plug it into a post-capacitor receptacle and see the amps go down.

He said, "So as you can see, it works!" Then he tried to sell me on the idea that we could sell this to others. And his exact wording was, "We just need to find the right kind of people to sell it to."

I was too polite to say, "You mean suckers?" I didn't end up following up with him after that and he never called me again.

In a way, if the right kind of people were rich guys that made their money screwing over workers that were cheap enough to believe that we would save them money, I suppose I wouldn't have had a problem with that. But I assumed he meant the dumb and the elderly.
 

templdl

Senior Member
Location
Wisconsin
I had a customer that had a bunch of those capacitor boxes that you wire into the panel. He had a little setup that you could plug a motor load into and measure the amps, then plug it into a post-capacitor receptacle and see the amps go down.

He said, "So as you can see, it works!" Then he tried to sell me on the idea that we could sell this to others. And his exact wording was, "We just need to find the right kind of people to sell it to."

I was too polite to say, "You mean suckers?" I didn't end up following up with him after that and he never called me again.

In a way, if the right kind of people were rich guys that made their money screwing over workers that were cheap enough to believe that we would save them money, I suppose I wouldn't have had a problem with that. But I assumed he meant the dumb and the elderly.
Seems to me it may be a play on power factor correction for inductive loads where current is out of phase with voltage. If this were a big smokin' concern for saving energy in a residential home there would be more attention paid to this as it being an issue.
In theory there may be a point but the only real money to be saved is to not buy this product by keeping the money in your pocket.
 

Phoenix

Member
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Do you have a link for that? I Googled "service and clean your electrical panel" and came up with nothing like what you are describing.

The facebook one you have to see if his profile is open enough to see it. As far as the others, I have never seen it advertised but when companies such as the local "Chas Roberts" type guys will tell their customers this, then I hear it 3rd person when they ask me for a second opinion.
 

Phoenix

Member
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Since the OP mentioned Facebook, I did a search there and found the following. Check out the post by Mr. Valery. It's the third item from the link below, at least it was at the time I looked.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/search/top/?q=service and clean your electrical panel

This is exactly who I am talking about. I hate being dishonest to customers, so I need to know what to say to him to get him to stop. I've also heard it verbally promised to people from the local scammer type of electrical outfits here.
 

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
This is exactly who I am talking about. I hate being dishonest to customers, so I need to know what to say to him to get him to stop. I've also heard it verbally promised to people from the local scammer type of electrical outfits here.
What you can offer is the certainty of the science of your trade.

Regrettably, the people, with the money to spend, that are attracted to this kind of pseudo-science tend not to trust science and are being swayed by assurances and promises.

I mentioned an earlier thread. Turns out it was over at Electrical Contractor.net. It's about 68 posts long and, what's really great is: a shill for the scam registered at ECN and joined in the discussion as Electro2. We get into some good depths. You can link to the thread by clicking HERE.

You may find some ideas that will help you with your customers. Electro2's web site has disappeared in digital smoke. . .
 
Top