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  1. #1
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Energized Panel cover

    Was removing the panel cover on my inspection at 10AM. I had check the panel to see that it was not energized. all indication were neg. So as i was removing the cover then I see these little sparks off the bottom of the cover and the body of the panel. Have you ever come across this.

    I Put the thing back and move on. something was worng...

    Did a recheck on the panel all Neg... any ideas?

    Best

    Ron

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,340

    Default Re: Energized Panel cover

    A loose component or wire intermittently touching the dead front or panel enclosure. When you wiggle it, it contacts and sparks.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
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    3,177

    Default Re: Energized Panel cover

    It's static electricity from those polyester pants you wear, Ron.

    Ok, maybe not. All I know is, in cold, dry Philadelphia, when I take off my fleece jacket, I practically get electrocuted!

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

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

    Default Re: Energized Panel cover

    Ron

    Next time you go to open a panel caver you should use a voltage sniffer on it. If nothing shows when you test it but then see sparks when taking the cover off do not continue handling the cover. Leave it where it is. Call the agent, listing or sellers agent or if the home owner is there have them call an electrician.

    Twice after test the cover and then started to unscrew the cover the wires were to close to the screws and were rubbed thru. One was an old meter with the main conductor right next to the screw. When the screw hit the screw drive blew right past my head and stuck in the wall on the other side of the single car garage. It sounded like an explosion. I could have either been electrocuted or impaled by the screw drive. Most tests with a voltage sniffer will ring pretty true.

    Careful

    I have been on so many construction sites were electrocusion could have been the end of me. I was picking up a bundle of track while standing on a ten foot wall. When the bottom swung in it came in contact with rolled up lines for a panel that had not been added yet. Some fool removed the caution signs, plywood and tape that was all infront of the main distribution panel and then switched its main breaker on thinking it would turn the power on in the section of the school he was working. The explosion when the studs swung in and hit the wires caused people to come running from other buildings. I was blow off the top of the wall, hit a bar joist and then slid down the block wall.

    Almost the big outch.

    Don't, or stop messing with panels when you see sparks and always test first.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,248

    Default Re: Energized Panel cover

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    A loose component or wire intermittently touching the dead front or panel enclosure. When you wiggle it, it contacts and sparks.

    Could also be the panel cover is not energized but is carrying ground current (which is a sign that something is *not good*). As Dom said, when you go to remove the panel, you loosen it enough and it arcs - yet no indication on the voltage sniffer.

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

  6. #6
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Energized Panel cover

    Thanks for the input. As Ted pointed out. I will inform the agents when i email my reports on the property. Get sparky on to it...

    You just never known...and Boombaby... out goes the lights.

    Best

    Ron


  7. #7
    John Wilcox's Avatar
    John Wilcox Guest

    Default Re: Energized Panel cover

    If you saw sparks and did not get a bite you're probably just trippin'


  8. #8
    Gerry Martin's Avatar
    Gerry Martin Guest

    Default Re: Energized Panel cover

    What you described indicates an extremely hazardous condition in which current is either moving through the cover and enclosure or through the cover to your body which you would have found very unpleasant at best. Properly installed and undamaged, the metallic parts of the panel and the cover should be grounded and an arcing fault to them would likely open an overcurrent device such as a fuse or breaker, or if unfused at that point would have resulted in the vaporization of part of the affected surface. As for a cause, likely conditions would include damaged equipment at the panel or ahead of it, as well as an 'open' neutral between the panel and utility. Either could cause significant property damage, injury or death. Be careful out there!


  9. #9
    William Galbraith's Avatar
    William Galbraith Guest

    Default Re: Energized Panel cover

    All,

    NEC and OSHA are getting tighter on Personal Protective Equipment requirements when opening and working on electrical gear. I would recommend lineman's gloves, minimum 600 volt, and an approved arc flash face shield when opening any residential box.

    Bill


  10. #10
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Energized Panel cover

    Quote Originally Posted by William Galbraith View Post
    All,

    NEC and OSHA are getting tighter on Personal Protective Equipment requirements when opening and working on electrical gear. I would recommend lineman's gloves, minimum 600 volt, and an approved arc flash face shield when opening any residential box.

    Bill
    I had a serious flash from one in a basement years ago. No permanent lasting damage but the flash was strong enough to temorarily blind me. I could not move for a while. I was afraid I would touch a metal bench off to my left and I could not tell how close I was. That particular job had the electric reworked. I was putting insulation above a suspnded ceiling system. The right temple touch the metal and my hand touch a hanger wire at the same time. Heard a big pop and I thought my right eye exploded. Fotunately not. This was after the electric had been cleaned up. My eye watered so bad that I had my hand over my eye and the fluid was running down my face. When I finally removed my hand so someone could look at it and opened my eye lid and actually saw that person I just busted out in a nervous laugh.

    Plenty to worry about out there with the electric supply


  11. #11
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Energized Panel cover

    Ted its good to think about this stuff and be on your toes. I had a new home buyer move his hand at the panel i was looking at today. and i grab his arm and stop him the look on his face was a piss off look and i had the same one on my face... but i was not backing down. he was only going to get the cover holder bar down for me but i did known what he was doing. we understood each other and it was no big deal from then on but he got the message that you do not do things like that when some one is working on a 200 AMP panel

    Best

    Ron


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: Energized Panel cover

    After having grabbed a few arms (amazing how fast you move, isn't it?) I've taken to handing clients my IR thermometer (which has a laser pointer) and telling them that if they want to point out sometime in the panel, please stand off to the side and point it out with THIS.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

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