Opening Electrical Service Panels

Do you open electrical service panels (remove the normal panel cover if necessary) to check or verify the condition of the electrical wiring, etc?

If not why not?

Are home inspectors obliged to comply the Occupational Health and Safety ACT?

Just curious of what others do and consider as a normal safe inspection practice when dealing with the electrical service inspection.


I always open “dead front” regardless whether the panel is new or old. How otherwise can I see the condition of the wiring? And missing something like this will not be good at all.

Loose wire.JPG

Open all Panels . Just be careful and safe

Open up the dead front if readily accessible.

Me too but I do check to see if it is hot or not and wear proper gloves!

Gotta be safe.

Except when you can’t.

Agree I would never have seen this without opening the cover, I wear gloves…check for heat and listen for noise coming from within. If i see moisture and rust in the cover I use care and caution…if I proceed!

I open every panel I can. I do not destroy a property that is not my own.

That means there will be some you will not open. Report what you find.

In Quebec, it is expected if safe to do so. I do.

Below copied from the AIBQ SoP:

Art.38 The inspector shall open main service boxes & distribution panels when it is safe to do so. If he cannotopen these, he shall indicate the reasons in his inspection report.

How ironic…this was today. The cabinets were blocking the cover. I tried…but just couldn’t get it open without doing some damage to the cabinets or panel front.


Had the same issue the last 2 inspections. Documented and disclaimed. The client understood. But if it’s accessible, I open and inspect with proper protection.

If i run across that i ask it to to made accessible to be checked

And when you are the only one there, then what?

The trim was nailed tight.

The bottom was loose and removable.

I removed three sheet metal screws holding the cover on one side and was able to peek inside to confirm it did not have aluminum wiring.

Disclaimed the rest.

So then you checked it. If that can not be done i will return when it can be done with A extra charge to the seller, or Write it up to be checked by a electrician Btw i have removed trim with seller permission . And no i do not put it back on .

I open them all if possible, one time i left it open (off) as there was loads of water dripping inside and running down the interior of the box…i’d have not touched it if i knew the inside would be like that.

I left a notice and informed the listing REA, as to why re installing it was unsafe.

I am hoping Len does not mind me putting this up but I feel it is important.

Here’s one that’s already done the damage!

The interesting thing to note is that Federal Pacific panels should not be confused with Federal Pioneer panels.

The latter were manufactured in Canada and have never shown the problems seen by the same FPE panels in the U.S.

That said, as with all things here in the North, if someone thinks they can save a few bucks by going over the border and buy cheaper equipment there, there is always going to be a case that it happens, so all inspectors (especially those nearer the U.S./Canada Border should watch out for it.

The other thing to note is the FPE (Federal Pacific Equipment) Stab-lok breakers fit in Federal Pioneer Stab-lok AND Schneider Stab-lok panels. The breakers are also a subject of the major recall in the U.S. so try to ensure the breakers are also Canadian Manufactured, (More difficult as the label is sometimes on the side.)

In Canada, there were two Federal Pioneer 15-amp single-pole models NC015 and NC015CP made between August 1, 1996 and June 11, 1997 that have been recalled. You can see the Schneider electric recall notice here


Your pic is link to OntarioACHI…

Yes it is Marcel!

This should also be checked on even though there are still pot shots on the actual article.

So, you have to be registered to enlarge the pic…