Dead front question

Recently on an inspection, I inspected a distribution panel with the dead front painted to the wall. The paint was so thick you could not get a screw driver in the slot to remove. I used a razor knife to cut the paint from the edge and cleared out the slots so I could remove it. My fear is the home owner would attempt to get me to repaint the home. What is the normal procedure for this problem. This is a dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t situation. I feel my duty is to my client but I don’t need a law suit over paint damage.

This has been discussed on this board in the past, and I remember quite a few members said they would not open a panel that was painted shut. I am with you though. I always make an effort to open up the panel. I have chipped away paint, moved larger furnature, taken apart pantry shelves, etc. It is too important to skip on account of a little paint IMO.

This is a judgement call. It really depends on “your gut feeling.” Is it imperative that this cover be removed by me? Are there other mitigating factors telling me there will be problems in this panel that I should note? Will the damage be such that the home owner will surely be upset?

If, for whatever reason, you do not remove the cover, be sure and “recommend” that the panel be made accessible and inspected by a qualified electrician prior to the close of escrow.

I had just performed an inspection this week where the panel was located in a small closet in the basement . In front of the closet door was a couch, table and lamp which only allowed about six inches of open door space. Inside the closet the seller had stored rolls of fiberglass insulation and ceiling tiles.After snapping a few pics I explained to my client that a proper inspection of the panel could not be performed at this time as stated in my contract that i do not move furniture. the seller was already ticked off that I was in my 4th hour inspecting the 3 thousand square foot house. but i did offer to my client that if the area was cleared out for a small fee I would return to inspect the panel. The realtor was on site and wanted the deal to proceed and he moved all the obstruction with the sellers permission. Cost him a couple bucks to replace the lamp he broke while moving it

I ask about or look at the access to attic, furnace, and electric panel when first entering the home. If the seller is there, then he/she has time to leisurely clear any obstructions while I inspect the rest of the house.

Thanks guys, I’m new to NACHI and have only been inspecting homes for just over one year. I’ve been inspecting and reporting on a large hospital complex Jackson in south Florida for 29 years. I’m very impressed with your timely response. I look forward to further communication.

I inspected a home about 18 months ago where the outer edges of the panel were taped to the wall. The home was in a lower income area. I removed the tape knowing that it would probally pull a little paint off, but to me I wanted to look inside the panel for my clients. Well I got lucky, the tape did not pull off the paint. When I was done I restuck the tape on the wall. I ended up getting a call from the listing agent the next day stating that the home owner was upset because the tape had become unstuck in a corner. I ended up going back that afternoon to re-tape the thing. Now I have a roll of masking tape in the truck.

Damn…I thought it took me a long time to get my inspections and reports done! :stuck_out_tongue:

Just what I was thinking, Michael. Mr. Smith is going to need to speed up the inspections if he wants to make any $. :stuck_out_tongue:

I was in a house for 7 1/2 hours Monday. I didnt think I would ever find the end. Took me almost as long to do the report.

I have run into many subpanels in condos that have painted over panels…and some yes, I have screwed up and torn the paint. Even using a blade attempting to cut a line so the cover would come off easier…

First thing I do now, I look at the panel, if the circuits are not “labeled” as required per the national electric code, I state in my report that a licensed electrican needs to label the circuits and should further inspect the panel.
Why tear off the panel and the paint… If you are already recommending service and further evaluation…

Ofcourse, you can always state also that the panel was painted over and that removing the cover would cause cosmetic damage to the walls… and that at time of inspection you did not have the consent of the seller. (if they were not present).

Just my thoughts…

I remove every cover not matter what.

If I feel that removing the screws will also remove any paint, I simply ask the Listing agent for permission to score the outside of the cover.

What does N.E.C. say about the nipple that joins the meter box to the breaker panel? Clients Ex is electrical Contractor, wants rigid with lock washers, job contractor belives running a bonding wire through rigid PVC
ok. What does 2002 code say? Thanks

If you run service conductors through a metal raceway you also need bonding bushings.