Panel Cover Screws

I inspected a new home today and the panel cover was secured with “self tapping” screws, the kind you would use to drill through metal. These screws are not pointed like wood screws; however they are not blunt end screws either. They could definitely damage the wire insulation if they came in contact.

I can not find under the electrical section of the IRC where it says blunt end screw are required. Can anyone provide me with that info? Thank you in advance.

You really do not need a code section to call this out.


I agree with you that this is a no brainer, however is there anything in the code. I just want a reference for the builder.

It would be more of a listing issue I would think. :smiley:

Nec 110.3(b)

Thank you Marc


If the builder has the nerve to ask you about the specific code that prohibits using pointed sheet metal screws in an electrical box, tell them it’s under the code of common sense and tell them to look it up.

You’ve got that right! :mrgreen:

Nearly everything that you’d think is “common sense” is part of a code text someplace. I just wish people would just think a bit, first.

Cutler-Hamer panel cover screws do look a lot like self-tappers, so I might ask if that’s what we’re dealing with?

I might take a photo of “factory” screws for most of the major brands, if anyone thinks that would be helpful? It would take some effort, so somebody let me know if that’s somethig that would be interesting to have documented.

This thread has brought up a question I have wondered about for a long time.
How many states will allow a Home Inspector to quote a code section? I know that in NC this is not allowed.

I think Kentucky prohibits it also.

Also be aware there are two different thread pitches for these “fat head” screws. If you mix them up the panel threads will be trashed and it won’t hold either of them after that. One type is the single spiral fine thead, the other is a double helix “fast” thread that goes in twice as fast.
If you can’t run it in with your fingers … stop. There is a chance you have the wrong screw. Hacks who are not coming back just run them down. It works a couple times then they are totally stripped.

I think it’s generally prohibited, but lots of these guys just want to know for their own personal information. People like to “expand their horizons” with a little personal reading. I seriously doubt that any actual code sections are getting cited in any written customer reports. It seems to me that the information exchanged on this site has little or nothing to do with the content of the resultant report, and more to do with the general education of the inspector who was asking. To that end, I’m happy to respond with as much detail and accuracy as I know how to.

I’m sure many agree with me, when I say THANK YOU for all the information you provide to us !!!

(And yes, your idea of pictures is a great one. Another tool !!! )

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Thanks for the explanation.
I agree that knowing the article and section helps with any type of work that is being done as it also helps with the overall knowledge

Again thanks for the explanation.

Mike, not that I do it, but please let me know where NC prohibits referece to codes. Thanks.

Rule 1105 (a)(5)
Also look at sub paragraph © of that rule and let me know what you think about opening a panel

For all others, this is NC stuff and you may want to skip it.

It says “Home inspectors **are not required **to report on…” It does not say that NC “does not allow” you to quote a code.

Regarding sub-paragraph c, it says: “Home inspectors shall not: (1) Offer or perform any act or service contrary to law; or (2) Offer or perform engineering, architectural, plumbing, electrical or any other job function requiring an occupational license in the jurisdiction where the inspection is taking place, unless the home inspector holds a valid occupational license, in which case the home inspector shall inform the client that the home inspector is so licensed, and therefore qualified to go beyond this section and perform additional inspections beyond those within the scope of the Standards of Practice.”

I do not see anything unusual about that and don’t see how it’s applicable to opening an electric panel during an inspection.

First let me say that this is a North Carolina thing and will not apply everywhere so instead of posting future here I will do this through PM.

Second let me say that I am not familiar with the rules governing the Home Inspectors in NC other than what I have read on the web site.

I have a class tonight that I have to start preparing for and a meeting tomorrow that will take about all day so it will be late tomorrow before I send the first PM to Joe.

Any help that you can be Mr. Funderburk, helping me to better understand the rules of Home Inspections in NC will be greatly appreciated.

What ever we come up with one of us will post here for all to see.