Main Panel in Closet

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  #1  
Old 07-20-06, 04:49 AM
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Main Panel in Closet

My Main Panel is mounted on a wall in my kitchen. I would like to hide this & was wondering about studding out a pantry to also enclose the box. Is this a code violation to place the box in a "closet"? If not, what parameters do I have to maintain for this to meet code?

Thanks!
Dan
 
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  #2  
Old 07-20-06, 05:08 AM
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A pantry is not large enough (I assume you mean an 18 inch wide pantry closet). You need 30 inches width, 36 inches depth, and a height of 78 inches. This can be thought of placing a refrigerator box of those dimensions in front of the panel, covering the front of the panel.

Further, you don't want to hinder access to the panel. Someone needs to be able to quickly access the panel to turn off the main breaker or any branch circuit breaker.

You can cover the panel with a picture if you want. You can frame a full size door in front of it. You can leave it exposed. But you cannot put it in the back of a cupboard.
 
  #3  
Old 07-20-06, 05:20 AM
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Maybe pantry wasn't the best descriptive word to use. It would mainly be a closet in my kitchen, the pantry would be off to the side.

So, if I understand correctly, I can do it as long as access is not hindered in any way & I maintain the 30"x36"x78" clearance in front of, & to the side of the box. The closet would just be used to store mops, buckets, brooms, vacuums, etc. & some shelves as long as I can maintain the 30" clearance. It's a QO 40/40 box so I'd need a pretty big picture to cover it up. It'd probably look out of place.

Thanks
Dan
 
  #4  
Old 07-20-06, 05:25 AM
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The shelves cannot be in that 30x36x78 inch space.
 
  #5  
Old 07-20-06, 05:51 AM
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If I understand the code you could have a cabinet door made to match your other cabinet doors. A 1"X"1 spacer strip could be installed around the edge of the cabinet door on the back side to hold it slightly from the wall so it would lay flat on the wall despite any protrusions on the electric panel door. Four magnets at the corners on the back side of the cabinet door would hold it to the electric panel.

Another similar plan which might or might not meet code would be to place a frame of 1"X2"s around the panel but slightly larger then the panel cover (so as not to interfere with the panel cover) and hinge cabinet doors (maybe two meeting in the middle if wide enough) to the frame.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 07-20-06 at 06:04 AM.
  #6  
Old 07-20-06, 09:42 AM
ddr
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Is your main goal covering the panel, or do you actually need the cabinet space?

If you just want to cover up the panel and feel a picture would be too big, ray2047ís idea of a matching cabinet door is probably the best way to go, provided itís mounting meets your local or NEC code.

If you need the cabinet space and want shelves, youíll need to build a large cabinet allowing for an empty area within the cabinet (no shelving or structural components) of the dimensions that racraft stated. In other words, if you want to put shelves in you can, provided they are not located within the assigned open space.

The reason you need to maintain the open space, and the reason it is in the Code, is for safety. If the panel face needed to be removed to gain access for work, the busses and other hazardous items would be exposed. While most work is to be performed with the main circuit off, the service feeders are still hot. Also, it is sometimes necessary to work with the main on, such as when measuring amperage on a given circuit. Having the panel in a tightly enclosed space is dangerous, for if someone were to come in contact with an energized component, the knee jerk reaction is to pull or fall away from the panel; an enclosed space could prevent this, causing the person to stay in contact with the energized item or, even worse, fall towards the panel and create multiple contact points. This is why a certain amount of open space is required around panels.

If you want to use the open area to store a vacuum or something small, I believe thatís okay because the vacuum can be removed if work needs to be done, HOWEVER, do not put something in there that prevents easy opening of the panel's door, as you may need fast access to the breakers and donít want to spend time unloading the closet.
 
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