basement: insulating around the electrical panel


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Old 05-19-15, 01:19 PM
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basement: insulating around the electrical panel

I'm finishing (re-insulating) my basement and it's now coming down to the electrical panel. The panel is screwed into 1/4" plywood board, mounted on two vertical 2x4s nailed into concrete wall. The basement is being insulated with 1" XPS on concrete, then 4" framed wall with Roxul mineral wool.

My question is around how the original install was done, and how I should improve on that.

Issue 1 - 2x4s nailed into concrete get frosty in winter. They might eventually rot on contact with concrete. No poly was used behind them.

Issue 2 - I can slide sheets of XPS behind and around the plywood board and the 2x4s holding the panel - but don't have a good way of preventing vapour in the air from getting between the XPS board and 2x4's. If I install rigid XPS and expandable foam around the 2x4s I will prevent them from drying into the inside and possibly accelerate the damage.

One way forward is to remove the panel, finish the wall as I have elsewhere and remount the panel on top. I would call a pro for this job.

Another way is to try to insulate behind the panel with XPS and expandable foam, ignore the fact that 2x4s will eventually take in water from the concrete wall, and frame around it.

What do you think? Pictures attached.

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  #2  
Old 05-19-15, 05:35 PM
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Got a total mess there.
No way should those stud have been on direct contact with the foundation.
1" foam is not even close to what's needed, should have been 2-1/2" then the wall built in front of it.
Wires run through a cut out track in the pored foundation, WTH.
Wiring being run through the middle of a stud!
This had to be a first time DIY doing the wiring.
 
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Old 05-19-15, 07:08 PM
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Personally I wouldn't pull the panel and go that route.
"Another way is to try to insulate behind the panel with XPS and expandable foam, ignore the fact that 2x4s will eventually take in water from the concrete wall, and frame around it."
The wood will also dry to the inside and the blue foam I see, assuming it doesn't have a plastic coating, will dry to the inside.

If the wall area behind that panel is below grade it won't get that cold. If in the future, many years from now, those studs look like they are in trouble, then you can address the issue. Really not much difference between doing it now or then.

Bud
 
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Old 05-19-15, 09:23 PM
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Thanks joecaption. Apart from loosening a few wires from above to remove builder insulation, this is how I got the house a few years back. I was not the first owner. The conduit does go through a rim joist to the outside.
 
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Old 05-19-15, 09:34 PM
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Bud9051, thanks .. I just realized my main concern is the electrical inspection that I'm about to get - although I haven't changed the panel or its supports I wanted to know what might come up that I could fix ahead of the inspection.

Yes, I'm banking on drying both the foam and the wood to the inside. The mineral wool that will go on top of foam will not have poly on top of it, since XPS acts as a water vapour barrier, or nearly so.

Since the panel area will not be finished with drywall or any sort of enclosure, I'll be able to monitor the condition of wood supports and if/when it does get bad, I'll hire someone to reposition it properly. The top 2 feet of that wall are above ground but I believe the foundation is insulated on the outside and the 1" of XPS foam on the inside managed to prevent condensation during -25C / -13F last winter.
 
 

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