"Breakers and panels need to be cleaned and oiled regularly"
Yup, that's what the rental company maintenance guy told the tenant who was complaining of power surges.
Our tenant, knowing better, left the fool at the panel ... RACED to the management firm ... and said "get a REAL sparky out there!"
We found virtually every screw, including those in the meter pan, to be less than finger tight. One meter clip had got hot enough to burn the plastic base, and the spring clip lost all temper.
This is not the first time I've encountered this nonsense. At a prior job, the maintenance guy had taken a Dremel to the HOT busses to 'clean' them. In the process, he ruined at least three contacts. Oops. Customer - a 24/7 operation - got to shut down while the panel was replaced.
That's classic. It made me think of changing the oil on a car: Remember to replace the breaker filters, too. The guy wanted to look competent and if someone didn't know much about electrical work, that might sound like an esoteric piece of information known only to those really experienced few.
I can say from experience it's mighty hard to know you're in over your head and be forced to look a customer in the face and say "I don't know." We've all run into folks who would sooner make up an answer than admit ignorance:
I work with a licensed journeyman who jumped into a conversation between myself and an engineer to "educate" me on how an isolated ground needed to be tied to its own seperate ground rod because the current was returning to earth (one of my favorite myths).
But! In all fairness to the guy who cleaned the bus bars, it seems like I've heard of sparkys gently sanding oxidized/painted bars to improve connection. As long as you weren't grinding off copper...? So, maybe he heard the same thing.
In keeping with the oil theme, from a horse ranch where I was.
The old horse trader (cheaper than Jack Benny, and the Code Enforcement Officer's best customer) that owned the place had a loadcenter with all of the knockouts removed, outside on a pole, hanging from the straps on the service riser. Years of weather, "horse pen dust" (manure) and acidic fragrance had done a number on it. As he walked by at twilight, he saw some arcing from one of the breaker bus stabs.
He picked up a can of his favorite remedy, WD40, and sprayed it into the panel, hoping to improve the contact.
It improved the contact alright, well enough that the whole panel erupted into a fireball that lasted long enough for him to run for a hose bibb 50' away and turn on the hose. He ran the hose on the panel long enough that it tripped the 100Amp Main breaker.
The fool, by no action of his own, miraculously was not hurt, other than some curly-qs on his hair and eyebrows.
The panel didn't fare so well. It was the blackest thing I've ever seen.
My favorite are people who think that a UPS means they don't need a generator.
What part of "uninterruptible" don't you understand?
my favorite was a local company claiming that "the national electric code requires your circuit breaker panel to be serviced by an electrician every five years" then quoted a section of the nec that had absolutely nothing to do with circuit breaker panels.