Special offer

Cutting corners - Panel opening.

Home Inspector with Aspect Inspection

hole cover

It's a cover and yes... it's a cover for electrical box, but it's not a cover for this electrical box.

It looks like a frugal and creative solution.

It is the cover for common wall/ceiling connection boxes and it does prevent errant fingers or tools from being poked in where they should'nt be.
However, considering that the parts actually made to cover those openings are very inexpensive (A pack of ten is less than $2.) 

Think about it.......Is it really a good idea to sink a few screws into a hot electrical panel?

And do you think this was done by a liscenced professional electrician? 

Where else have corners been cut?


N.B. Notice the hand labeled numbering system imposed on the breakers.

Manufactureres label the odd numbers on one side and even on the other.

You can even see the numbers stamped in the face of the panel (on the right).

But they are upside down to us!.

Without even opening the panel cover I know I'm going to find "issues", if not outright "errors", and that's exactly what I found.

Posted by

bolg signature 

Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Gotta love it Robert :) Love the numbering system too---and the white breakers  make labeling a breeze

Jul 26, 2013 12:05 AM
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Very clever...lol, those little plastic inserts snap right in. He took 5 times as much time doing it wrong! Must be good old Uncle Bob!

Jul 26, 2013 01:20 AM
Edward & Celia Maddox
The Celtic Connection Realty - Queen Creek, AZ

Looks like they went to a lot of effort not to spend the $2.

Jul 26, 2013 02:21 AM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Looks like a quick fix by the owner or previous owner. Pretty scary messing with electricity.

Jul 26, 2013 03:00 AM
Corinne Hale
City of Commerce, CA

Wow that's hilarious when you're not selling the property or looking to buy it. I see stuff like this in the older homes when they don't have the cash to repair.

Jul 26, 2013 03:20 AM
Harry F. D'Elia III
WEDO Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

It is best to have a licensed electrician to do it the right way.

Jul 26, 2013 03:46 AM
Fernando Herboso - Associate Broker MD, & VA
Maxus Realty Group of Samson Properties - Clarksburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

I guess plastic inserts were not readily available. .

Jul 26, 2013 03:55 AM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!

it does not bode well... I would surely check to see if there's any current flowing through that "patch" before I touched it with my hand.

Jul 26, 2013 03:55 AM
Jay & Michelle Lieberman
Keller Williams World Class - Agoura Hills, CA
Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos

Funny that you wrote this when you did.  My home lights were flickering like crazy and randomly for the last few months.  I finally called out an electrician who came to me after a half hour of tearing the panel apart and showed me a similar cover that was screwed over the back side of about 4 breakers which were tripping regularly it seems.  The previous owner seemed to have a problem with these breakers actually breaking and working, so much so that he decided to lock them into a non-breaking position.  Scarely the hell out of me in that it has been that way the entire 4 years I have been in the house.  All is good now, but your post is an eery reminder.

Jul 26, 2013 06:52 AM
Ralph Gorgoglione
Metro Life Homes - Palm Springs, CA
California and Hawaii Real Estate (310) 497-9407

Even an item as seemingly trivial as an electical box cover can speak volumes and leave impressions with potential buyers-- in this case, the impression left is a damaging one.

Jul 26, 2013 08:37 AM
Mitch Muller - Charlotte NC Real Estate
ProStead Realty Charlotte, NC CRS SRES mitch@prostead.com - Charlotte, NC
Certified Residential Specialist

Robert, I cracked up as soon as I saw the photo! I can't enough of these inspector posts!!

Jul 26, 2013 09:14 AM
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


I sure hope they didn't use any screw longer than 1/2 inch...but I suspect they did. The screwy things that some sellers do.


Jul 26, 2013 11:02 AM
Brian Ripp
Legacy real estate - Fremont, CA
Brian Ripp

wow, great info..   Thanks.

Jul 26, 2013 11:20 AM
Chuck Mixon
The Keyes Company - Cutler Bay, FL
Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR

The stamped number even look upside down, hope the power is still flowing in and not draining out. Great Post .

Jul 26, 2013 11:30 AM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

"Where else have corners been cut" says it all. Sellers don't realize the message they convey when they do stuff like this. What about the stuff you can't see where corners have been cut? is what the buyer is thinking.

Jul 26, 2013 02:11 PM
Kevin Henry
Henry Realty - Fort Wayne, IN

It looks like a rookie punched out too many spaces then ended up covering the panel. You would think his boos or the inspector would have flagged this.

Jul 26, 2013 06:32 PM
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Robert, So you saying sticking a pointed screw into a live electrical panel is a bad thing, shocking ;) Like someone else pointed out it always amazes me someone would take the time to do it wrong when the right way is so much easier. 

Jul 28, 2013 07:51 AM
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

The cost doesn't matter, what is important, it's a good solution.

Make it a great weekend!

Aug 02, 2013 11:41 AM
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Robert,

Really. There are a lot of ways to close up a panels front.

I guess this one worked for the installer.


Have a great day in Canada.

Best, Clint McKie

Aug 15, 2013 11:34 AM