Dead front removal questions:

I have read through some forum threads on this topic and am still unclear: internachi SOPs say we are not required to remove the cover of a dead panel, it seems that inspectors routinely do exactly that, to report on grounding, bonding, double lugging etc. Are we required to evaluate whether wires are correctly sized for their breakers? Even though I have quite a bit of experience with wiring, I cant reliably distinguish between 12g and 14g at just a glance. Sometimes my guess on wire gauge is wrong.

Does this written standard for Oregon require removal of a dead front, overriding the internachi SOP??

9812-008-0209Electrical(1) The Oregon certified home inspector shall observe: b) Service equipment, grounding equipment, main overcurrent device, and distribution panels

  1. The Oregon certified home inspector is not required to © Dismantle any electrical device or control other than to remove the covers of the main or auxiliary distribution panels;

Does internachi recommend removing a dead front or not? Does the wording of my state standard require it? Does removal of the dead front mean that an inspector accepts liability for any missed defects? If I remove a dead front am I required to test for 12g vs 14g wiring inside and match the correct breaker size? If I don’t remove a dead front am I liable for not seeing defects inside the panel?

If your state is a licensed state, you must follow the state’s SOP. Tell us what you think based on what you read :slight_smile: You may want to get a few ride alongs with experienced home inspectors. Before you go out there and start charging people… you need experience/practice. If you cannot tell 12 from 14 by looking at bare conductor then you do not have enough experience. The two are visually different in size to a naked eye. Yes, if you miss bunch of 14s on 20+ amp breakers you will be putting people life’s at risk and can be held liable for it.

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It sounds like it, if it is safe to do so.

Your state SOP will over-ride our InterNACHI’s SOP.

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The SOP says not REQUIRED, it does NOT say do NOT do it under any circumstances.

There is a difference.

Yes, you should take it off when safe.
But if it not safe, you are NOT required to take it off anyway.

A perfectly fine modern panel, you take it off.

Example 2:
If taking off-panel requires to you stand in 2 feet of standing water, while sparks are flying out of the panel box, you’re NOT required to surely electrocute yourself by standing in the water and trying to figure out why sparks are coming out of the panel by taking off the cover.


Hey David,

Fellow OR inspector here,

See the following state SOPs:

“ (2) The Oregon certified home inspector shall describe:
(a) Service amperage and voltage;
(b) Service entry conductor materials; and
© Service type as being overhead or underground;
(3) The Oregon certified home inspector shall report:
(a) Any observed 110 volt aluminum branch circuit wiring;”

In order to describe something you need to see it.

Removal of front cover is needed for a couple of those.

So to answer your question, unless it is unsafe, you need to remove the front cover panel in order to fulfill the states SOP for home inspectors.

Good luck man.

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thanks, that was my reading of the requirement, wanted to be sure. Like walking on the roof, it wouldn’t seem to be a complete inspection without removing the dead cover. I may pack in my toolkit a snip of each wire gauge until I get more practiced at instant identification.

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This is what your state requires, do it.

NACHI has no authority over what you do on the home inspection, but your state can fine the snot out of you and suspend your license and put you out of work…

Wire gauge sets

A member makes these sets (3d printer) see if he’ll make you some.

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I was not very delighted at the thought of holding up a snip of actual copper wire next to an ungrounded conductor inside the panel.

Good example just yesterday. I did an inspection on a home that fell out of escrow last month. The agent sent me a copy of the inspection done back then by a different firm (I typically don’t pay any attention to those. If I look at it, it is only after I do my inspection because I don’t want to have any prejudices or notions that might throw me off my rhythm). Anyway, after performing the inspection and writing the report I opened it up. The guy before me had NOT removed the dead front and he should have - serious issues and as you know, any issue with a panel is serious. He also missed a sloped floor along the back of the house that happens to be on a canyon - maybe a fairly large problem (and maybe not). Anyway, my charge for the inspection was $130 more than the previous guy and well worth it.

If you feel it’s unsafe to open the panel or remove the dead front - by all means don’t.

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I find there’s more stuff common regularly.
Scorching, paint, etc.

circuit breaker panel6


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