Electrical Panel Location Issues

In general an electrical panel must be easily accessible and easy to work on. This is specifically described by the electrical codes but in general they have to be at a height that makes it easy to work on, the door must be open-able so that you can work inside it. It should be at a normal height with room for a person to stand in front of it and get work done (unless the home is designed for someone that uses a wheelchair, you will see them lower than normal). Many of these requirements were not met in older homes, and those placement oddities likely drove the evolution of existing code.

Places you are not allowed to install an electrical panel are in a clothes closet or bathroom. Some exist in these locations and if they were approved by the local code enforcers at the time of construction you don’t have to move them unless you make certain types of changes. They are what is called ‘grandfathered in’. See your code authority for details.

Sometimes I’ve see electrical panels that are completely inaccessible. I’ve seen decks built around electrical panels such that they can’t be opened. I’ve see trim installed around panels such that the front cover can’t be removed for inspection or servicing. Situations like these really need to be fixed.

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