Electricity and Metal

Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. Home Inspector Lic #207

The proper screw(s) for securing the cover on an electric panel is not a screw with a pointy tip. That pointy tip, if anything gets out of alignment inside, can lead to the tip of the screw penetrating a live wire. And, depending on which wire that is, that could be followed by a big and exciting spark or a percussive sound. Over the years I have heard and seen them all, back when I used to work on radio transmitters.

The screw above, sharp tip, is a no no in an electric panel. Panel screws are made with blunt tips to greatly reduce the chances of unwanted fireworks, even this close to the Fourth of July.

Thanks for stopping by,

Steven L. Smith


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Steven L. Smith

If you enjoy nostalgia and music of yesteryear, click on Elvis' gold record to visit This Day In History. To explore The Stories Behind The Music blog posts click on the electric guitar. 








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Darren Revell
Keller Williams Realty Temecula Valley - Temecula, CA

always good information.  Thanks again..

Jul 06, 2010 05:02 PM #1
Dan Edward Phillips
Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA - Eureka, CA
Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA

Excellent post and information, thanks Steve, I will pass it on to my clients!

Jul 06, 2010 05:17 PM #2
Stanley Stepak
Howard Hanna - Avon Lake, OH - Avon Lake, OH
Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake,

Those little things can get you hurt.  Thanks for the post.  I have been notorious for that one at home.

Jul 06, 2010 05:25 PM #3
Randy Ostrander
Lake and Lodge Realty LLC - Big Rapids, MI
Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI

Good call Steve. Very good catch makes perfect sense to not use point near wiring.

Jul 06, 2010 05:26 PM #4
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Steve, with a little modification in design these screws could all be made to be on the "outside" of the box.  This is one of those things that has gotten by UL for years----not realy sure why.

Jul 06, 2010 05:40 PM #5
Bryan Watkins
LRA Real Estate Group - Mesa, AZ

Yup, that is a very good point. thanks for the reminder. I grab something that will HOLD real good, and sometimes it has been the wrong thing. I am glad to be alive with the DIY projects I have done.

Jul 06, 2010 06:25 PM #6
Joshua Frederick
Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC - Defiance, OH
Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio

Had one just a couple of months back.  When I got the panel off, you could see the indention in the 220v wire for the garage distribution panel.  Needless to say, that screw didn't get put back in by me :)

Jul 06, 2010 10:31 PM #7
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

An improper screw will also damage the dyed threads inside the box so no screw will work well...

Jul 07, 2010 12:14 AM #8
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

That sounds scary! I have an electrician friend who was blown off a tall bill board sign because he decided that day he was not going to be careful that day ... hasn't happened again since. Yes he is still alive!

Coming to you from Texas...

Jul 07, 2010 04:53 AM #9
Dale Ganfield
Leland, NC

Hi Steve, a good reminder.  I have seen the wrong screw in the panels, but fortunately never had one do damage.  Thanks for the post.

Jul 07, 2010 09:23 AM #10
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Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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