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When Sharp Screws Are Used In Electric Panel Boxes

When sharp screws are used in electric panel boxes.

I see it all the time.  The original screws that came with an electric panel box have been removed and replaced with different screws not meant for the box.

Why can different screws be "not meant" for the box?

For a couple of reasons at least:

>  The different screw(s) might be too long (!!).
>  The different screw(s) might have the wrong die (the male portion of the coupling) for the tap (the female portion) that was cut into the panel box hole.  A different die can change the original tap such that the proper screws will no longer fit or hold.
>  The different screw(s) might have SHARP points, which are NOT intended for insertion into a place where there are electric wires!  Panel box screw points are dull for good reason!

I can often see from the shape or kind of screw head that it was not intended for a panel box before I remove it.

And then, when it is removed and it has a sharp point I am not surprised.

What did surprise me on this box was seeing a large-amperage electric wire that had been previously punctured by a screw head, that there was a scorch beside it, AND THAT THE SAME SCREW HAD BEEN REINSERTED INTO THE HOLE!

Really?  Somebody saw the problem that was caused by the wrong screw, wrapped the wire up with a little tape, and put the same screw back in place? 

My recommendation:  some things are hard to understand.  And as regards electricity, there is not much room for error.  And if you are fooling around in an electric panel box, lose the original screws and replace them with other inappropriate ones, well, you really should not be fooling around in an electric panel box!   Wise up, get smart, and hire a professional!

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 10 commentsJay Markanich • April 26 2017 08:42AM

Comments

Black to black. White to white, if it Sparks you have it wrong.  Leave electricity to the professionals. 

Posted by Peter Mohylsky, Your Bucket List Broker in Destin, Fl.. (BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS REAL ESTATE) 3 months ago

And if you puncture wiring, there will be sparking also, Peter!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

Thaks for the share!

As regards electricity, there is not much room for error.  And if you are fooling around in an electric panel box, lose the original screws and replace them with other inappropriate ones, well, you really should not be fooling around in an electric panel box!   Wise up, get smart, and hire a professional!

Posted by Sham Reddy, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) 3 months ago

Yes, the professionals are trained to take care of this properly!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) 3 months ago

But at least they wrapped it in electrical tape. UGH!

Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Nathan Gesner, Broker / Property Manager (American West Realty & Management) 3 months ago

Good morning Jay. Everyone wants to be an electrician without a clue as to correct procedure! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker (Wayne M Martin) 3 months ago

I ususally don't put them back in if it's a sharp tipped one. A long time ago I did that and shorted it out myself. Was embarrassing! 

Posted by Fred Hernden, Albuquerque area Home Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) 3 months ago

Thanks for stopping by, Sham.

Kat - hence the key word - professional.

Nathan - and boring black to boot!  I would go Redskin colors myself.

Wayne - and to quote the robot on Lost In Space - "Danger, Will Robinson!"

Fred - once I saw 2" drywall screws and I refused to put them back!  I moved the wire in this photo carefully before putting this screw back.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

Another informative post.  Thanks professor.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) 3 months ago

Thanks Stephen.  Disappointing really - no duct tape.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 3 months ago

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