Sharp-Tipped Screws Are A Hazard To A Home Inspector!- Thank God I'm still alive! I just finished conducting a Poway home inspection that could have finished me! I look into the face of danger every day in the form of vicious dogs, high rooftops, 150-degree attics and so on, but at this particular home inspection I was almost done in by a sharp-tipped screw. Let me explain why sharp-tipped screws are a hazard to a home inspector:
When you open a typical electrical panel, you are looking at the dead-front cover. The dead-front cover holds the circuit breaker identification labeling and protects people from the wiring, bus bars, and other shock hazards behind it. A panel manufacturer always provides blunt-tipped screws to secure the dead-front cover. To inspect the internal components, a home inspector must remove the dead-front cover.
It is quite common for a dead-front cover screw to be dropped on the ground and lost when work is performed in a panel board. The homeowner or handyman may unknowingly replace the lost blunt-tipped screw with a sharp-tipped screw. When this is done, it puts everyone who works on the panel in the future in great danger. Such was the case with the electrical panel at this Poway home inspection.
After inspecting the panel, I attempted to re-insert one of these sharp-tipped screws in the dead-front cover and ZZZAAAPPP!!! Sparks flew everywhere! The sharp-tipped screw had penetrated one of the wires inside the panel box! The electrical current melted the end of the screw off! I am very grateful for the insulated handle on my screwdriver!
Now you know why sharp-tipped screws are a hazard to a home inspector! From now on, you will find an assortment of blunt-tipped screws in my inspection bag! A day above ground always beats one under! Steve Stenros- First Choice Inspections serves San Diego, Orange, and Riverside Counties in southern California. Steve is a CREIA MCI home inspector and can be reached for appointment at 888-335-3040. Clients receive a FREE lifetime appliance RecallChek with every standard home inspection.