Missing Electrical Panel Covers Create A Number of Safety Hazards
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Damaged or missing electrical panel covers can normally be replaced. Ones that are bent can generally be re-bent back into shape, but may need to be repainted or touched up.
Order from the manufacture
The majority of manufactures have their panel covers available. Should the panel be very old, then it is more difficult to get the cover. In these cases there are sheet metal or metal fabricating shops that may make a duplicate, however, they are usually costly. It might be cheaper to replace the entire panel. A new panel may be only a couple of hundred dollars.
Exterior panels & rain
Keep the rain out
Panels on the exterior of a home needs to have a cover. Damaged covers or panels without a cover may allow rain and snow to enter the panel and this could become dangerous, as well as a loss of power may occur.
Panels without covers are dangerous. Children or adults may get shocked or injured when there is not a cover on a panel. Never, have a panel with exposed bus bars and wiring. Consulting an electrician is wise. They are experienced with these type of situations and will know the best way of correcting it.
Dead front covers
If a panel cover is missing, but there is a “dead front” cover, then the danger is less, than if there is no “dead front” and no outer cover. (READ ABOUT DEAD FRONT COVERS )
Bent and damaged covers
Panel covers that are slightly dinged or bent but close properly are normally considered a cosmetic issue. Slightly bent ones can usually be bent back to there original shape. Damaged covers that can not be bent back to there original shape need to be replaced with a proper cover, which most likely will be from the manufacture.
At times, someone will fabricate a panel cover to go onto a panel. This may create a problem if the panel gets inspected, for it is not technically approved and occasionally the inspector may write the panel up. If the manufacture no longer makes the cover, some inspectors may approve the cover if it appears to well built and fits. Other inspectors may want the entire panel replaced.Who to consult? An electrician or qualified handyman.
Home owners can usually put a panel on a electrical box; but should be careful for safety purposes when doing so. Electrician and qualified handymen generally are adept at adding a panel cover.
You have a very informative site. I’m not sure if you are interested but my company makes replacement breaker panel covers and dead fronts. Possibly a few of your readers could be looking for our products. Please let me know if I can help. Thank you, Larry Lord