Mismatched dead front

I recently inspected a residence that had an ITE distribution panel with a new Siemens dead front. I’m assuming a Siemens dead front was used because the electrician couldn’t find an ITE dead front, and someone didn’t want to replace the entire panel. The problem was that the Siemens dead front was larger than the box, and only two screws (of six) lined up properly to secure the dead front. The top two and bottom two did not line up, and the electrician merely screwed them in to the drywall using wood screws. Needless to say, these four screws were holding nothing when I removed the dead front. The spacing and size of the breaker slots wasn’t perfect either, but it was good enough to allow access to all the breakers.

I tagged the panel, citing that the dead front needed to be fastened securely around its entire perimeter. My question is: is there some code that stipulates that the dead front must match the rest of the panel, i.e., Siemens with Siemens, Square D with Square D, etc.? Also, how about specific code addressing the ill-fitting dead front.?

The buyer asked me what I thought could be done to fix things. I told her I thought an electrician could mark the dead front where the screw holes are supposed to be, remove it, drill new holes in the dead front at those locations, and re-attach it to the box with proper screws in the four new holes and the two old ones. Anybody think that’s a good idea? I realize the ideal thing is to replace the entire panel, but the panel was perfect except for the mismatched dead front.

Thanks for any responses!

I usually find that wnen a panel cover does not match the panel, that the box was an old fuse panel that was converted to a breaker box - not allowed.

All boxes must be UL listed. By using different cover panels, you are no longer UL listed, and the warranty on the box is voided.

I think it is important to note that there are several UL listed kits to do just this. Here is one manufacturer’s measuring and ordering instructions: http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/CHRetrofitGuide.pdf

I have used these kits on old fuse panels, FPE panels, and Zinsco panels. Mostly when the panel is flush mounted, and the existing can has the branch circuits in pipe.


That is very interesting. It seems every day there is something new to learn.
My question now is - Are the retrofit panels marked so we can list them as such in our report, or do we need a sparky to verify them?

There is labeling inside the panel cover to indicate that they are a retro-fit kit. I’m just not famaliar enough with the rules of your trade to speak about whether you’d need the panel looked at by another tradesman or not.

I would imagine that a permit would be required for a retrofit (like anyone would really get one), so, until I find out for sure, I will continue to defer for certification.