Electrical Panel Cover Screws
Wrong screw - one shorted & burnt
Proper panel cover screw
Proper panel cover screw
Part of a proper (IMHO) home
inspection is removal of the electrical
panel cover to check for poor/burnt
connections, wire/breaker compatibility
and other issues. At a recent inspection
I had turned one of the screws about 2
full turns when sparks and smoke
started coming out of the panel. I
immediately suspected, then verified,
that the panel cover had been installed
with improper screws. The screw I was
removing had cut through insulation on
a hot wire in the panel, then shorted
out against the electrical panel case,
which was grounded as it should be.
Screws used to secure an electrical panel cover should
have blunt ends like the ones pictured. I now recommend
use of proper screws when I see long sharp screws like the
one that shorted out on me.
Scorching on panel from screw shorting
Fortunately the panel case was grounded and the circuit breaker was
operational. If the panel was not grounded, I could have been shocked
or even electrocuted. If the circuit breaker didn't trip, there would have
been much more sparking and smoke.