Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education

How to Remove an Electrical Panel for a Home Inspection

Published by:Kaplan Real Estate Education

Published: September 3, 2018

How to Remove an Electrical Panel for a Home Inspection

Home inspectors nationally are required to take off the electrical panel as part of the inspection. Don’t catch yourself in a dangerous situation by removing the electrical panel box incorrectly. Doug Hastings, an expert home inspector, will teach you how to safely complete this portion of a home inspection.


Video Transcript
As we start looking around, we run into the electrical panel, here. Now, there's a lot of responsibilities for this. This is a whole day's class learning how to look into an electrical panel. But for today, we can do some very basic things. First of all, even though it's below OSHA standards, home inspectors, nationally, are required to take the cover off of the panel box. They're also required to size the electrical panel. Now, we'll teach you in class how to do that, but none the less, it is going to be a responsibility. But, let me show you how to take off an electrical panel.

Notice how I've got six screws on this box. What I like to do is, number one, make sure they're all secure. It's amazing how many times you find a dummy screw in there. You don't want this thing falling off without you wanting it to come off. That could be dangerous. So what I like to do is, a; check the screws.
Then, I take off the corner screws because I know the other ones are holding it in place. So, let me, quickly, just take these corner screws off. As we're doing that, I still got my eyes on the house. I'm looking back. As I look back, I might see a valve that I missed somewhere along the line.
Home inspections have a built in check and balance system. Now notice how I'm going to the opposite corners, but I still got these two secured. Again, check and balance system; it's amazing how sometimes you can overlook something. But if you look over your shoulder, you'll pick it up at some other aspect of or another vantage point of looking at the house.
So now is when it gets a little risky. I like to lean into the panel box. I like to loosen the screws. And, I like to get them to the point where I'm able to unscrew them with my fingers. But again, I'm always leaning into it because if this panel box falls off, that's a dangerous situation.
So, I've got the second to the last screw off. Here's the last one. Now what I do, I'm holding the box in place, I put my hand on the bottom, I put my hand on the top, and I slowly put it out. If I feel something coming with me, I stop because I'm starting to put out some circuit breakers or some fuses. I then pull the panel box away. I set it on the floor. Then, I'm going to begin to look inside.