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  1. #1
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    Question Main service panel height

    The main service panel is located in garage, bottom of panel is only 28 inches from the floor? I thought that the minimum height requirement for service panels was 36". I am familiar with the minimum work space requirements, but can't seem to find the minimum height requirement.

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  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Wheel chair accessible

    I inspected a home where they built a wood deck on the back of the home. The electric panel was at the exterior before they built the deck. The panel was about 6 inches off the deck. I wrote it up for safety having to be on your knees bending over to work on it. I also thought there was a minimum height but never had to look it up before. I could not write it up for that type of violation from what ever I read.

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  3. #3
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Nothing wrong with that. You may want to try 110.26 but that would be a real stretch.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    The only minimum height above grade I know of is for an outdoor mobile home disconnect which is 24" above grade. I know of no interior minimum height requirements above floor level.


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Wheel chair accessible

    I inspected a home where they built a wood deck on the back of the home. The electric panel was at the exterior before they built the deck. The panel was about 6 inches off the deck. I wrote it up for safety having to be on your knees bending over to work on it. I also thought there was a minimum height but never had to look it up before. I could not write it up for that type of violation from what ever I read.
    That's crazy. I don't care if there's no minimum height in the code. I'd write that up every time.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    This is another recurring problem area of the code that could use some serious attention. I, too, would look at 110.26 and try to establish that a clear working area be established to grade, not to the deck surface. I have seen power companies insist on this clearance for their metering enclosures.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Meter enclosure issues seem to be easier to deal with because the POCOs in our area have established minimum heights. These heights change when a deck or porch is added to a structure causing the service to be relocated higher or to a new location. Here is it 5' to the center of the meter base.


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Not that this is affected by height, but "where in the garage" is the panel located?

    The required working space is required to be clear space, no storage allowed. There is no exception to parking a vehicle in that required working space.

    From the 2008 NEC. (underlining is mine)
    - 110.26 Spaces About Electrical Equipment.
    - - Sufficient access and working space shall be provided and maintained about all electrical equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment.
    - - - (B) Clear Spaces. Working space required by this section shall not be used for storage. When normally enclosed live parts are exposed for inspection or servicing, the working space, if in a passageway or general open space, shall be suitably guarded.

    Some AHJ acknowledge that and some do not. I first had the issue hit me in the face about 15 or so years ago and have been pushing it since then. I was inspecting a home being sold as part of a divorce, the husband was out of state and the wife was home. The husband's car was parked in its parking space in the garage in front of the electrical panel installed in the side wall of the garage, there was only about 6" between the side of his car and the electrical panel cover, insufficient working space.

    After that, on new construction inspections I started pointing that out, such as 'What if there is a rain storm or a storm of any type and you trip a breaker or need to turn a breaker off? You will need to open the garage door and back the car out, then run back into the garage, just so you can now get to the panel. The code clearly states: (bold red text is mine)
    - 110.26 Spaces About Electrical Equipment.
    - - Sufficient access and working space shall be provided and maintained about all electrical equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment.
    - - - (B) Clear Spaces. Working space required by this section shall not be used for storage.

    And there is NO exception for vehicle storage.

    The AHJ who do not recognize this issue laugh and say "Just back the car out.", to which I ask "What if there is not time, or it is not safe to *just back the car out*", they never have an answer for that other than "I am the AHJ here and *I* am allowing it."

    The last attachment is of an e-mail I received regarding this issue, one person CAN cause others to re-think an issue and have an effect all over.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Not that this is affected by height, but "where in the garage" is the panel located?

    The required working space is required to be clear space, no storage allowed. There is no exception to parking a vehicle in that required working space.

    From the 2008 NEC. (underlining is mine)
    - 110.26 Spaces About Electrical Equipment.
    - - Sufficient access and working space shall be provided and maintained about all electrical equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment.
    - - - (B) Clear Spaces. Working space required by this section shall not be used for storage. When normally enclosed live parts are exposed for inspection or servicing, the working space, if in a passageway or general open space, shall be suitably guarded.

    Some AHJ acknowledge that and some do not. I first had the issue hit me in the face about 15 or so years ago and have been pushing it since then. I was inspecting a home being sold as part of a divorce, the husband was out of state and the wife was home. The husband's car was parked in its parking space in the garage in front of the electrical panel installed in the side wall of the garage, there was only about 6" between the side of his car and the electrical panel cover, insufficient working space.

    After that, on new construction inspections I started pointing that out, such as 'What if there is a rain storm or a storm of any type and you trip a breaker or need to turn a breaker off? You will need to open the garage door and back the car out, then run back into the garage, just so you can now get to the panel. The code clearly states: (bold red text is mine)
    - 110.26 Spaces About Electrical Equipment.
    - - Sufficient access and working space shall be provided and maintained about all electrical equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment.
    - - - (B) Clear Spaces. Working space required by this section shall not be used for storage.

    And there is NO exception for vehicle storage.

    The AHJ who do not recognize this issue laugh and say "Just back the car out.", to which I ask "What if there is not time, or it is not safe to *just back the car out*", they never have an answer for that other than "I am the AHJ here and *I* am allowing it."

    The last attachment is of an e-mail I received regarding this issue, one person CAN cause others to re-think an issue and have an effect all over.
    That would kill about every panel installation in every garage I have been in. I guess I should have written up every panel I ever inspected in a garage for lack of working space.

    Two car garage. Maybe 20 feet wide. Panel in garage. Two cars parked in the garage. No working space for electric panel.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    That would kill about every panel installation in every garage I have been in. I guess I should have written up every panel I ever inspected in a garage for lack of working space.

    Two car garage. Maybe 20 feet wide. Panel in garage. Two cars parked in the garage. No working space for electric panel.

    The easy solution is, for those garages which have raised slabs at one end, such as next to the house wall, where you step up onto the floor level, if the panel is placed on a side wall, or the house wall, that gives the required working space (depending on the depth of the slab).

    Another thing to consider with electrical panels in garage, as well as other equipment in garages, is that the garage floor is required to be at or above BFE and DFE (base flood elevation and design flood elevation) as the exception which allows garage floors to be lower only applies for vehicle storage and incidental storage, if used for *any other purpose*, that exception no longer applies.

    If your area is like most of where I inspected (in South Florida) the builders are fighting ever extra inch of height as that requires more fill and/or more concrete, and they specify intend to *just* meet DFE, with the garage lower ... then they put water heater, electrical equipment, etc., in the garage and blow the exception which allows for the garage to be lower, now the garages are too low.

    Also, just because 'they all do it that way' does not mean we should accept it that way, it simply means 'it takes more effort on our part to change the way they do it'. I was always up for staying on those front lines, pushing the builders and code inspector to 'do it right', my clients liked it and were willing to pay well for it.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The easy solution is, for those garages which have raised slabs at one end, such as next to the house wall, where you step up onto the floor level, if the panel is placed on a side wall, or the house wall, that gives the required working space (depending on the depth of the slab).

    Another thing to consider with electrical panels in garage, as well as other equipment in garages, is that the garage floor is required to be at or above BFE and DFE (base flood elevation and design flood elevation) as the exception which allows garage floors to be lower only applies for vehicle storage and incidental storage, if used for *any other purpose*, that exception no longer applies.

    If your area is like most of where I inspected (in South Florida) the builders are fighting ever extra inch of height as that requires more fill and/or more concrete, and they specify intend to *just* meet DFE, with the garage lower ... then they put water heater, electrical equipment, etc., in the garage and blow the exception which allows for the garage to be lower, now the garages are too low.

    Also, just because 'they all do it that way' does not mean we should accept it that way, it simply means 'it takes more effort on our part to change the way they do it'. I was always up for staying on those front lines, pushing the builders and code inspector to 'do it right', my clients liked it and were willing to pay well for it.
    The only problem with al that Jerry is at a few thousand or so to change the millions of electric panels from the side wall of the garage to the back wall of the garage is what is keeping it from being changed.

    I have always thought since the first time I saw an electric panel outside a home was about the stupidist thing I ever saw.

    Stand in puddle outside in the rain. Turn breaker back on while soaked from head to toe including the hand being stuck into that metal cabinet to turn the breaker on. As well as stand in puddle. Pull cover open. Test to see if panel cover is alive or not

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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    The only problem with al that Jerry is at a few thousand or so to change the millions of electric panels from the side wall of the garage to the back wall of the garage is what is keeping it from being changed.

    If caught and addressed during plan review, or then at time of installation, the cost to relocate the panel is minimal, maybe even less than $100 in most cases.

    After-the-fact, yeah, all you can do it point it out, and, by pointing it out, that may eventually get new construction changed at, if not before, plan review.

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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Jerry, sometimes you just read to deep into what the code says.

    I will continue to allow service panels in the garage. Either that or we can let them install them in a bedroom closet and call it a service panel area where items are placed. This area is not a storage area or closet...it is an area awaiting a final destination of its use. It's all about what one thinks (interpretation) it says!

    The code doesn't say you can't install a service panel in an area where items are awaiting final destination!


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    The code doesn't say you can't install a service panel in an area where items are awaiting final destination!
    The code does, however, state that the REQUIRED working space in front of electrical equipment ... how did the code put it ... oh, yeah ... "shall not be used for storage", so, ...

    Regardless of what you are waiting on, that area "shall not be used for storage" - it is your job to make sure that such use IS NOT the intended use.

    Once the house is signed off and the CO is given, granted, you lose control of what it will be used for, but WHEN THE INTENDED USE is going to be "for storage", it is your job to make sure that the "intended use" changes.

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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    The code doesn't say you can't install a service panel in an area where items are awaiting final destination!

    So, you will allow electric panels in "clothes closets" as long as there are no clothes in those "electrical rooms" at the time, right?



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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    This panel was located at the side of the garage. All of the wires were fed from the top so it would be very easy so raise it. However being that there is no minimum height requirement and it currently meets accessibility requirements, I will not be calling it out for correction. Thanks for the help guys.


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    "shall not be used for storage",

    I'm not using the garage to store the automobile! I'm using it as a place to locate the automobile until it is needed. I'm getting older and if I located the car anywhere els I may forget where it is. So I am not storing it!

    JP said "So, you will allow electric panels in "clothes closets" as long as there are no clothes in those "electrical rooms" at the time, right?"

    Hey! It's not a clothes closet, it's an area where items are awaiting a final destination.

    Same thing as determining that an automobile is considered a stored item! Storage is more of a permanant use not temporary.


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    "shall not be used for storage",

    I'm not using the garage to store the automobile! I'm using it as a place to locate the automobile until it is needed. I'm getting older and if I located the car anywhere els I may forget where it is. So I am not storing it!
    You are "storing it" where you will be able to find it. You are, however, "storing it".

    JP said "So, you will allow electric panels in "clothes closets" as long as there are no clothes in those "electrical rooms" at the time, right?"

    Hey! It's not a clothes closet, it's an area where items are awaiting a final destination.
    So, your answer IS "Yes, I will allow electrical panels to be installed in a clothes closet where there are no clothes in there."

    After all, how many times do you find clothes in clothes closets during plan review, underground electrical inspection, rough electrical inspection, or even final electrical inspection.

    Same thing as determining that an automobile is considered a stored item! Storage is more of a permanant use not temporary.
    Do you not "store" your car/truck in your garage "overnight" while not "in use". You also "store" your car/truck in your garage during the weekend when not using it.

    Do you not "store" you second car in your garage while using your primary car?

    I have seen many cars in garages being worked on, i.e., repaired, rebuilt, restored, such that the cars cannot be moved as they are up on blocks. One such case was when a seller was restoring a Model A in his garage, up on blocks, and which blocked access to the panel.

    Garages are used for the "storage of vehicles" while not they "in use".

    Like some of those other AHJ, you are trying to defend an indefensible stance, with the final answer being, as I stated in a post above:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck
    The AHJ who do not recognize this issue laugh and say "Just back the car out.", to which I ask "What if there is not time, or it is not safe to *just back the car out*", they never have an answer for that other than "I am the AHJ here and *I* am allowing it."
    I would not have thought of you as "one of them".

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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Yep! I'm one of "them"! Along with every inspector in the United States except for maybe a handful that you have brainwashed into your way of thinking.

    Sorry, I'm not buying into this one! I believe the intent does not include automobiles.

    You and I will agree to disagree on this one.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    Jerry, sometimes you just read to deep into what the code says.

    I will continue to allow service panels in the garage. Either that or we can let them install them in a bedroom closet and call it a service panel area where items are placed. This area is not a storage area or closet...it is an area awaiting a final destination of its use. It's all about what one thinks (interpretation) it says!

    The code doesn't say you can't install a service panel in an area where items are awaiting final destination!
    Overcurrent protective devices are prohibited from being installed in clothes closets.


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Warner View Post
    Overcurrent protective devices are prohibited from being installed in clothes closets.
    I know, I was just being facetious.


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Jerry

    The garage. Cannot get beside the car enough to turn a breaker off ????

    Just the distance from the edge of the garage door to the wall even in tiny garages is enough to get to a panel to turn a breaker off unless you are one of those with a 2 foot ars and cannot fit in a 12 inch space (then you need to go on the veggie diet). If it needs work on it then back the car out.

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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    You guys need to quit distracting Jerry from his insanity

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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Jerry

    The garage. Cannot get beside the car enough to turn a breaker off ????

    Just the distance from the edge of the garage door to the wall even in tiny garages is enough to get to a panel to turn a breaker off unless you are one of those with a 2 foot ars and cannot fit in a 12 inch space (then you need to go on the veggie diet). If it needs work on it then back the car out.

    Ted,

    Let me understand this, ... you are saying that there is no need for that required working space REGARDLESS WHERE IT IS LOCATED?

    Interesting concept, just slip in there and flip breakers, remove the cover, play with the wires, and, if you survive, take two aspirins and call us in the morning. Sheesh!

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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Never said that Mr Jerry

    I also said in an earlier post I know where you are coming from.

    But

    Working space yes. Move the car.

    To shut a breaker off more than enough room.

    If someone is going to work on the panel. I would assume someone is calling an electrician. If they cannot move the car in the hours before he (she) gets there then I guess we have a problem. Space to home owner. If it is not moved before the electrician gets there then they can move it when he gets there. If they don't move it then the electrician charges them a trip charge and goes to the next job.

    If a home owner wants to get to it to "work" then on it then he can move his own car to get to it.

    As I say I am understanding your meaning of the code or the code itself but I also think that it really does not apply as, like I said, turn breaker off, enough room. WORK ON PANEL ?? (SOMEONE HAS TO KNOW BEFORE IT HAPPENS). MOVE THE CAR.

    Get o is one thing. Work on is another. The panel is on fire. Call the fire department, move the car. The house shuts down, call the electrician, move the car. Turn off breaker, jump on hood of car.

    Edit here

    Jump on Jaguar hood, shut off breaker

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 02-12-2009 at 07:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Never said that Mr Jerry

    I also said in an earlier post I know where you are coming from.

    But

    Working space yes. Move the car.

    That is what you are missing ... the car cannot always be "moved".

    Thus, that space needs to be, as with all working spaces, kept clean of storage.

    If someone is going to work on the panel. I would assume someone is calling an electrician. If they cannot move the car in the hours before he (she) gets there then I guess we have a problem.
    Now you are starting to get it.

    If it is not moved before the electrician gets there then they can move it when he gets there.
    Not always.

    If they don't move it then the electrician charges them a trip charge and goes to the next job.
    Nope, you are still not getting it.

    The car cannot be moved. The electrician cannot come back. The work NEEDS TO BE DONE THEN.

    You know, like if a clothes washer or clothes dryer were installed below the panel ... would you expect them to move the clothes washer or clothes dryer, or would you write it up as it should not be there? After all, a clothes washer or a clothes dryer are *REAL EASY* to move.

    If a home owner wants to get to it to "work" then on it then he can move his own car to get to it.
    Good, so you do not write up the clothes washer or the clothes dryer as they are easy to move and, if the home owner wants the work, they should "just move them" ... got it. I'll have to make a personal note of that new exception.

    [quote]Jaguar hood ... [quote]

    Nah, you only do that when the dang thing does not start.

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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Trent;

    The height of the top breaker can not be over 6 ft 7 in (2.0 m) off the floor per 404.8(A) of thr NEC.

    Frank Mauck


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    Trent;

    The height of the top breaker can not be over 6 ft 7 in (2.0 m) off the floor per 404.8(A) of thr NEC.

    Frank Mauck
    See the original post. He was looking for minimum height, not max.

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    See the original post. He was looking for minimum height, not max.

    John;

    The code does not have a minimum height.


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Jerry, have you lost all of your common sense part of your brain?

    You just don't get ot do you?

    "askcodeman"? Yeah you can ask him but you may get some really far stretched answer that does not pertain to the real world.

    You remind me of that guy walking around with the tin-foil hat with little antennas coming out of it........haummmmmmmmm....microwave are passing through my brain...........haummmmmmmmm.........ET phone home!

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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    Jerry, have you lost all of your common sense part of your brain?...
    Jerry's argument sounds pretty logical to me. I'll admit I never thought of it, but I'll think of it now.

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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Uh Oh! Another one bites the dust!


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    "askcodeman"? Yeah you can ask him but you may get some really far stretched answer that does not pertain to the real world.

    Wayne,

    You are beginning to sound like Jeff now.

    First, there is code and only code and if it does not meet the code it is not compliant.

    Then there was that 'Well, the AHJ has to be able to say what they want regardless of what the code says' thing.

    More recently it was back to 'This is what the code says and that's the only way to do it.'

    You need to make up your mind: are you going to: A) do it Wayne's Way; or B) do it the way the code says?

    You lose all credibility when, in one instance you stand steadfastly on the code language and there is no other way, then in another instance say you don't like the code language thus you will do it this other way.

    I am pointing out what the code says, and giving you examples of why it says what it says. You, on the other hand, are just stating that you disagree with what it says and that you will do it your way - that is your right, but your inconsistencies lose you credibility when you then come back spouting code and saying there is no other way.

    Either there is *no other way* or *there are other ways* - *YOU* get to chose, just make sure you like your choice before stating it is your final answer. Life lines are available should you decide to use one.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    I'm not inconsistent. This is an interpretation. In your opinion an automobile violates the code when parked within the working space. I don't agree with that. Just because you see it one way and I see it the other way does not mean that you are right in your interpretation.

    You don't have a violation when a service panel is located in the garage. In your opinion when a car is located within the working space it is in violation. I don't see it that way.

    Storage is more of a permanent use. A car is not permanently stored. Now I will agree that if an old clunker that doesn't run, set up on blocks and is located within the working space then I say yes, it's a violation. But just parking a car in the garage that is operative...no way.

    All in the interpretation.

    Storage
    Non-transitory, semi-permanent or long-term, containment, holding, leaving, or placement of goods or materials, usually with the intention of retrieving them at a later time. It does not include the interim accumulation of a limited amount during processing, maintenance, or repair.



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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    I agree with Jerry's reasoning. If it is code, it should be flagged in our reports. Whenever I encounter this condition, I insert a photograph and a written explanation in my delivered report why this is a safety hazard.

    I also explain to my clients, that we while we are not doing a code compliant inspection (not required in Michigan), we are familiar with code and and will point out code violations. That said, it is the client's decision to make an issue of our observations.

    We, as HI's have completed our responsibility to our clients, in that we have pointed out a "safety hazard" and a code violation.

    Addressing another electric service panel access concern is the service panel installed behind a sump pump crock. What are they thinking?

    Derek Lewis


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Your definition is from the internet, here are some other definitions from the internet:

    - A residential garage is part of a home, or an associated building, designed or used for storing a vehicle or vehicles. In some places the term is used synonymously with "carport", though that term normally describes a structure that is not completely enclosed.

    - A building (or section of a building) used to store a car, tools and other miscellaneous items;

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    OK, so I was going to ignore all this but I just cannot help it.

    This is one of those cases where the absolute mass majority rules. I said a couple times earlier that I understand where Jerrys reasoning is coming from but do to the fact that every jurisdiction in the United states and more than likely every other country allows the electric panel to be placed inside the garage on the side walls.

    You just cannot ignore that absolute fact. Yes it is an absolute fact that more than likely every jurisdiction in the United states allows this.

    Stating that absolute fact then one would have to surmise that even if one were to understand Jerry reasoning that it is out of control with the absolute, indisputable masses.

    Sorry Jerry and those that wish to fight against the masses and write it up but I have to say, with the backing of thousands (who knows how many) many thousands you are wrong to write it uo UNLESS

    They are stored boxes, broken down dissembled lawn mowers, car parts, shelving, fifteen old dissembled bicycles etc. etc. etc.

    OR

    An automobile that has been rendered immobile with locked up breaks, four flat tiles, up on blocks or cannot readily be backed out of the garage. Such a more permanently stored item that is not being planned to move for some time.

    The intent of the code is being followed folks. In full. The car can be moved. If a home owner destroys that intent then, oh well, so what, cannot be helped. No one can count on what homeowner does in the future. Anywhere in the home or outside of the home goods could be stored and have to be moved to work on the interior of the panel. That is half the homes I inspect, inside or out. I guess a panel should never be outside because you know for a fact someone IS going to plant a bush in front of it. That happens with half the exterior panels. There is nothing dangerous even with a home owner reaching around something to shut off a breaker. If he chooses to store goods in front of it then , come on, what are you going to do? Send the access police for electric panels around to everyones home to make sure they are compliant.

    Jerry believes that to be put on the back wall of the garage where it steps up is a wiser choice to put the panel. I say, absolutely not, period, no ifs ands or buts. The is they most likely place to store goods, stand up shelves blocking it completely with hundreds of pounds of tools and goods on it. THE most likely place to store goods. It is extremely difficult to store goods on the sides of most garages do to the lack of space, sometimes only a foot. But guess what. That foot is enough to get to the panel to turn off a breaker. If the panel needs work then move the car. If the car died then jump it, pull it, push it. If the panel needs work there will be hours, maybe days before an electrician will be there.

    The intent of the code is followed. The rear of the garage where they store goods takes that intent away.

    Just my lengthly opinion. Sometimes things go to far.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Ted,

    Your entire rant is based on the premise that each and every AHJ has thought about the location of the panel in the garage and the fact that cars are stored in the working space in which no storage is allowed.

    That premise is flawed because 'Just because it is done" does not mean "It was done with full knowledge and thought" of what was being done.

    After all, the reason why codes keep changing is because think of things and realize that the status quo for doing things is flawed, and only through a code change can that be addressed.

    It happens so many times in every single code in every single code cycle that to think otherwise can only lead one to presume that such a person much be deaf, dumb, blind, and not paying attention to anything which goes on around them.

    I really do not think you are one of those people, are you?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ted,

    Your entire rant is based on the premise that each and every AHJ has thought about the location of the panel in the garage and the fact that cars are stored in the working space in which no storage is allowed.

    That premise is flawed because 'Just because it is done" does not mean "It was done with full knowledge and thought" of what was being done.

    After all, the reason why codes keep changing is because think of things and realize that the status quo for doing things is flawed, and only through a code change can that be addressed.

    It happens so many times in every single code in every single code cycle that to think otherwise can only lead one to presume that such a person much be deaf, dumb, blind, and not paying attention to anything which goes on around them.

    I really do not think you are one of those people, are you?
    Is that an attempt to embarrass me and change my mind in to not agreeing with the world that this is the best of all choices as to where to put a panel in a home then I think you might want to rethink that one.
    You are in the extreme minority as to the best out of the choices in a garage to put a panel. Not just tiny majority, the mass majority. When I say majority I mean almost all that install and just about all that inspect and pass. Jerry, I agreed with your thought process but not with the actual choice. I was polite about it and then explained facts and reason. I did not say

    "Jerry you ignorant, blind, deaf and dumb and totally unaware of the goings on around them fool. Could you possibly be one of them????"

    Now that would not be very nice now would it. Trying to embarrass you to change your mind. That is what most folks do that cannot achieve something a certain way so they resort to embarrassing or insults.

    Nope. That aint you now is it. You would never do that. You would just respect differences of opinions.

    I thought so.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
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    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

  40. #40
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Ted,

    Your entire premise is flawed.

    You apparently missed this entire part of my post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ted,

    Your entire rant is based on the premise that each and every AHJ has thought about the location of the panel in the garage and the fact that cars are stored in the working space in which no storage is allowed.

    That premise is flawed because 'Just because it is done" does not mean "It was done with full knowledge and thought" of what was being done.

    After all, the reason why codes keep changing is because think of things and realize that the status quo for doing things is flawed, and only through a code change can that be addressed.

    It happens so many times in every single code in every single code cycle ...
    And why does it happen?

    Is it because THE MASS MAJORITY thought of it? Nope.

    Is it because ONE OR TWO PEOPLE thought of it and make others think of it? Yep.

    I do not mind at all being the ONE OR TWO PEOPLE thinking of it and making the other think of it. Know why? Because THAT IS WHERE CHANGING THINGS STARTS, it does not start with the mass majority, they are either blissfully ignorant of it or simply have not thought about it (there is a difference between those two).

    When I become part of the mass majority, it will be time for me to say 'You know what, I was thinking about (insert unknown here) and did you ever stop to think that (insert unknown here) this is not allowed/unsafe/whatever.

    Think about it, are you satisfied being one of the mass majority or would you rather be one of the thinkers who make people think about what they have either taken for granted or have been simply oblivious to?

    Think outside the box? Huh, what box? I don't see a box. Are you in a box?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    I'm curious as to where "Not just tiny majority, the mass majority. When I say majority I mean almost all that install and just about all that inspect and pass." are at. I've worked in the northern Illinois suburbs for years as well as the northern wisconsin area and can count on one hand the number of service panels I've seen inside garages on side walls, so I don't know if the majority of AHJ's, or HI's see it, miss it, discount it, or if many of the electricians in the area just don't think it makes good sense.


  42. #42
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    If the panel were on an inside wall an exterior disconnect or some other means to keep the unfused cable "as short as practical" would still be needed. This method would still require working space. Locating the panel in the outside wall avoids this along with the extra cost and work.


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    It seems to be a bit of a challenge to exit a car that is parked closer than 3 ft. to a wall. As to what might happen later ... well, one cannot make things 'future proof.'

    About the only area that's guaranteed to remain free from storage or obstructions is next to the toilet


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Trent,

    Accessibility height is minimum of 15" AFF. ( Reach Ranges) The panel you are referring is not compliant, ADA is not applicable to private residence as well unless HUD or another housing authority that is subject to Title II.

    Accessibility Specialist in Texas


  45. #45
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    Talking Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    About the only area that's guaranteed to remain free from storage or obstructions is next to the toilet
    Where am I supposed to store the reading material now?


  46. #46
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Trent, try article 240.24 in the NEC, maybe this will help?


  47. #47
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by R Gann View Post
    Trent, try article 240.24 in the NEC, maybe this will help?
    240.24 establishes a MAXIMUM height, but not a minimum height.
    Other than 550.32(F) for mobile home outside disconnecting means height requirements (minimum 24 inches above grade - for snow accumulation, most likely-) I know of no other provision in the NEC.


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Jerry's interpretation is absolutely correct and logical.


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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    It seems like we don't have a good picture of the dimensions of the garage. I have seen lots of garage designs where the working space issue is not an issue.. If it is barely a one car garage then there should be a concern for the working space requirements even though the NEC is not crystal clear on this issue..

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

  50. #50
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    It seems like we don't have a good picture of the dimensions of the garage. I have seen lots of garage designs where the working space issue is not an issue.. If it is barely a one car garage then there should be a concern for the working space requirements even though the NEC is not crystal clear on this issue..
    Or even barely a two-car garage.

    I've seen some garage with actual wall space from the garage wall to the garage door opening, sometimes 2, 3, 4 feet or more.

    One side of my garage has 2 feet to the wall from the edge of the garage door, the sprinkler pump is located there, so I lined that wall with shelves 16 inches deep, then at the last 6 feet installed 2 foot deep kitchen base cabinets with kitchen upper cabinets above, those cabinets also line the back wall of my garage.

    However, the other side of my garage has may a foot between the wall and the garage door, which allowed me to install pegboard and hang tools there, however, ... (yes, this was on the in$pection report) ... my electrical panel (in fact, my service equipment) is on that wall about a foot back from the garage door (so the garage door track is not in the working space- barely) and my panel is (gulp!) an FPE (have not changed it yet).

    So, as you said, it all depends on the configuration of the garage

    That close wall only goes about 10 feet, then steps back about 6 feet - they could easily have installed the panel there.

    I've inspected many garage where there was a 3 foot deep raised landing at the house end, where the door swung out over, and where the electrical panel was located.

    Many garages have no problem accommodating the electrical panel if it is located properly in the garage as there is actually space for it and its working space without any concern about the same space being used for car storage, but in those really small and tight garages? Not a chance.

    I am just bringing it up to make everyone aware of it and to think about it and its consequences.

    Our house here is a 1978 house, the house we had in South Florida was a 1975 house, its panel was located in the laundry room, and to access it you had to sit on top of the clothes washer! At the time, the thinking was, not unlike the thinking today of many regarding cars, 'it is easy to move'.

    Times they are a changing, continually, and today anyone who tried to install an electrical panel where the clothes washer goes would be laughed out of the building department until they got some common sense. At some point in time in the future that will hold true with garages and cars and the required working space.

    I am a patient person who trudges along slowly, making small waves, no need to overturn the boat, just rock it gently. And if you fall asleep in the boat, I just kick the side of it making a loud banging noise, wakes you up every time.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Main service panel height

    Mr Jerry

    How are you today??

    I just wanted to add my little piece in here. Just cause I said that the sidewall is the best spot it does not mean always. There very well may be other spots in the garage depending on the size of the garage. I have seen garages so tight you could barely squeeze your butt down beside the garage. Just becase my argument said the side wall is the best place for it does not mean it is always the best place for it. That can be said about the interior of the home, the exterior of the home etc. The basic 2 car gargae generally has enough room to walk down the side of your vehicle but usually not enough room to store and walk down beside.

    There is no absolute in any decision making as to the best place to put equipment of any kind. That other thread about being in the bathroom (to me) is a foolish idea. It appears that half think its ok and the other half don't. If you have to play ring around the rosy with the code and find the exact area of code that will suit ones purpose for putting something somewhere and there are still to many what ifs, then put it somewhere else. I am sure there are countless areas in that building to put a small panel closet or just a room where it would be more suited, Putting a panel in a bathroom with the what ifs flying all over the place is the most perfect reason for it not to be allowed.

    Oh yeah. I see you and Roland agrreing on some items lately. Gees. It was just getting interesting.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
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    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

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