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Thread: PANEL LOCATION

  1. #1
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    Default PANEL LOCATION

    1960 home with panel & service upgraded in 2002. The panel was moved from a closet area to wall adjacent to closet. Panel was relocated on wall UNDER A BEDROOM WINDOW - 8 inches above the floor. My question is if this is a code violation. I used the 2000 IRC, which states the panel must be mounted on a wall with a "dedicated area " above the panel to ceiling. So would the window infringe upon the 'dedicated area ".. I realize this is a poor choice for panel location, for obvious reasons, but is it a code violation. I am sure the electrician will be giving me a call. It was supposedly done with a permit.

    appreciate all input - thanks much Tom

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Depends.

    I would say it is not allowed there as the window would be considered "foreign to the electrical installation" and thus "shall not be located in this zone".

    Now, there is an exception to the above, and that is:
    - (b) Foreign Systems. The area above the dedicated space required by 110.26(F)(1)(a) shall be permitted to contain foreign systems, provided protection is installed to avoid damage to the electrical equipment from condensation, leaks, or breaks in such foreign systems.

    Which means the window would need some type of backup water diversion system (two separate flashing systems) to make sure any leakage is diverted away from the panel below the window. Also, the window would need to be non-operable, otherwise the window could be left open and rain could enter the open window, flashings around the window or not.

    Being as that is highly unlikely (most likely never even installed the first flashing system properly, let alone installed the one necessary to allow the electrical panel to be under the window) ... the panel should not be located there.

    Any electrician or electrical inspector with common sense would not allow that.

    Which leads me to think it may have been homeowner installed.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Any electrician or electrical inspector with common sense would not allow that.
    JP: You mean they have those somehwere I can actually see them?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: You mean they have those somehwere I can actually see them?
    Give me a call. We can meet for lunch.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: You mean they have those somehwere I can actually see them?
    You can find them in front of the Home inspectors with common sense


  6. #6
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Now, how did I know I would hear from those two?


  7. #7
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    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Now, how did I know I would hear from those two?
    Well you asked, didn't you?


  8. #8
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    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Aaron,

    I agree with Ken and Peter ... for every good electrician, plumber, etc., there is a good home inspector, and, for every bad electrician, plumber, etc., there is a bad home inspector ... with "for every" being based on maintaining ratio, not one-for-one number as there are fewer home inspectors overall than there are the trades overall.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Appreciat your help. The homeowners are in their mid "80" . They hired an electrician to do the work.

    Thanks again - Tom


  10. #10
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Aaron,

    I agree with Ken and Peter ... for every good electrician, plumber, etc., there is a good home inspector, and, for every bad electrician, plumber, etc., there is a bad home inspector ... with "for every" being based on maintaining ratio, not one-for-one number as there are fewer home inspectors overall than there are the trades overall.
    JP: I certainly concur with your math, except that the same ratio would simply not apply as regards municipal inspectors. Even the Golden Ratio (irrational mathematical constant that it is) cannot account for the near absence of AHJs in my area with anything resembling common sense. Perhaps excepting one lone wolf in south Texas who seems to be breathing the same air as the rest of us.


  11. #11
    John Steinke's Avatar
    John Steinke Guest

    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    A window above a panel, and a panel close to the floor .....

    The NEC does not limit how low a panel can be. As long as you can remove the cover, and have the necessary working space, you're good to go.

    The window brings up the issue of working space. Working space is measured from the face of the panel, so something directly over the panel is not in the required working space. This means that many window installations are completely outside the working space, so putting the panel under the window is allowed.

    Do I like it? Not at all, and I'm puzzled as to what led to this panel being placed there. Yet, I can't find a rule against it.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    John,

    You are mixing, and limiting, "spaces about electrical equipment" and "working space", where "working space" is a subdivision of "spaces about electrical equipment", another subdivision of "spaces about electrical equipment" is the one I pointed out, and which has NOTHING to do with "working space": "Dedicated Equipment Space".

    F. Dedicated Equipment Space is further subdivided into (1) Indoor and (2) Outdoor divisions, with (1) Indoor being further divided into (a), (b), (c), and (d), with (a) being Dedicated Electrical Space, which was my reference.

    Working space is ONLY ONE aspect of what applies, and even working space applies to a height of 6-1/2 feet, not just to the height of the panel.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    John Steinke's Avatar
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    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Sure ... but it's still measured from in front of the panel.

    I fail to see where a window over a panel is any worse an impediment than, say, a block wall. The space directly over the panel cabinet - assuming the cabinet is set in the wall - is most certainly not reserved for electrical stuff. That's how walls are made.

    For a surface-mount cabinet, perhaps there is an issue. Yet, for most window designs, there's on infringing on the space directly over the panel; the window is in the wall, "behind" the panel, so to speak. At most, you'd have a minor infringement with an oversize windowsill; trim the sill and you're in the clear.

    Code makes no restriction on what can be 'behind' a panel.

    It takes a pretty convoluted set of circumstances for this to be an issue with a 4" deep panel. Now, were we talking about switchgear in an electrical room, the rules would be different. I think this panel squeaks by on a technicality.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    Now, were we talking about switchgear in an electrical room, the rules would be different. I think this panel squeaks by on a technicality.
    No different.

    Thus that panel fails on the wording and intent of the code, which is not a "technicality".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: PANEL LOCATION

    Quote Originally Posted by TOM PAGLIA View Post
    Appreciat your help. The homeowners are in their mid "80" . They hired an electrician to do the work.

    Thanks again - Tom
    I guess it comes down to what does the 80 yr old couple do know? Are their lives in danger?


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