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  1. #1
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    Default DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    Ok who was the genius that came up with this panel cover. nine out of ten times i try to remove cover to see my wiring i trip the main breaker. got yelled at last week because seller had to reset all her clocks in house. so now i just pull cover away enough to check as much wiring as i can

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    sorry forgot photo--here it is CVF

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    The designer WANTed you to turn off power before you removed the cover. It is a safety feature. The only person that didn't was the grumpy home owner, who wanted you to get shocked to h@#$. []

    Sometimes if you're fast, you can flip power back on. The little capacitors in timers and clocks hold a charge and you don't always have to reset everything.

    The safety authority here tells us to turn off power, although to do so only with the owner's permission, which is never given.

    My worst experience after an accidental flip of the main was an alarm system that came on when I restored power. The owners were away and nobody had the code to disable the alarm.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
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    Mar 2012
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    Lansdale, PA
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    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    I have heard of cases where a breaker failed to reset when turned back on under a heavy load. Maybe someone with more knowledge of circuit breakers can comment whether that is a real concern.

    It is probably best to turn off the AC and maybe other large appliances first.


  4. #4
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    Feb 2008
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    Caledon, Ontario
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    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    There is always a chance that removing any panel cover that one could inadvertently knock a breaker off when removing the cover.

    As a courtesy if I know there are computers running, or someone in the home is on the computer I always ask them to shut it off while I inspect the panel. I have had one case in 25 years where I did not know a student writing a project for school was on the computer and of course I accidentally hit the breaker supplying power to the computer. Needless to say I heard about it from the parent who happen to be home.

    Ditto life support systems that may be in use in the home. In which case depending on the type of medical equipment one must decide to take the chance to open the panel or not open the panel to inspect.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    St. Thomas Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    I attended a home while an inspection of aluminum wiring was being done by the Electrical Safety Authority about two months ago.

    Before removing the dead front, the examiner questioned whether any computers were running?

    He then turned off the main breaker before removing the dead front.

    He explained that tripping of the main disconnect was a requirement of the Electrical Safety Authority of Ontario.

    Bryce Jeffrey
    Jeffrey Home Inspection
    St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

  6. #6
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    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryce Jeffrey View Post
    He then turned off the main breaker before removing the dead front.

    He explained that tripping of the main disconnect was a requirement of the Electrical Safety Authority of Ontario.
    He tripped the main breaker or turned the main breaker off?

    Turning the main breaker off is simply that- moving the handle to the off position.

    Tripping the main breaker is quite a bit more involved.

    For any business, having a policy of, and requiring, turning the breaker off, reduces electrical accidents and thus thier insurance costs. A governmental agency with governmental authority to do so means that the order must be complied with. For a home inspector, who is not given such authority, all that can be done is due diligence in determining that accidentally bumping a breaker to the off position will not cause unintended consequences (such as deleting a homework assignment).

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    Ok who was the genius that came up with this panel cover. nine out of ten times i try to remove cover to see my wiring i trip the main breaker.
    Sounds like you are doing it wrong... I would guess I have flipped a breaker about a dozen times in 10 years of inspecting.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  8. #8
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    Oct 2014
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    Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, electrical only
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    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    I would guess I have flipped a breaker about a dozen times in 10 years of inspecting.
    How many of them were GE panelboards, like the one in the pic? Different designs make it easier or harder to pull the cover off straight.

    I would strongly recommend that when a customer contacts you, you ask them to arrange with the seller/seller's agent to allow you to kill power. Suppose you didn't trip the Main, but hit a breaker marked, "garbage disposal" before investigating the space under the sink; and the mislabeled breaker actually controlled the receptacle serving the kid's computer? "Not your fault"? They'll STILL be angry at you, most likely. Many HIs will do some kind of check of circuit labeling.

    As for difficult-to-pull-out covers, I'll mention one trick you probably know, Bruce, just in case somebody doesn't: Remove the screws, holding the cover tightly in place. Then, still holding the top tightly in place, pivot the bottom of the cover away from the cabinet. Pull the cover top away only after the opening is as clear as possible of the handles. But I've been a master for about 35 years, and I still occasionally trip (okay, Jerry, "flip") a breaker or two when either removing or reinstalling a cover.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    St. Thomas Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    Thanks David.

    Bryce Jeffrey
    Jeffrey Home Inspection
    St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Oregon
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    Thumbs up Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post

    As for difficult-to-pull-out covers, I'll mention one trick you probably know, Bruce, just in case somebody doesn't: Remove the screws, holding the cover tightly in place. Then, still holding the top tightly in place, pivot the bottom of the cover away from the cabinet. Pull the cover top away only after the opening is as clear as possible of the handles. But I've been a master for about 35 years, and I still occasionally trip (okay, Jerry, "flip") a breaker or two when either removing or reinstalling a cover.

    Thank you David for actually being part of the solution and constructively contributing to this thread with solutions to the original post. More helpful tips like this is the entire point of these forums. I encourage EVERYONE to follow David's example here.


  11. #11
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    Mar 2007
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    Our power goes out frequently in Knoxville. We have to reset clocks all the time. In fact, this morning it went off for several seconds, came back on, went back off, then back on over the course of maybe a minute and a half. Maybe thats why I don't get the calls about "you cut off my power".

    While I would be sorry if someones work was messed up by the power going off, it should only be messed up to the last time they "saved". Anyone and everyone that uses computers, and has ever lost anything, knows to hit SAVE often, or needs to learn to save their stuff.

    Its very rare for me to inspect a house where the sellers are home, but if they are, I let them know I will be checking GFCI protection, and I may accidentally trip a breaker. If they are working on a computer, I let them know when I will be checking the panel.

    Its pretty rare for me to see a panel like this where taking the cover off could trip the main breaker. I would still attempt it though.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Our power goes out frequently in Knoxville. We have to reset clocks all the time. In fact, this morning it went off for several seconds, came back on, went back off, then back on over the course of maybe a minute and a half. Maybe thats why I don't get the calls about "you cut off my power".

    While I would be sorry if someones work was messed up by the power going off, it should only be messed up to the last time they "saved". Anyone and everyone that uses computers, and has ever lost anything, knows to hit SAVE often, or needs to learn to save their stuff.
    If they are in an area like that, they NEED a UPS backup which at the very least gives them time to save their work.

    If they are using Word or WordPerfect (and most likely any other word processor), it will automatically save your work and create backup files, you can usually set the time from every keystroke to a certain number of minutes, I usually set it to every 3 minutes to reduce the auto save time but not lose much if it crashes.

    I have two 1500 watt UPS backups, one for each desktop computer, and when working on my notebook as I am now, it has its own battery in case of a power failure.

    If one cannot afford a UPS backup, then they need to make it a habit to click save regularly - which means whatever they are willing to lose.

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    Most people I know have them. In my area of Knoxville it was very bad. The power would go off at the least hint of a thunderstorm. We got to the point where we just didn't re-set clocks. The finally upgraded something near our house, and its been better, but we still loose power frequently.
    Unless there is a huge storm, it's usually less than an hour.
    My point being, is if I happen to trip a breaker by accident, the homeowners probably think it was just a power failure blip, so they don't bother to call me to complain.


  14. #14

    Default Re: DUMB SERVICE PANEL COVER

    In the last 15 or so years I have probably tripped main breakers only twice that I can recall. The first time I vividly recall because what happened was I lost control of the dead front as I was removing it and it fell to the floor with a loud bang tripping the breaker as it fell. The Realtor and client were up stairs and were both sure there was a dead inspector in the basement.
    One of the reasons I never remove dead fronts on FP or Zinsco panels is that I have had breakers literally fall out. This too is disruptive to service.


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