jmmodb

Battery charging in closed garage

15 posts in this topic

HI all, new to club.  I have a question.  Have any of you ever experienced outlets and wires turning black in your garage when after charging opened lead batteries in your closed garage? Is this common?

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No, that does not sound common at all.  Sounds as if the wires and outlet overheated, I'd be checking wire sizes, condition of wiring and outlets, breaker sizes, and so forth....something should have shut off the power if things were heating up.

 

If you're saying ALL the outlets turned black, thinking it's acid or lead in the air, that's entirely another question.  I could possibly see how battery fumes might discolor a metal outlet plate, but not insulated wires....

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2 hours ago, trimacar said:

No, that does not sound common at all.  Sounds as if the wires and outlet overheated, I'd be checking wire sizes, condition of wiring and outlets, breaker sizes, and so forth....something should have shut off the power if things were heating up.

 

If you're saying ALL the outlets turned black, thinking it's acid or lead in the air, that's entirely another question.  I could possibly see how battery fumes might discolor a metal outlet plate, but not insulated wires....

David, thanks for reply.  I probably should have been a little more detailed in my original post.  As far as the blackness of the wires, it's just the exposed ends of wires that connect to terminal.  Also, the covers are not black, literally just the exposed copper stripped at the end to connect to outlet.  I am attaching a picture.

 

The main reason I am asking this question is because we are under contract to buy a new home and the original inspector noticed that the garage outlets had "black ends" on the wires, and minor corrosion on the screw terminals.  These are classic signs of the infamous chinese drywall (google it for more info).  We called in a chinese drywall expert and he said other possible causes would be if a lot of battery charging occurred in the garage.  The past owner of the house said that they did leave their antique cars in the garage with garage doors closed and left batteries on charge quite often.  The chinese drywall expert said that this is also a possible cause of the discoloration and corrosion. 

 

I am taking samples of the drywall and sending to lab, but just checking all the bases before we continue with purchase process.

 

 

IMG_0138 S.jpg

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I have bare copper wire sitting around in my garage, and while it has a  patina, it is not as dark and corroded as the picture you have, I do charge batteries in the garage.

 

Are the affected receptacles only in the garage? i.e. receptacles in the rest of the house have clean copper wire showing on the terminals? And then the next question would be if the garage was sheetrocked at a different time than the house.

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Copper wires.  Semi-normal corrosion, could be due to excessive moisture in the walls or building.  I'd call it "green" copper corrosion and not black, but that's my opinion.

 

Also my opinion, but to say it was caused by charging lead acid batteries in the area would be like saying the trees are dying in the yard of the neighbor of my friend Rob, because he smokes cigars....

 

 

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2 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Does the clothes dryer exhaust into the garage?  

 

  Ben

No, it doesn't. 

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Posted (edited)

On 4/12/2017 at 4:52 PM, Frank DuVal said:

I have bare copper wire sitting around in my garage, and while it has a  patina, it is not as dark and corroded as the picture you have, I do charge batteries in the garage.

 

Are the affected receptacles only in the garage? i.e. receptacles in the rest of the house have clean copper wire showing on the terminals? And then the next question would be if the garage was sheetrocked at a different time than the house.

Yes, the affected outlets are only in the garage and garage closets. 

 

As far as being sheetrocked at the same time, the previous owner (who is also the first owner, and also builder/contractor) says the garage walls were finished at the same time as the house.  The one thing that is odd is that the house was built in 2005, during the height of the chinese drywall importing.  For some reason the garage has OSB, not plywood, which it was code, then and now to not have plywood (flammable) material on the walls of the garage. 

 

My wife and I are suspecting the builder ordered a large load of drywall for the house (which was inspected and not made in China - so we are good there) and decided, for some reason, to wall the garage at a later time.  Maybe he ordered a small load of rock from Home Depot, etc.. and this particular small batch was tainted.  At some point he realized it was chinese drywall, removed it and played it safe by installing OSB, since at that time, no one trusted drywall.  However, he may have failed to change outlets.  That is all an assumption. 

 

Anyway, there are 2 closets in the garage and the outlet corrosion is pretty bad.  There is sheetrock in the closets, not OSB.  I was able to get permission to remove a small piece of drywall.  I am sending to lab tomorrow for testing. 

 

Worse case, it was just the garage with the drywall and the entire house was not exposed to the sulphur being that the garage is not included in the HVAC system. 

 

Whew...always an adventure buying a house...! 

 

 

Edited by jmmodb
typo's and misspelling (see edit history)

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I can't tell from the picture.  By any chance is that aluminum wire.  Up north here it was used for a few years and works fine as long as the switches etc are aluminum.  Aluminum and copper don't like one another.

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Where  are you located?  If you are in a northern area, could be parking cars in the garage in the winter time that has a lot of salt on them and also being warmer in the garage.

 

I also agree with trimacar "Also my opinion, but to say it was caused by charging lead acid batteries in the area would be like saying the trees are dying in the yard of the neighbor of my friend Rob, because he smokes cigars.... "

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Common sense says typical "battery tender" battery fumes would not likely be able to migrate behind the cover plates.  It looks like something in the cavity itself to get that much corrosion; either dampness or what you said about Sulphur content

 

Think about how much bubbling would have to take place in a car battery, to make enough acid vapors to ever get high enough concentration in the room, to get past the cover plates. 

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7 hours ago, Tinindian said:

I can't tell from the picture.  By any chance is that aluminum wire.  Up north here it was used for a few years and works fine as long as the switches etc are aluminum.  Aluminum and copper don't like one another.

No sir.  It's all copper.  House was built in 2005, so shouldn't be a galvanic issue. 

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Some people might think that it is excessive to send out a drywall sample to a lab, but it should answer the question beyond guessing on a car website.

 

Others may not understand some of the home building issues over the last few decades, as they have never been affected themselves;

 

I had a new oversized shop built in 1989 and that was when defective asphalt roof shingles were unknowing marketed by major manufacturers.  Sure, there eventually was a legislative "settlement" to help homeowners, but the lawyers made out better.  I was "awarded" the cost of new shingles, but NOT the labor!

 

My 80 year old friend was hit by the recent "defective foundation concrete" fiasco here in eastern Connecticut.  Many homes have crumbling foundations.  His neighbor had his foundation replaced some years before the mystery unfolded, at a cost of $140,000 which was not covered by homeowners insurance.  

 

Then as the situation was fully investigated as many more foundation problems surfaced, my friend was relocating to a new senior home development.  His present home was placed on the market at $450K, and a buyer inspection revealed that his foundation showed early signs of the bad concrete.

 

My friend is extremely wealthy, and since his newest home had been built and he had just moved in, he is the type of guy who wants solid legal closure on any "problem".   He sold the home and fantastic oversized car shop for $140k cash to a home builder who bought it to restore, and resell. Now some may think he was overreacting, but since the "Lender Banks" home mortgage inspections now are looking at concrete issues in this State, a buyer could never get a mortgage on that home.....so he went with the best "cash" offer to "be done with it".

 

So, a sample test by a competent lab can keep a person from making a very bad and very expensive purchase.

 

.

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F&J...you are spot on.  The house we are looking at purchasing (under contract) is a 1.28M home.  I do not want to buy a home that can ever EVER be labeled, or even considered to be labeled and tainted as a Chinese Drywall home.  I am dotting every "i", crossing every "t", and even putting the squigly thing on the bottom of the "q"! lol 

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I would look at the copper wire itself and certainly the plumbing in that house too. My father also had a new house built about the same time and about 7 years later the copper pipes began leaking. They turned black & splotchy, similar to your wires, and develop tiny pin holes. There was a problem with Chinese copper piping that was too thin walled and had impurities that caused the "copper" pipes to actually rust out.

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