basement remodel code question

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Old 11-10-05, 05:58 AM
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basement remodel code question

Hi All,

In my basement there is a service panel in a utility room sharing an interior wall with a half bath, both rooms open up into the finished basement. My wife wants to half the size of the utility room and extend the interior wall of the bathroom into the utility room, and make basically a 6'x4' closet that would have the service panel in it, the closet would then be technilcally in the bathroom. The bottom line is there would be a closet inside a bathroom with a 125A service panel inside. This bathroom would not have a shower, just tub, toilet and sink, well vented. Would we be able to get a permit for this?

Thanks for the advice
 
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Old 11-10-05, 06:36 AM
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No. You'll have to move the panel. If there are a lot of circuits in the panel, that could be quite expensive and difficult. Might depend on how badly your wife wants this change.
 
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Old 11-10-05, 07:06 AM
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Sometimes wording is everything.

The specific rules (2002 NEC 230.70(2) and 240.24(E) ) prohibit having service disconnection means and overcurrent protection devices in bathrooms. Makes good sense to me; ya don't want someone standing in the tub flipping breakers

Article 100 defines what a bathroom is: A area including a basin with one or more of the following: a toilet, a tub, or a shower.

If you move walls so that the closet closet door opens into the bathroom, then IMHO the closet becomes part of the bathroom and you can't have the panelboard there.

But if you make a closet that opens into the main basement space, then IMHO you have _not_ made this closet part of the bathroom. Even if the only thing that you store in this closet is bathroom related supplies and it is clearly the closet associated with the bathroom.

In this latter case, you would still need to meet all of the 'working space' requirements, in terms of clear space all around the panelboard. Roughly you need a clear space 30" wide, 3 feet deep, and floor to ceiling (with some exceptions) that is kept totally clear.

You probably also have significant working space requirements for other items in this utility room; in your planning remember that you need clear access to the electrical, the plumbing, etc.

-Jon
 
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Old 11-10-05, 07:09 AM
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Doesn't much matter whether the closet is considered part of the bathroom or not. Code prohibits panels in both bathrooms and clothes closets. It somewhat depends on what kind of closet this is, and what is (or could be) stored in it.
 
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Old 11-10-05, 07:17 AM
ollie
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Doesn't 240.24(D) (NEC 2005) prohibit overcurrent devices in clothes closets. Or where easily initible material is stored.
Ollie
 
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Old 11-10-05, 07:28 AM
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thank you for your advice, I knew it probably didn't sound right. the house is from the fifties, many things are not to code. So it sounds like i should probably remove all the existing shelving that practically butts up against the sides of the service panel where i store tools and such, to give that extra clearance.

While on the topic of code, the ground line from the service panel runs about three feet down to a cold water pipe. problem is, the entry of the water pipe into the house is about 40 feet on the other side of the house, and many connections (all metal) in between. In my remodel, this pipe will be disconnected for some time, and I also wanted to install a whole house water filter that would also screw up the 'ground'. So it sounds like i (or hire) someone to install a grounding rod... if i read up on the subject, is this a DIY project? Do you need a permit for re-grounding the service panel?
 
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Old 11-10-05, 07:32 AM
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Yes, my bad. I found 240.24(E) and skipped over 240.24(D): 'Overcurrent devices shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitible materials, such as in clothes closets.' As John said, to some extent it would depend upon what you wanted to store in this closet. Paint would be a big no-no.

'Vicinity' is an example of something in code that is not well defined. I personally would not have any problem with towels folded on a shelf that was outside of the required working space for a panel, figuring that having fabric outside of the required working space puts it outside of the 'vicinity' of the panel. Towels don't evaporate and produce flammable fumes However this becomes a question for the local inspector, not for me

-Jon
 
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Old 11-10-05, 07:36 AM
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For some time around here, they have required panels to be "easily accessible" and their defintition of that includes "not in a closet"
 
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Old 11-10-05, 07:45 AM
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Your current ground to the water pipe does not meet current code for two reasons. The connection to the water pipe must be at the point where the pipe enters the house. I forget the exact distance it must be within the point of entry (I am thinking five feet), but I know that 40 feet is too far. Second, a supplementary means must also be present. This is easiest accomplished with one or two ground rods.

As part of this project you should modify the grounding of your panel so that it meets current code.
 

Last edited by racraft; 11-10-05 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 11-10-05, 07:48 AM
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Proper grounding is something that requires careful consideration, but something with a bit of research that anyone can do. Grounding is so critical for electrical safety that even if a permit were not required, I would get one simple to have the inspection and confirmation that it was done correctly.

Under old code, you could ground anywhere on water pipe. But for exactly the issues that you mention, you are now required to connect the grounding electrode conductor near where the water pipe comes into the building.

Under current code, you need to use the water pipe as your grounding electrode, _and_ supplement it with ground rod(s). This would mean driving ground rods, and also running a ground cable over to where the water pipe enters your building. Once you have this conductor in place, cutting the water pipe won't break your grounding connection.

Do _not_ cut a plumbing pipe used as a grounding electrode until you've installed cables to jump around the cut. In many older electrical systems, especially in urban areas where several houses share the same underground metal pipe, there can be significant current flowing on the metal pipe. Plumbers have gotten serious shocks working on such piping.

-Jon
 
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Old 11-10-05, 07:55 AM
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thank you for the advice, this is a spectacular forum
 
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