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  1. #1
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    Default Main panel located inside

    Ok I'm sure you guys up north will have an ansewer for this.
    Is there a special panel box needed if you want the main panel located inside the building envelope? Down here we don't have the 12' of snow to worry about, however, we do have a lot of salt in the air. Houses that are built right on the Gulf of Mexico, or right behind the sand dunes, have a real problem with corrision. I inspected a house that was three years old and the main panel boxes were so rusted I couldn't open them. When i talked to the builder and suggested they put the panels in the garage he called me a stupid f*@#*ing yankee and walked away. Are there fire codes that prohibit this? Please help so i can go kick this red necks ass.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Around here, PG&E requires the meter and main disconnect to be accessible from the exterior. I don't remember exactly where the requirement is written.

    In coastal areas, the builder will often put the service equipment panel in an exterior closet that has a weatherstripped door. This does not prevent rust, but certainly will reduce it. Proper clearances need to be maintained, but as far as I know, there is nothing that prohibits it.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    No direct NEC prohibition against that placement.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Custom for homes built since the early 80's around here is to put the box somewhere on the outside or in the garage. I've been told that ii is an unwritten agreement between fire departments and builders so that firemen don't have to run all over a house looking for the panel, but I've never bothered to confirm it.

    Mine is in the garage.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  5. #5
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    Smile Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by stanley frost View Post
    Ok I'm sure you guys up north will have an ansewer for this.
    Is there a special panel box needed if you want the main panel located inside the building envelope? Down here we don't have the 12' of snow to worry about, however, we do have a lot of salt in the air. Houses that are built right on the Gulf of Mexico, or right behind the sand dunes, have a real problem with corrision. I inspected a house that was three years old and the main panel boxes were so rusted I couldn't open them. When i talked to the builder and suggested they put the panels in the garage he called me a stupid f*@#*ing yankee and walked away. Are there fire codes that prohibit this? Please help so i can go kick this red necks ass.
    Hi Stan,

    In the Chicagoland area it is most common to have the meter outside and panel inside. Nothing special about the panel. Typical main breaker service rated and that is it. Maybe MLO service rated if there is an outdoor disconnect (some local municipalties require outdoor disconnects, most do not).

    The panels are often located in garages, mud rooms, back halls, kitchens and basements (oh, you're from Texas - a basement is an area under the 1st floor and can be 8, 10 or more feet deep. Many noises come from the basement that freak people out. Also a great place to collect extra rain water as it seeps through the foundation)

    In regards to the builder's "Yankee" remark, he knows the war is over, right? And we won.

    Be well, hope this helps.

    Corey


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Corey Friedman View Post
    Hi Stan,

    In regards to the builder's "Yankee" remark, he knows the war is over, right? And we won.

    Be well, hope this helps.

    Corey
    Corey, would that be The War of Northern Aggression?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    In the great White North, winners of the War of 1812 always put the breaker panel inside where it should be. If firemen need to cut power, they could pull the meter, or just smash it with an axe.

    Saltwater corrosion on connections could actually cause a fire, so who's the dumass?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  8. #8
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    Smile Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Corey, would that be The War of Northern Aggression?
    Hi Scott,

    You'all (or is it all-you'all ?) can call it whatever you want.

    I think there are some victory cigars still floatin' around up here. Do you want me to send you'all one?

    Be well

    Corey


  9. #9
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    No direct NEC prohibition against that placement.
    I second Jim. Gotta believe all utilities require exterior metering for reading access. If the main disconnecting means is not at the meter, that means unfused / unprotected service entrance wire between the meter and the interior location. In Washington State that distance is limited to a maximum of 15' - - - no such limitation with the NEC. Placing the panel indoor makes sense and is logical - - - both are conditions a red-neck would not understand. Outdoor panels / elec. equipment are required to be NEMA 3R, ( rain-tight ), rated which does increase cost in addition to the undesirable moisture and/or salt air exposure.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    It's just an indoor panel as opposed to a NEMA3 outdoor panel. There is nothing special about them.

    With regard to the ignorant Yankee comment, it doesn't surprise me. I was in Tx once for a week. It didn't take long for someone to make completely unwarranted and unprovoked snide ignorant redneck "Yankee" comments to me.
    You can have Tx, I would not go bake to that hell hole if I you paid me. Lets just hope they secede soon so the average IQ in this country can go up 20 or 30 points.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    I
    With regard to the ignorant Yankee comment, it doesn't surprise me. I was in Tx once for a week. It didn't take long for someone to make completely unwarranted and unprovoked snide ignorant redneck "Yankee" comments to me.
    You can have Tx, I would not go bake to that hell hole if I you paid me. Lets just hope they secede soon so the average IQ in this country can go up 20 or 30 points.
    One person makes a comment and you black ball an entire state... wonder why some think northerners have an attitude?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  12. #12
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    One person makes a comment and you black ball an entire state... wonder why some think northerners have an attitude?
    I think all those damn Yankees need to just stay where they are. They are a bunch of rude ignorant arrogant pack of fools!!!!!

    Oh wait. I lived in the Commonwealth state for 36 years up there in the North East. I almost forgot.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I think all those damn Yankees need to just stay where they are. They are a bunch of rude ignorant arrogant pack of fools!!!!!

    Oh wait. I lived in the Commonwealth state for 36 years up there in the North East. I almost forgot.
    Well now, that might explain some things!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    or just smash it with an axe.
    "smash it with an axe"?

    You ARE kidding ... right (of course you are, you used a big grinning face, I'm just making sure no one really thinks a fireman will smash a meter with their axe).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    No, it was a joke. Firemen smash holes in buildings with axes.
    Any firemen reading this - Smashing the glass on a meter will not turn off the power.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    One person makes a comment and you black ball an entire state... wonder why some think northerners have an attitude?
    Did I say just one??? I said it didn't take long for one...
    There were several incidents once folks found out where I was from. I don't/didn't have a heavy NY accent, but I also didn't have a Tx drawl either. It seems MANY folks down there have a real problem with outsiders, I might even say anyone not from Tx, but absolutely anyone from the northeast.

    Also, my personal experiences just solidified what you hear from folks and see on TV, the news, articles, etc.
    It's no secret many folks from the south are like this, same way that it's no secret that many folks from the NY/NJ metro area are complete assholes.

    Austin was cool and pretty much everyone was nice, but I heard that was a pretty progressive city. I was in Huston, San Antonio and Austin in August and it was STUPID HOT. How anyone can exist like that, or even further south, is beyond me. I am/was used to 90-95 deg and 95% humidity, but that was just insane.


  17. #17
    jason schatz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    no such limitation with the NEC.

    NEC doesn't have a quantitative distance limitation, but does require that the main disconnect (if inside) be as near as possible to the to the point of entrance of the service conductors.

    also requires if there are multiple disconnects for a building (multi-family) that they are all grouped together


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Stanley,
    East coasters in the cities often have both the meter and all service panels located inside the house and usually located in the basement along with the gas meter. Meters were read once a month by elect comp meter reader. Oddly enough you would leave the basement door unlocked on that day and thought nothing of it. It was sometime in the 60's that people started being concerned with the security issue. By the 70's more doors were locked. Some people would have the meters moves to the exterior (at a cost) as a personal convenience to not deal with having the meter read. Today Most all meters inside the homes have been switched out to meters with remote reading capabilities.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah the good old days when you could trust your neighbor. But then you had less crap to steal.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    Did I say just one??? I said it didn't take long for one...
    There were several incidents once folks found out where I was from. I don't/didn't have a heavy NY accent, but I also didn't have a Tx drawl either. It seems MANY folks down there have a real problem with outsiders, I might even say anyone not from Tx, but absolutely anyone from the northeast.

    Also, my personal experiences just solidified what you hear from folks and see on TV, the news, articles, etc.
    It's no secret many folks from the south are like this, same way that it's no secret that many folks from the NY/NJ metro area are complete assholes.

    Austin was cool and pretty much everyone was nice, but I heard that was a pretty progressive city. I was in Huston, San Antonio and Austin in August and it was STUPID HOT. How anyone can exist like that, or even further south, is beyond me. I am/was used to 90-95 deg and 95% humidity, but that was just insane.
    I can agree with you on the heat, no argument.

    But intelligence because a few outspoken jerks ribbed you, come on.
    You obviously have never experienced the flip side. Try traveling with a Texas drawl to the north... I think you might find a few jerks that categorize and discriminate based on accent. Might even find a few that think because of an accent that intelligence is somehow related. Houston we have a problem...

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    No, it was a joke. Firemen smash holes in buildings with axes.
    Any firemen reading this - Smashing the glass on a meter will not turn off the power.
    Unless you knock the meter head off the wall.


  21. #21

    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Up in the (extreme) northeast panels are put in the garage, basement, or in utility rooms in the house. Sometimes the main disconnect is by the meter and sometimes not. I also find panels in some of the craziest places (inside), but let's not talk about those... I'm sure we have all seen those!


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Corey Friedman View Post
    Hi Scott,

    You'all (or is it all-you'all ?) can call it whatever you want.

    I think there are some victory cigars still floatin' around up here. Do you want me to send you'all one?

    Be well

    Corey
    No doubt that those seegars were made with Virginia or Tennessee tobacco!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Corey Friedman View Post
    Hi Scott,

    You'all (or is it all-you'all ?) can call it whatever you want.

    I think there are some victory cigars still floatin' around up here. Do you want me to send you'all one?

    Be well

    Corey
    That' yall you ignorant yankee!

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  24. #24
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    Wink Re: Main panel located inside

    We believe everyone north of Louisiana are Yankees!
    Damn Yankees are those that have moved here and will not leave!!!

    James Bohac

  25. #25
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    Wink Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by James Bohac View Post
    We believe everyone north of Louisiana are Yankees!
    You seem to be forgetting about 'New York South'

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

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    I just gotta say something about the disparaging of the Great Republic of Texas.

    I was born in the Bronx, NY. My wife and I left there when we were 22. We were in Virginia Beach, VA for the next 14 years. Then Boca Raton, FA for 4 years. Next Dallas / Ft. Worth for 3 years. Lexington, KY was the next stop for 15 years and finally back to VA. Beach in 2005.

    To me there is something very special about TX. I would return there in a heartbeat.

    Now NYC, I won't go back there for wakes or weddings. You can take every road, bridge and tunnel connecting that place, smash them and float that miserable rock out to sea and I would never miss it.

    Wait a minute, I need to get some real food and pastries before NYC gets hull down on the horizon. Belay my last.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Farrell View Post

    Now NYC, I won't go back there for wakes or weddings. You can take every road, bridge and tunnel connecting that place, smash them and float that miserable rock out to sea and I would never miss it.

    Wait a minute, I need to get some real food and pastries before NYC gets hull down on the horizon. Belay my last.
    I am NOT a city boy, but I love NYC. We're going down to a Knicks game in a few weeks.
    I take the train. Watch videos, read blogs or e-books on the way down, sleep on the way back. Painless and comfortable. And the station is a beautiful 15 minute ride from home.

    Now driving down in another nightmare entirely.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by stanley frost View Post
    Ok I'm sure you guys up north will have an ansewer for this.
    Is there a special panel box needed if you want the main panel located inside the building envelope? Down here we don't have the 12' of snow to worry about, however, we do have a lot of salt in the air. Houses that are built right on the Gulf of Mexico, or right behind the sand dunes, have a real problem with corrision. I inspected a house that was three years old and the main panel boxes were so rusted I couldn't open them. When i talked to the builder and suggested they put the panels in the garage he called me a stupid f*@#*ing yankee and walked away. Are there fire codes that prohibit this? Please help so i can go kick this red necks ass.
    Forgive me if this is a stupid question then... why the heck would they put the panel on the exterior in the first place? Is this just local custom, or to save the expense of a separate disconnect, or ? Around here (where it rains 9 months of the year) external panels are extremely uncommon, but when I had my panel and service replaced recently they had to install a huge ugly grey box(probably at least 80% empty space) just for the meter and a little disconnect.

    Re: Yankees, it's a funny term. I have to share this:

    To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
    To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
    To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
    To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
    To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
    To a Vermonter, a Yankee is somebody who still uses an outhouse.

    It seems nobody wants to be called a Yankee.


  29. #29
    Scott Dunavant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Fire departments in St. Louis just pull the meter. Takes 3 seconds. Panels should be inside. What happens when it's raining and you get shocked messing around in a panel. Plus the weather wearing on the panel. I don't know your codes there but may be a home owner can have the main outside and the breakers inside on a 200 amp sub panel.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Dunavant View Post
    Fire departments in St. Louis just pull the meter. Takes 3 seconds.
    An extremely dangerous practice, especially under a load. Their PPE is not rated for the arc flash either.

    Panels should be inside. What happens when it's raining and you get shocked messing around in a panel.
    The panel is grounded and the breaker handles are non-conductive. You should not receive a shock. Also how many times does someone need to reset or turn off a breaker, let alone while it is raining?

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    While the service equipment is allowed to be either inside or outside, my personal preference is to have the service equipment outside ... with the panel inside (excepting breakers in the service equipment panel for things such as condenser units, pool panel, etc.).

    That allows the fire department to shut power off to the structure and begin spraying water on it as soon as possible.

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

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Main panel located inside

    I have not seen fire fighting delayed until power was shut down with few exceptions.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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