Wrong and missing electric panel screws

This is my first post. If you see an electric panel that has missing screws and also the wrong type screws, can you document this in your report and not open the dead front because you cant be sure you will be able to put it back properly.

Thank you

Welcome Walid. Good luck to you.

Lot of variables (and hazards) here.
How do you determine they are the wrong screws (I assume you mean they are pointed) without removing them?

I admit I do remove covers, but check closely if they can be put back without coming close to the wiring. Any type.
I take a pic of the pointed screws & call it out, missing ones also.
I do carry some flat-heads with me also.

Yes it could be in contact with a wire, did you check the screws and the box with an electric sniffer. Should always do that regardless of what the outside looks like on a panel. Safety first. If you dont get a reading , then open it wearing rubber gloves and safety glasses as you should do in all boxes. Never know whats behind any box cover. If screws are in fact pointed, then foto them and include in report. If not a hazard to screw them back in then use them to close cover and tell them to change them - if a hazard of hitting a wire then replace them ‘for your safety’ with correct type that you should have in your bag and report same and reason why you changed them - for your own safety . Buy a box of screws for $3. Best and most widely used purchase in your career.

Thanks. That was a big help. I new the screws were pointed by taken the dead front off.

Sharp-pointed metal screws hold panel cover in place. These are a potential hazard as they may puncture wire insulation and electrify panel box, becoming a shock or electrocution hazard. These screws should be replaced with approved, flat-tipped screws.

Panel Screws.jpg

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Thanks again to all of you. This forum is actually pretty good. very helpful.

And tell no one.

I actually carry a small grinder I purchased at Harbour Freight for like $10 and plug it in and grind the tips down and put the screws back in. Super easy, no real cost, everyone is happy…

That’s the idea. :slight_smile:

I can pretty much tell which screws are proper blunt tip and which are probably pointed before removing the cover. I do go ahead and remove the cover but start with the improper screws making sure I’m wearing gloves and using an insulated electricians screwdriver.

I do not put the pointed screws back in place for obvious reasons.:shock:

I’m not sure what state you are in but most Home Inspector Standards of Practice allow for you to not remove the cover in specific situations where safety hazards are present, the situation needs to be documented and detalied listing why it was unsafe and the fact the you did not remove the cover which is a vital part of determining the condition of the interior connections, conductors, and components. The use of “pointed” or unapproved screws at the deadfront cover is a violation of the NEC as electrical equipment is required to be used/installed in accordance with their UL Listing, document the use and cite the code in your report.
The reason I cite the code specifically is to prevent impeachment of my report by a unknowledgeable Contractor who comes behind me and states the screws are “fine the way they are”, it has happened. Citing code isn’t for everyone, and if you are new to Home inspections I do not recommend that you do this. Learn the business, get some experience under your belt, build a client base. If you do decide to wander into the code arena, get help and work with another inspector who has experience with code, you will make plenty of mistakes.

[FONT=Times-Bold][size=2]**110.3 Examination, Identification, Installation, and Use of Equipment. **[FONT=Times-Bold][size=2][FONT=Times-Bold][size=2]Installation and Use. [/size][/size][/FONT][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling.[/size][/FONT]

Sure I could not remove the cover, this is a personal option. I remove everyone that has these screws. I don’t want to give people an excuse NOT to use me in the future. I take the screws out, blunt the ends and put them back in.

I am there for the client and want to give them as much information as possible. Not look for a reason to make another issue “unknown”.

Have I pierced the wire backing them out? Sure did once. But I don’t touch the metal shaft on the screw driver, and the breaker tripped. But if I fear each and every “what if” then I would have to pick a different profession. Because we are the capital of “What if’s” and Murphy law" is a law that we see damn near every day…

Once again, it is a business choice, but I open these panels, I try to put covers on open Junction boxes and outlet covers and any other small issues I can deal with at a low cost and high speed. But that is just me and many don’t agree and that is why we have so many small business’s…To each his own…


At the end of the day if someone did not remove a panel just because of improper screws, could I understand it,… yes… are there valid reasons for not doing it, …YES!..would I look negatively at their performance, roll my eyes and never use them again while I talk **** under my breath,…oh hell yes.

I just returned from Home Depot. It’s $6.98 for 6 of those screws. And they don’t even have a Harley logo on them. :slight_smile:

They’re $2.97 for six of them here. Just bought 2 more boxes last week.

That’s how much they are on Amazon. Plus shipping of $5.