Screw Damaged Wire

Hopefully you also changed (or re-established) safety protocols to reduce the hazard to yourself.

Not me. No way. Putting my shoulder against the panel cover would put my my body and face right next to the panel. And trying to hold the panel with my shoulder that just doesn’t seem like a good practice at all. To each there own.


I would test a suspect cover first and I would take out all but two screws, leaving one on each side. Then I press the cover in with my left hand and remove the last two screws with my right. I use either a insulated screwdriver or an impact gun. In the rare case of a potential shock hazard E-rated shoes are a big help in avoiding a shock from a ground fault.

I would never use or advocate the method of running the back of your hand across the panel to test it.


I suppose I was arrogant-this was new construction and didn’t think it was suspect lol.

The devils handshake.

I admit, I do it all the time.


Nice name. :smile:

I know that this is part of the training and I’m not singling you out but I’m curious what can this possibly tell you? Unless you’re solidly grounded even if the cover were energized the hand method will tell you nothing. Let’s say that you have on rubber sole shoes and you run the back of your hand across the cover and nothing happens so everything is good? If the panel cover were energized this method would not tell you that it was. If you happen to be well grounded then maybe you can get a shock or worse. Seems to me like two good reasons to never use this method to test a panel cover.


I always run my “sniffer” across the dead front and all the screws. It might not be full proof, but it has detected some “hot” panel covers and screws.

I agree. When in doubt I would do the same thing. It the installation were highly suspect I would also test with a meter.

We all need to be singled out on safety, so no worries.

Without being defensive because I know there are better ways. It is an old habit. Before I grab hold of something, I want to touch it with the back of my hand so I can recoil if it shocks the sh*t of me. :smile:

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Somewhere deep in this forum, a person much more knowledgeable than I stated the sniffer may not detect the energized panel. Hopefully they will return to the conversation.

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I get it we all have some old school habits that may be questionable. I was changing a wall switch today to a WiFi version and it was too lazy to try and find the CB so I did it live. I was also too lazy to go and find my tester so I used two fingers and this was in my own house. Yup I cut corners just like everyone else. :shushing_face:


And it may not. But I would try it before a hand or tongue. :stuck_out_tongue:

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If you tested it first on a live circuit and it worked there’s a pretty good chance that it will detect a live panel cover.


Home Inspector: Quite possibly the most dangerous job in the world. Thanks to nimrods.

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This may be a stupid question, but assuming a box is grounded properly, would a tester detect current? Is the chance of shock still very high?

You do realize that the non-contact detectors are prone to false positives.


…a lot of false positives…

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That’s true but if used properly, with some exceptions in the past, they don’t NOT detect current when they should?

In other words, are “sniffers” prone to false negative readings? If so, I would prefer the false positive over the false negative. :wink:

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False negatives happen if you are not well grounded, have faulty equipment, cheap equipment or an incomplete circuit. This causes some people to state they should not be used as a safety device. I am not saying not use them, but I guess it would be best to understand their limitations.

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