Wow....a RASH of poor electrical situations...

And yet another electrical problem…wow…I am getting them left and right! Pulling the cover is IMPERATIVE to inspecting the electrical, IMHO.

Who doesn’t remove the dead front? I’ve never read anyone arguing against it or saying they didn’t. That would be nuts…unless it would be in an unsafe area or condition in which the entire electrical system would be written up as defective.

Is there anyone advocating that we NOT remove the dead front?

Damn Russ. Whats going on down there?

Look at previous threads. They told me it was against the SOP and would never open a panel. I might look for them, but they were telling me I was nuts for “going above and beyond the SOP”.

Against the SOP? That’s nuts.

Manufactured home with a separate garage building - 3 subpanels, FPE sub, multiple double taps on breakers and lugs, but this was the winner. This is where they tapped the main service to feed the garage. This is under the house.

Just someone who forgot to tighten the breaker properly. Probably had his boss screaming at him to hurry up. :roll:

If I were paying for an inspection I would insist that the cover be removed.

Robert and others I do agree. I remember about a couple to a few months back that numerous inspectors DID NOT REMOVE the panel, they say its the responsibility of an electrician. These are the people who are going to ruin the industry.

Read the sample reports that people publish. They want ZERO responsibility and in their hast to pawn off each sub system to the “licensed tradesman for evaluation of the entire system and to obtain a cost to cure before escrow” they will no longer have a business. People will soon realize they are nothing more than a waste of money. There is a guy in here who really does not state SPECIFIC reasons to call licensed tradesmen, just I guess because. The main panel is older, call a licensed tradesman for further evaluation and exact cost to cure and its the same with the roof, the HVAC, and so on…

I personally love the people who do this, more money for the fat, ugly guy (me)…

II. The inspector is not required to:
A. insert any tool, probe or device into the main panelboard, sub-panels, distribution panelboards, or electrical fixtures.
B. operate electrical systems that are shut down.
C. remove panelboard cabinet covers or dead front covers,*** if they are not readily accessible***

The way I read this, the SOP requires** all** accessible covers to be removed. The only exception that the SOP allows is for those cases where they are not readily accessible.

Anyone who thinks that they are in compliance with the SOP and does not regularly remove the dead front is grossly mistaken.

I can look for the threads in the past. But I am positive they argues that they did not remove the panels because it was a safety issue and they were not “licensed” to do so…

Post the link. If these guys are contracting to inspect by the SOP and are routinely omitting this step, they can have “fraud” added to any lawsuit filed against them resulting from an electrical issue that should have been discovered.

This is the primary area where home inspectors will routinely find defects that can kill someone…right along with defective fossil fuel combustion devices and venting.

I agree with the removal. If you go outside your SOP you open yourself up to liability and when that happens you also open yourself to litigation. The attorney for the other side will have the SOP you said you follow booked into evidence for sure. Maybe some people are just reading them wrong. I have posted that if it’s painted I won’t remove it. In my states SOP that is not readily accessible and damage to paint is not allowed.

Is removing screws readily accessible? I agree Robert, why take the extra two minutes to possibly save life. Keep up the good work and remember disclaim, disclaim, disclaim this way we don’t ever really have to inspect anything. If all else fails pull out the “I felt is was unsafe” card…

That is or was true for Ontario Power in Canada.

Maybe one of the Canadian fellas can comment.

Removing screws is not the issue. The accessibility of the panel is related to where it is located. The SOP requires that it be removed when it is accessible.

Having said that…when an inspector lacks the skill and confidence to safely perform this very essential task…he should explain that to his client, adjust his fee accordingly, and recommend that it be inspected by someone who does have that skill. No home inspector should perform a task that he feels is personally unsafe to himself…and, likewise, no homebuyer should accept an inspection report as being complete when an accessible panel has not been opened and inspected.

Thats what I am saying. Do the job right or not at all…

EDUCATE yourself!

I remove covers from main, subs, etc. and a thorough inspection can not be performed without doing so. However, I don’t see in the SOP where it says; The inspector shall remove… We don’t have anything in our sop that states anything about conditions like, burned wiring, corrosion at breakers, double taps, wiring size at the breaker, etc. It is intimated via wording such as; breakers and fuses, and aluminum wiring, but…

2.7. Electrical
I. The inspector shall inspect:
[INDENT]A. the service drop/lateral;
B. the meter socket enclosures;
C. the means for disconnecting the service main;
D. and describe the service disconnect amperage rating, if labeled;
E. panelboards and overcurrent devices (breakers and fuses);
F. and report on any unused circuit breaker panel openings that are not filled;
G. the service grounding and bonding;
H. a representative number of switches, lighting fixtures, and receptacles, including receptacles observed and deemed to be AFCI-protected during the inspection using the AFCI test button, where possible;
I. and test all Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) receptacles and GFCI circuit breakers observed and deemed to be GFCIs during the inspection using a GFCI tester, where possible;
J. and report the presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring, if readily visible;
K. and report on any tested receptacles in which power was not present, polarity is incorrect, is not secured to the wall, the cover is not in place, the ground fault circuit interrupter devices are not properly installed or do not operate properly, evidence of arcing or excessive heat is present, or where the receptacle is not grounded or is not secured to the wall;
L. the service entrance conductors and the condition of the conductor insulation;
M. and report the absence of smoke detectors; and
N. service entrance cables, and report as in need of repair deficiencies in the integrity of the insulation, drip loop, or separation of conductors at weatherheads and clearances from grade or rooftops.


The ASHI and NACHI SOPs do not specifically state that the interior of the home must be inspected from the indoors rather than through a window, either…but I see your point.

If there are actually members who are charging people for home inspections and who are not performing an inspection of the inside of the electrical service panel … and doing so under the belief that they are in compliance with the standard of practice by omitting this critical step…we do need to make that more clear in the SOP, IMO. I agree with you.

I’ve been stating for years that all HI industry sop’s need to be more clear about what is to be inspected. We can be perceived to be on shaky ground when we remove a panelboard cover, but not an air handler cover or heat pump cover, or perhaps an electric water heater access panel. The client looks at this as “it’s just screws”. I can’t count the number if times over the years that I’ve found burned wiring in air handlers or AC units, or two out of three strip heaters not working, etc.

I agree with Russell, do it right or don’t do it, but I also think that our SOP’s are opaque instead of clear in some instances, and incongruent in others which makes doing it right a matter of interpretation.

JMO. Hammer away.

I think that there is purpose to be found in vagueness…but when it provides for confusion such as this, it certanly needs to be looked at.

Again, a couple of guys posting something on the message board as referenced in this thread is hardly a reason to revise a standard. In my eighth year as a member…this is the first time I have ever heard of someone interpreting the SOP in this manner.

Like I said, a lazy dude can call entering the home an “invasive” inspection since a closed door rendered it “not accessible”. No SOP is going to fix stupid, no matter how you change it.