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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
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    112

    Default Service Equipment access

    How long has the NEC required the minimum 3 foot access in front of service equipment (or any panel for that matter)? [current 110.26(A)(1)]

    I have a house built in the late 70's that has the water heater placed within two feet or so of the panel in the back corner of the garage (photo). I feel confident that this is the original location for both and not that the water heater was relocated sometime since original constuction.

    Will write up regardless due to safety concern, but would like to get an idea on implementation of access standard (e.g., "yeah, not been allowed since the 50's" or "First implemented in NEC as of 1985").

    Thx
    Dave

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,246

    Default Re: Service Equipment access

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hahn View Post
    How long has the NEC required the minimum 3 foot access in front of service equipment (or any panel for that matter)?
    As far back as I can remember.

    Added with edit: Looks it it first appeared in the 1940 NEC as it is in there and not in the 1937 NEC.

    Except that it was 2-1/2 feet until maybe as late as the 1962 NEC (I forgot when that changed as I looked through the old codes). Nonetheless, 2-1/2 feet or 3 feet, it was in there since 1940.

    Back then, there were many distances, such as, if there were no live parts, no grounded parts (meaning air only opposite the panel) the distance was 1-1/2 feet for 150 volts or less. Of course, though, as soon as you put a wall there, there is the possibility that the wall becomes grounded, thus the clearance needs to go to 2-1/2 feet. I know some will argue that point, but that was so long ago that the argument is moot.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 09-15-2009 at 11:06 AM.
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  3. #3
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Service Equipment access

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    As far back as I can remember.

    Added with edit: Looks it it first appeared in the 1940 NEC as it is in there and not in the 1937 NEC.

    Except that it was 2-1/2 feet until maybe as late as the 1962 NEC (I forgot when that changed as I looked through the old codes). Nonetheless, 2-1/2 feet or 3 feet, it was in there since 1940.

    Back then, there were many distances, such as, if there were no live parts, no grounded parts (meaning air only opposite the panel) the distance was 1-1/2 feet for 150 volts or less. Of course, though, as soon as you put a wall there, there is the possibility that the wall becomes grounded, thus the clearance needs to go to 2-1/2 feet. I know some will argue that point, but that was so long ago that the argument is moot.
    JP: Let me guess, you got that 1940 version for your 18th birthday?


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