How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Where can I get replacement screws for the cover of my electrical panel (dead front)?
Saturday, September 10, 2022
Replacement screws that match the original ones for the dead front of a panel manufactured by Square D, Eaton, GE, or Siemens are available at the big box home improvment stores and most hardware stores for for around $6 for a half dozen. Screws that match older, defunct brands can be harder to find. But you can also get a 25-count bag of generic 10-32 rack screws in 1/2” length that fit most panels for about $10, or 1” length for $15.
Don't just use any screw that’s handy nearby. A pointed screw is dangerous because the tip can possibly penetrate the insulation of a wire behind it in the panel and cause a short circuit. So getting one with a blunt tip is important. Also, the head should be wide enough to securely cover the hole in the dead front. See our article What are the common problems with an electrical panel dead front? to learn more.
One of the occupational hazards of being a home inspector is dropping a screw while removing or replacing a panel dead front. Homeowners often pile up open boxes and other clutter below the panel on the garage floor that the screw falls into and then disappears. So we keep a few of the generic dead front screws in a tool bag for replacement.
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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