Electricity and Metal

Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

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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Comments 10 New Comment

Bryan Watkins
LRA Real Estate Group

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.

July 07, 2010 01:25 AM
Joshua Frederick
Home Inspector - Northwest Ohio
Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC

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 :)

July 07, 2010 05:31 AM
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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

July 07, 2010 07:14 AM
Sussie Sutton
Rep for buyers, sellers, and new construction.
UTR Texas Realtors

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...

July 07, 2010 11:53 AM
Dale Ganfield

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.

July 07, 2010 04:23 PM

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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Additional Information

Steven L. Smith, King of the House Home Inspection, provides information for real estate buyers, sellers and real estate industry professionals. Blog posts emphasize issues commonly found in Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County. Smith is Washington State Licensed Home Inspector #207, a state licensed structural pest inspector, ASHI certified inspector #252760 and one of the most experienced inspectors in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest. Steven L. Smith is lead instructor of home inspection at Bellingham Technical College and teaches classes for Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Steve was a two-term member of the state licensing board.