I have three electrical panels in the house and with each one, one of the face screws is under the cover as seen in the picture. So it's clearly intentional. What's the purpose of it?

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    What model are these panels? – ThreePhaseEel Aug 10 '18 at 11:41
  • It is not quite clear what you mean by "under the face". Can you clarify? To be honest the thing you point to in the picture looks pretty much like a panel screw even when zoomed in. Maybe a close in picture with good lighting and focus would help. – Michael Karas Aug 10 '18 at 12:12
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    Is it always the screw behind the latch area? – isherwood Aug 10 '18 at 13:26
  • Yes, the screw is under the panel. So instead of making the face tight to the box, it does the opposite: it creates a gap. – Wynne Aug 10 '18 at 14:50

If I am seeing your photos right, it's a mild security feature. When I worked in electrical contracting, that was done so that a panel could have a lock installed on the door, and then (theoretically) prevent unauthorized access by surreptitiously removing the panel front.

Like most locks, they are meant to deter rather than completely prevent access. If someone wants to get in, they will, but the unauthorized access will take some effort and will be detected.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. – Daniel Griscom Nov 18 '19 at 19:38

I can see that the screw was over the cover at one time by the marks in the paint. This leads me to wonder whether bulging the cover by keeping that screw behind may have let the latch operate easier.

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    Maybe they did that to make the latch work at all. If somehow the panel box was warped upon mounting. – Michael Karas Aug 10 '18 at 21:25
  • This "feature" is present on all three of my electrical panels. – Wynne Aug 11 '18 at 1:30
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    Is it always the screw next to the latch? if so, this seems like a pretty good and likely answer. – PhilippNagel Apr 19 '19 at 1:16
  • @Wynne Correct it. See what happens if you do. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 18 '19 at 18:24

That's pretty "screwy" looking, lol. Ok that's a bad joke... It appears to not be for a latch, but without inspecting it myself, who knows ? Looks more like a screw that was left in the panel frame prior to the cover needing to go back on...

Most latch acres I've seen are not near the outside edges of the panel cover, but much rather closer towards the opening of the panel cover.

These type of are made for more commercial / industrial type of applications, as the breakers are held in place by screws to their related buss.

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