Moving Panel

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  #1  
Old 03-14-05, 03:02 PM
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Moving Panel

Hi,

Our circuit breaker panel is outside of our house. This seems very odd to me for the simple fact that if a circuit breaker was tripped during a storm you have to go out into the storm in order to reset it. Our house was only built in 1992 and it seems incredible to me that placing a breaker panel outside would be allowed by building code.

Anyway, I am looking for some advice as to whether or not it is feasible to move this panel to another location (i.e. inside the house). As all of the electrical wiring in the house leads back to the current location is it even possible? Although with enough money I guess most any work on a house is possible.

Any comments?

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-14-05, 04:18 PM
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Any thing is possible if you pay enough money. It would be impossible to say how much without a site survey.
 
  #3  
Old 03-14-05, 04:56 PM
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On the other hand, if you had a fire, it would be really nice to be able to shut off the power after you leave the house (good for the fire department too). And if you have a breaker trip more often than once every few years, you really need to fix something.

I think once you see how much it would cost to move the panel, you'll consider going outside in a storm to reset the breaker to be a very small inconvenience.
 
  #4  
Old 03-15-05, 07:50 AM
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Thanks for the comments John.

Good point on the fire issue and I am sure you are right in that upon hearing the price to relocate I would be perfectly willing to go out in a storm and actually a breaker has never been tripped is the 3.5 years we've lived in the house.

I'm still just having a hard time getting over it being allowed by building code though (just seems to spit in the face of common sense).

Are there any type of panel covers or something that would allow me to put a lock on it? We've got some teenage pranksters in the neighborhood and I would like to take away the temptation to turn off our power for a laugh...
 
  #5  
Old 03-15-05, 11:27 AM
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alynch,

We hear about outdoor panels on a somewhat regular basis here. It is also a puzzlement to me. It seems like a security risk to me. Burglar cuts power silently from outdoors. I watch too much TV, too.

Ordinarily, I think that most things have to have a reason. (Did I mention I watch too much TV?) It may be possible that local codes require this. Is this common as you look at homes in your area? I also agree with John Nelson's statement, though, that if there's a fire it would be better to be able to cut power after you leave the building. I also agree that it could be costly to relocate it.

I'm sure there are mfr's that offer a backless enclosure you can fit over your panel and is lockable. Google enclosure manufacturers - Hoffman, Rittal, Carlon, Intertec, Wiegman. Alternately, you could build a wood frame around your panel and install a hinged door with a padlock hasp.

Hope that helps.

Juice
 
  #6  
Old 03-15-05, 11:49 AM
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Locking your panel won't do you much good in an emergency when you don't have the key with you or can't find it.
 
  #7  
Old 03-15-05, 11:51 AM
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A combination lock maybe?

Juice
 
  #8  
Old 03-15-05, 07:31 PM
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It seems like most panels have a way to lock them. I used to live in a house with an outside panel, and I did have occasional trouble with pranksters (maybe once every five years). It was usually good enough to lock it for a few weeks until they moved on to other mischief. Then I could remove the lock. The lock wouldn't stop anyone determined to get in, but it was enough for the pranksters.
 
  #9  
Old 03-16-05, 04:36 AM
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Lived in Tucson for a while, outdoor panels were very common. I kept a combination lock on ours because of the "lost key" problem, but I kept forgetting the combination (only had to open it a few times in six years). I also thought it was pretty weird having an outdoor panel, but I guess with no basement it was easier to put it outside than deal with maintaining fire ratings if it were put in the garage...
 
  #10  
Old 03-16-05, 07:59 AM
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Thanks to all for the comments...

I notice the major theme here seems to be 'once every few years' and in the three years I've been in the house I've never actually had to open the panel. So I guess I should just stop worrying about it.

Now on to finally mapping the electrical in the house for when I do need to turn off a circuit but that is for another post....
 
  #11  
Old 03-16-05, 08:04 AM
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Firemen could pull the meter and probably do when they can't access the service panel.

What's on the inside wall opposite the exterior service panel? Is there NEC required room in front of the service panel if you mounted it in the inside wall?
 
  #12  
Old 03-16-05, 08:24 AM
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There's nothing on the other side of the wall and no furniture or anything there so, although I have no idea what the NEC required space is, I would imagine it should be fine.

It is the living room though so I wouldn't want to put it there unless I could do something (i.e. hang a picture over it) to camo it up a bit.
 
  #13  
Old 03-16-05, 08:29 AM
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I'd forget about moving it. It's not worth the expense.
 
  #14  
Old 03-16-05, 09:00 AM
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Thinking about the storm question, can you put an awning (like the kind you see over entry doors) over the panel?
 
  #15  
Old 03-16-05, 09:15 AM
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Mr. Chris,

Theoretically I could put an awning over it but then the homeowner's association would lock me in their dungeon & throw away the key.

Guess I'll just have to stick with an umbrella.

Cheers.
 
  #16  
Old 03-17-05, 06:30 AM
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LOL.

Didn't think about that, I live in a 55-year old neighborhood with no HOA.
 
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