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Darren

Just a bad day

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My first inspection today resulted in me not being able to see the difference between an 8 and a 0.

My second inspection resulted in me ALMOST soiling myself.

I always check for pointed screws in an electrical panel after what happened to me on 9/11.

Today, while screwing the cover back on a panel, I got zapped. Seems the wire got caught inside the screw hole opening and BAM!

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Yup. I've been through that too. I cut right into the serice entry line just BACKING OUT a course thread screw, with the same result. It sounded like an arc welder on the 4th of July. What we do is hazardous.

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Shake it off, Darren. I'll buy you a beer at the next inspector's meeting ;)

My inspections were postponed due to the snow. At least I didn't get the dog's rawhide bone stuck in the snow blower this time!

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That's awful, Darren. I'm sorry.

The screw hitting a wire thing has happened to me twice, both times when I was removing the deadfront. Both times, I sorta froze while my feeble mind decided what to do next. One of the times, smoke started streaming out of the panel. I removed the remaining screws, thinking to myself, "Okay, so you're going to trip the main, race into the kitchen, get a cup of water, and douse the panel (Of course, you have to avoid the SE cables so something really nasty doesn't happen). " I actually wound up blowing on the smoking insulation, and it stopped smoldering.

Of course, the entire remainder of the time I was in the house, and even into the night, I kept thinking it could still be smoldering and could erupt into a blaze at any moment.

It didn't . . . thankfully. Now, though, every single time I pull off a deadfront, I worry that the episode will repeat itself.

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I've also had it happen while removing the screws (new house with factory-original, blunt-tipped screws). It does make for a memorable day. Took me several minutes before I could think about much of anything. Glad to hear you're OK.

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I've had it happen once. Mine was the dryer/220 and it was very loud. Both feet must have gone a foot off the floor at the same time.

Mine only smoked the screw and the wire. It was new construction and the electrician was there within the hour to fix.

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So if we can't see into the panel before opening it, how best do we prevent getting zapped?

My first guess is make sure you're not touching the metal shank of the screwdriver.

What else can help prevent getting zapped?

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What else can help prevent getting zapped?

I don't know, but can suggest a few things.

Wear shoes on concrete floor.

Don't touch the panel with your other hand while removing the screw. I always do, but should learn not to. This increases the chance of a shock thru the heart, bad.

Wear insulated gloves and eye pro. I wear readers, and always put my glasses on before I start on the panel. No, I don't have the gloves. Yet.

How about this one. Use a smaller, low-powered screw driver? Could it be the 12 volts and higher have so much torque, they bite right thru the insulation, where a little 4 volt might not?

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When I suspect those pointed screws, I do not re-install the cover after the inspection. I notify the seller if he's on the premises and put an explanation in the report.

Marc

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When I suspect those pointed screws, I do not re-install the cover after the inspection. I notify the seller if he's on the premises and put an explanation in the report.

Marc

I would never ever ever leave the cover off if it was on when I arrived. Way to many bad thoughts come to mind. What if the home owner or kids were killed, due to their ignorance of the dangers? What if there were a fire and it was not contained because the cover was off? What if the pet tweety bird got zapped? I have panel screws in my tool box.

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Always tap the panel with the back of your knuckles first, electricity makes the muscles contract so if you touch a hot panel with your fingertips, your hand clenches into the panel. If you use the back of your knuckles, your hand will clench itself away from the panel. Always wear all cotton clothes, if you really do get hit with electric, the heat melts poly clothes into your skin. When you actually remove the front, stand slightly to the side, in case it does get "blown" off. Always set the front down on the floor where it can't fall any further. It may not hurt your toes in your nice fully enclosed shoes but if it fell over on your clients sandal clad feet, it may cause more than hard feelings.I try to carry some panel screws with me so I can at least get a couple of screws back in the panel to close it up.

Any other safety tips are greatly appreciated.

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When I suspect those pointed screws, I do not re-install the cover after the inspection. I notify the seller if he's on the premises and put an explanation in the report.

Marc

I would never ever ever leave the cover off if it was on when I arrived. Way to many bad thoughts come to mind. What if the home owner or kids were killed, due to their ignorance of the dangers? What if there were a fire and it was not contained because the cover was off? What if the pet tweety bird got zapped? I have panel screws in my tool box.

Yep, leaving the cover off is just plain silly.

Here's a lousy photo of the panel I described above. If you look closely, you can see the melted insulation on the right.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif DSC00537.jpg

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I had a friend call me about some flickering lights, so I go over and check it out. There were so many loose connections that lights were flickering on and off while I was pulling the dead front. I tightened up all the loose wires but the problem circuit (a double tap) burnt the breaker terminal. I left the cover off while I ran down the street (literally just a few blocks) to the hardware to get a new breaker and when I came back the missus was vacuuming the inside of the panel[:-bigeyes

Never leave the cover off, there's no telling what stupidity might happen after you've gone.

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When mine popped the wire it was a real panel screw, so the pointed tip sheet metal screws only increase the risk poking the wire.

I never leave a panel cover off any longer than while I'm standing right in front of it.

I knocked a woman/buyer on her ass once when she went to reach inside the panel as I was explaining stuff to her. Scared me silly.

After that when I explain something about the interior of the panel I always say LOOK don't TOUCH before I start.

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I knocked a woman/buyer on her ass once when she went to reach inside the panel as I was explaining stuff to her.

Pleeeeease tell us you got the realtor, too.

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When mine popped the wire it was a real panel screw, so the pointed tip sheet metal screws only increase the risk poking the wire.

Yeah, I've had that happen to me when I replaced the panel on a very full panel and a wire pushed out to the outside edge of the cabinet where it was pinched between the panel screw and the cabinet housing. As soon as I put the screw in and started tightening it up it cut through the insulation and all hell broke loose.

The resulting pop and flash scared the living crap out of everyone. Needless to say, the screw was no more and the screw hole and edge of the cabinet got a little bit melted. Fortunately, I had extra screws in my vehicle and a few pal nuts and wire nuts that I keep around for furnaces or mishaps. I used a wire nut to repair the severed wire and once the pal nut was on and the new screw was in and the cover on, the "hole" in the edge of the cover was, to mine and my wallet's great relief, fully and safely covered.

It's a good thing my IBS wasn't flaring up that morning or I would definitely have had to excuse myself to go and rinse out my undershorts.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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When mine popped the wire it was a real panel screw, so the pointed tip sheet metal screws only increase the risk poking the wire.

Yeah, I've had that happen to me when I replaced the panel on a very full panel and a wire pushed out to the outside edge of the cabinet where it was pinched between the panel screw and the cabinet housing. As soon as I put the screw in and started tightening it up it cut through the insulation and all hell broke loose.

The resulting pop and flash scared the living crap out of everyone. Needless to say, the screw was no more and the screw hole and edge of the cabinet got a little bit melted. Fortunately, I had extra screws in my vehicle and a few pal nuts and wire nuts that I keep around for furnaces or mishaps. I used a wire nut to repair the severed wire and once the pal nut was on and the new screw was in and the cover on, the "hole" in the edge of the cover was, to mine and my wallet's great relief, fully and safely covered.

It's a good thing my IBS wasn't flaring up that morning or I would definitely have had to excuse myself to go and rinse out my undershorts.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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When mine popped the wire it was a real panel screw, so the pointed tip sheet metal screws only increase the risk poking the wire.

I never leave a panel cover off any longer than while I'm standing right in front of it.

I knocked a woman/buyer on her ass once when she went to reach inside the panel as I was explaining stuff to her. Scared me silly.

After that when I explain something about the interior of the panel I always say LOOK don't TOUCH before I start.

I had something very similar happen. An older woman went to reach inside the panel to "point" at something. She almost had a heart attack when I snatched her wrist just as she was about to make a very bad mistake. It scared her, but not as much as it scared me.

She then says "Didn't you turn the power off?" As the basement lights glow above her head.....[:-headach

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At one point a bought a pair of dielectric gloves, but gave up on them, the clumsiness was more of a hazard than a help.

Even a tight fitting pair of thin leather gloves is a reasonable insulator if dry, that's what I use now.

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