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  1. #1
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    Default How far should I have gone

    Yesterday when I went to inspect the electric panel After removing the screws and expecting the cover to wind up in my hands I realized something was holding it. At the top of the panel there was a switch which looked much like a light switch , someone cut a hole in the panel and screwed it in. Don't know what was holding the panel and I wasn't about to loosen the screws holding the switch to remove it. I recommended the panel be examined by a licensed electrician. The buyers father wasn't happy that I wouldn't go any farther, I offered him the screwdriver but he declined.

    How far should I have gone, sorry didn't get a picture.

    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Wieczorek View Post

    How far should I have gone.
    .
    To the Point I'm concerned for My Own Personal Safety.
    * and only I can make that determination.
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  3. #3
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
    Kevin Barre Guest

    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    If you found field modifications to a deadfront cover such as you described, you should not have removed the cover -- there's no telling what's behind it. Perhaps more importantly, you should not have offered the buyer's father the use of YOUR screwdriver to check it out for himself. That seems like a HUGE liability issue to me. In fact, I would not have even suggested that he check it out himself with his own tools.


  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    I use a voltage sniffer on all cabinets before opening them or touching my screw driver down on them.

    If I try to open a cover and there is any resistance to me doing so I do not continue and write it so in my report.

    It would not be the first time I touched my screw driver down on a cover and had it blow across a room.

    Your safety comes first and that of your clients.

    Safety is first and formost on any type of job you are doing and always should be. I have been in the construction field all my life and have seen some pretty God awful things happen to people.


  5. #5
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    Rockwall Texas
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    I would have gone as far as telling Pops to go sit his happy arse in his car.

    rick


  6. #6
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    If I have trouble getting something off, I'll likely have trouble getting it on. And if there's a chance I might not get it back on, I don't take it off.

    If ol dad has concerns about my not removing the panel cover, I give him a few "what ifs" (war stories) and the associated potential hazards. Clients usually don't have our experience nor understand how easily things can go very wrong. Once he realizes what might be lurking behind the cover he'll usually relent and go for the electrician option.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    On The Mason-Dixon Line
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    all this safety talk ---
    I'll bet that most HI's DO NOT follow basic safety rules when opening live
    panels and such!

    Be honest how many of you wear approved safety glasses , fire resistant clothing, approved gloves, and other PPE ??
    Approved means approved for the situation not just a generic approval for saw dust

    any body ever see the results of an arc flash in person ? It's not pretty !!


  8. #8
    Michael P. O'Handley's Avatar
    Michael P. O'Handley Guest

    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    So Ken,

    What should we infer from that little chide/query? That you don't remove deadfront covers, that you remove them after donning all sorts of safety gear or that you remove them and don't wear safety gear?

    IP - FWIW, I think you did the right thing. Unless you can know how that field alteration has been done behind that cover, there's no way to know what might have happened if you'd unscrewed that switch and then pulled that cover off. I'd have asked the father, "Would you be happier if I'd attempted to pull that cover, generated an arc and a piece of molten steel found it's way into your eye or your daughter's eye?"

    ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

    Mike


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ingleside Illinois
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    I used a voltage sniffer before I did anything. The reason I didn't see the switch in the panel is because I removed the panel cover screws then opened the panel when it wouldn't come off.

    As far as giving old dad the screwdriver, you'd have to prove it was mine in court if he fried himself.

    After all the fuss his son decided to walk because the seller wouldn't fix the leaking roof.


  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Wieczorek View Post
    I used a voltage sniffer before I did anything. The reason I didn't see the switch in the panel is because I removed the panel cover screws then opened the panel when it wouldn't come off.

    The thing I would have done differently than you, and you probably will from now on, would have been to have opened the cover first.

    The FIRST thing I always did was open the cover and see what is there. (I know, I know, THE FIRST thing I should have done was use at least a voltage sniffer to see if it was 'hot', but ... alas ... I did not.)

    Then, after looking inside the cover, I would remove the screws and the dead front cover if I felt it was safe - which was 99.94% of the time. Sometimes, albeit very rarely, you will see something which tells you that you do not want to be the one to remove that cover.

    "(I know, I know, THE FIRST thing I should have done was use at least a voltage sniffer to see if it was 'hot', but ... alas ... I did not.)" - and I also never found a cover which was 'hot' from being against anything either - guess that was pure luck. I did, however, on numerous occasions, begin removing screws only to have them dig through the insulation and contact the conductor - throwing sparks all over.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ingleside Illinois
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Your right Jerry I probably will always open the door first. Don't know why I didn't as I always have, I think I was probably listening to the buyers Dad tell me how to do the inspection, seems like there wasn't much he hadn't achieved in his lifetime. Yada Yada Yada, Shut the heck up. PLEASE
    That's what I felt like telling him, but didn't.


  12. #12
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    all this safety talk ---
    I'll bet that most HI's DO NOT follow basic safety rules when opening live
    panels and such!

    Be honest how many of you wear approved safety glasses , fire resistant clothing, approved gloves, and other PPE ??
    Approved means approved for the situation not just a generic approval for saw dust

    any body ever see the results of an arc flash in person ? It's not pretty !!

    Absolutely no one anywhere wears all those items to pull a panel cover.

    And yes I have seen plenty of arc flash. I also worked in commercial construction where idiots would lose power and then go to all the panels and start hitting all the mains and breaker energising half the site and not just wires and outlets. I've been blown off the concrete floors from rounding a corner and stepping on a wire that some idiot hit a breaker to trying to get that power back. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have been hit by electricity. Honestly, to many times to remember.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    .
    .
    I cannot tell you the amount of times I have been hit by electricity.
    .
    Honestly, to many times to remember.
    .
    That Explains a lot Ted.
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  14. #14
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Bill
    FWIW and IMHO you did right. Next case?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  15. #15
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    .
    That Explains a lot Ted.
    .

    I always know when you will have a come back.

    I'll give you the same T shirt I gave Aaron........I have one myself

    The picture below is of Aaron

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post

    I'll give you the same T shirt I gave Aaron....
    .
    Thanks,
    .

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  17. #17
    Nick J. Alati's Avatar
    Nick J. Alati Guest

    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Wieczorek View Post
    Yesterday when I went to inspect the electric panel After removing the screws and expecting the cover to wind up in my hands I realized something was holding it. At the top of the panel there was a switch which looked much like a light switch , someone cut a hole in the panel and screwed it in. Don't know what was holding the panel and I wasn't about to loosen the screws holding the switch to remove it. I recommended the panel be examined by a licensed electrician. The buyers father wasn't happy that I wouldn't go any farther, I offered him the screwdriver but he declined.

    How far should I have gone, sorry didn't get a picture.
    Good for you, I've done the same thing with a Pool Sub Panel. I told the customer that "I'm not getting paid to Shock test the system, just report there is a Problem"!


  18. #18
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    Fuquay Varina, NC
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Ted you need to wear long pants, Those knobby knees might get a rash in the attic.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    East Bridgewater, MA
    Posts
    14

    Smile Re: How far should I have gone

    Bill,

    The greatest hazard that a home inspector faces is the removal of a dead front cover. You simply cannot see what potential hazards may cause an arc flash, if breakers may fall out, if there is active water infiltration or anything else that may jump out and bite you.

    The bottom line is YOU DID THE RIGHT THING! Good for you!

    Bob Mulloy


  20. #20
    Richard Abrams's Avatar
    Richard Abrams Guest

    Cool Re: How far should I have gone

    You did good. You should not have gone any farther unless you are a licensed Electrician. By te way that switch in the panel cover is not allowed by code.


  21. #21
    wes owens's Avatar
    wes owens Guest

    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Confirming what Jerry said about cutting through the insulated wires, I learned that when someone has removed the proper blunt tip fasteners and replaced them with sheet metal screws, be very careful.

    I did an inspection where the owner just had the electrical system updated and decided he didn't like the fasteners that came with the panel, so he replaced them with sheet metal screws.

    As I was removing the fourth screw using my cordless drill, the screw cut through a 50 amp wire and two 20 amps at the same time.

    Actually, the owner cut almost all the way through when he installed them.

    I finished cutting through half way out.

    After the bang and flash, I decided if it doesn't have the right fasteners, leave it alone.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: How far should I have gone

    Quote Originally Posted by wes owens View Post
    I learned that when someone has removed the proper blunt tip fasteners and replaced them with sheet metal screws, be very careful.
    Wes,

    It is not just the blunt tip, the threads are also made differently.

    On sheet metal screws the edges of the threads are sharp and cut through things (they are made to do that).

    On the panel screws the edges of the threads are radiused and not sharp so they do not cut through things, the threads just pull the screw in tight.

    When a regular panel screw is next to a conductor there is a good chance the threads will slip by the insulation without really cutting into it, whereas a sheet metal screw will slice and dice its way through the insulation and find the conductor inside.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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