Electricity and Metal

By
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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Check out "This Day In History" -- music and vintage television from the 1950's through the 1980's.  I enjoy writing these articles because they take me back to my days in radio broadcasting. Click on Elvis' gold record, below, to revisit those golden hits of yesteryear.

           

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Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Washington Whatcom County Bellingham
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Comments 10 New Comment

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Rainmaker
188,636
Darren Revell
Keller Williams Realty - SD Metro

always good information.  Thanks again..

July 07, 2010 12:02 AM
Rainmaker
497,327
Dan Edward Phillips
Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA
Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA

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

July 07, 2010 12:17 AM
Rainmaker
432,268
Stanley Stepak
Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake,
Howard Hanna Gold- Avon Lake, OH

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

July 07, 2010 12:25 AM
Rainer
405,885
Randy Ostrander
Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI
Lake and Lodge Realty LLC

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

July 07, 2010 12:26 AM
Ambassador
1,067,602
Charles Buell
Seattle Home Inspector
Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

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.

July 07, 2010 12:40 AM
Rainer
131,955
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
Rainmaker
204,335
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
Rainmaker
1,217,094
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
Rainmaker
604,600
Sussie Sutton
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.
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
Rainer
39,955
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
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Rainmaker
1,177,601

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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