Does a home inspector remove the electric panel cover plate and examine the inside of the panel?
Sunday, July 22, 2018
When we first started doing home inspections about fifteen years ago, we would occasionally find a homeowner that was surprised when we opened their electric panel to check the wiring. “The last home inspector we had didn’t open the panel,” was the usual comment, and then their rationale for being annoyed that we were writing up defects inside the panel. But, also during that era, we heard of inspectors that claimed that only a licensed electrician was allowed to open a panel. That may have sounded logical, but it’s nonsense. Actually, only making repairs or modifications to an electric panel is restricted to a licensed electrician.
The panel cover plate is called a “dead front” and American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has required that inspectors remove them to examine the panel interior for many years as part of their Standards of Practice—as long as there does not appear to be a safety hazard in doing so. But the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) specifically exempts the inspector from removing the dead front.
The State of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Standards of Practice for Home Inspection, that went into effect on October 22, 2013, essentially overrode the InterNACHI standards for home inspectors in Florida, by stating that home inspectors must examine the “interior components of main service panels and sub panels,” which cannot be done without removing the dead front.
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