Moving electrical panel...

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  #1  
Old 01-25-01, 10:38 PM
TLdot
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Hello,

In my basement finishing project, I'd like to move my electrical panel. Fortunately, the direction that I'd like to move the panel is towards the slack in most all electric lines run in my home.

From a previous post, I see that I need 3' in front of the panel, so this eliminated my plan of installing it in a closet. I'm thinking about installing it somewhere in my un finished utility room w/ washer and dryer. What are the other limitations on the location of the panel?

As a note, I do recognize that this is a serious project and I'll be taking the required precautions to make sure the job is done corrrectly by myself or by a contractor if required by code.

My plan is to purchase another panel and make most changes (not hot) to it. Then I'll have the power company come out and pull the meter while a qualified electrician disconnects the original panel and hooks me up live to the new.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Tony
 
  #2  
Old 01-26-01, 07:14 AM
s1nuber
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Check out 'New service box installation' by Raughstad (sp?). This will give you guidelines on building an imaginary cube to safely install your panel. Three other things; a panel cannot be installed in a stairway, closet, or in a bathroom.
 
  #3  
Old 01-26-01, 07:40 AM
J
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National Electrical Code (NEC) Article 110-26 dictates "Spaces About Electrical Equipment". It requires 3-feet in front of electrical equipment (your breaker panel) that is 600 volts or less. If there is a grounded surface opposite the panel, and the voltage of the equipment (breaker panel) exceeds 150 volts (yours would likely be 240 volts, commonly called "220"), that space increases to 3-1/2'. Concrete or masonry walls are considered by the NEC to be grounded. If there is electrical equipment opposite your panel the space increases to 4-feet. Also, the headroom in front of the panel must be 6-1/2', with the exception that equipment does not exceed 200 amps and is in a dwelling. Also, the horizontal clearance must be the width of the equipment or 30", whichever is greater. No equipment that is not part of the electrical system can occupy these spaces described. And any electrical equipment can't extend more than 6" into the dedicated space in front of the panel. (If your panel face is 4" out from the wall, no other electrical equipment mounted on that wall inside the dedicated space can be more than 10" deep.) No storage is permitted in the dedicated space. Furthermore, electrical panels cannot be located in bathrooms or clothes closets.

Many localities permit the homeowner to do their own electrical work. You should make the phone call if you intend to install the new panel yourself. They will require a permit and subsequent electrical inspection. This is no big deal, I did exactly this same job, and am not an electrician. Permit was $15 and the inspection was $40. This practically cements your insurance coverage in the event there's a fire. To not do this puts you on shakey ground, as the insurance company can maintain that by doing improper electrical work you caused the loss.

To make this a little less inconvenient you can easily feed the new panel from the old panel in the interim . This way you can start transfering some, most, or all of your existing circuits over to the new panel and have them powered by the old panel before you get the electrician over to do the permanent cut-over. Buy a 40, 50 or 60 amp 2-pole breaker, switch off the main breaker in your existing panel and install the temporary 2-pole breaker in the old panel. Run temporary jumpers (2 hots, a neutral and a ground, #8 AWG for 40 amps, #6 for 50 amps, #4 AWG for 60 amps) from that breaker over to the new panel, installing the wires on the main lugs of the new panel and the ground wire to the metal box. These are strictly temporary, and is a method my local inspector and utility company blessed before I did it. Get a ground bar ($4 at Home Depot), sand off the paint beneath where it will be located in the new panel and fasten the temporary ground wire in place. As you bring existing circuits over to the new panel all your branch circuit grounds must go on the ground bus because as long as it's run from the old panel it's considered a sub-panel, and grounds & neutrals must be separated in a sub-panel. Put all your branch circuit whites on the neutral bus. Your new panel will come with a "bonding screw" to connect the neutral bus to the metal of the box. Do not put it in until the final cut-over where your old panel is removed and the new panel becomes your main panel. Of course you will have the main breakers of both panels off while you are doing all this.

I like the idea of having an electrician do the final permanent connection. Making arrangements with the utility and making sure everything that's new passes inspection is worth the price, believe me. If I had not had extensive exposure to the NEC already I would not have passed inspection, I'm sure.

Hope that helps. Post a reply if you have any further questions.

Juice

[Edited by JuiceHead on 01-26-01 at 09:57]
 
  #4  
Old 01-26-01, 12:29 PM
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Juice:

Is there any provision in the NEC that allows a subpanel in a bathrooom?

It seems to me I saw one lately in a rec room bathroom and it was done with permits and inspections by a licensed contractor.

 
  #5  
Old 01-26-01, 01:09 PM
J
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NEC expressly forbids any electrical panel in a bathroom, stairs or clothes closet.

Juice
 
  #6  
Old 01-27-01, 03:58 PM
Wgoodrich
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Juicehead

I suspect that if you recheck the NEC your 36" limit considering not over 115 volt is to ground per leg not between line one and line two. 3' should be the requirement in a dwelling without further distances due to the limitation of 115 volts to ground maximum voltage to ground in a dwelling.

You might also want to check for an exception for existing dwelling service upgrades. The 36" clear approach can be reduced to 30" in existing dwellings.

Good Luck

Wg
 
  #7  
Old 01-28-01, 11:27 AM
J
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Wg,

Always glad to have you riding shotgun on my replies. I got the number 240 stuck in my head and didn't consider voltage of any leg to ground, where of course you are right. Corrections duly noted. Thanks.

Juice
 
  #8  
Old 01-28-01, 11:39 AM
TLdot
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Okay,

I checked with the city of Shawnee, Kansas - Codes Administration. I asked the codes administration several questions regarding moving the electrical panel. Every single question was responded to with, "We use the 1993 NEC." Can I do some of the work myself? "We use the 1993 NEC standards."

Does the 1993 code dictate how much of this job I can do myself verses required licensed electrician? All I really want to do is mount the new panel. Pop the old circuits out of the old box and install them in the new. Call power company to pull the meter while Mr. Licensed Electrician makes the final connections.

Thanks for all your info guys!

TL
 
  #9  
Old 01-28-01, 12:53 PM
J
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Sounds like you have a very uncooperative and disconcerned codes enforcement dept. The NEC does not dictate to authorities what they can allow and can't allow. Most local authorities do follow the NEC and have no rules which contradict or supercede it. I know that many large cities, like NYC or LA, have their own electrical codes, but even these use all NEC requirements and add some of their own. If, for instance, the local code requires that hot wires are purple and only purple then you have to have purple hot conductors to pass THEIR electrical inspection. The NEC has no legal authority to challenge local rules, no matter how arbitrary or stupid.

The 1999 NEC has been out since, well, 1999, and for your local authority to still have the 1993 code as their "bible" for electrical work, while kind of stupid, is their rules and that's that. Last year the state of Connecticut recognized only the 1996 NEC for their standard. Go figure.

But the NEC has no legal authority over town, village, city, county, state or national laws. It is written by the National Fire Protection Assoc. and is not in any way a government agency, but a private enterprise. And many of their requirements refer to the "Authority Having Jurisdiction" as the final word on exactly what the last word on a requirement will be, obviously and intentionally not presuming to dictate to local government.

Local and/or State law only dictates who may or may not do electrical work, and nowhere in the NEC does it say who can and cannot perform electrical work. This is the responsibility of local and/or state law, period. Many localities permit the owner/occupant of a dwelling to perform electrical work so long as they obtain a permit and an inspection. I would call your county clerk, identify technically whose jurisdiction you are in or simply give your address, and they will tell you what laws and restrictions take presidence in your area.

Whether or not your local code enforcement officials are pin-heads just remember: They will pass or fail your completed work, and you don't want to tick them off. So wrong as they may be proceed with courtessy and "all due respect" at every turn. I have aggravated a few whom I considered morons and bureaucrats, and they always win, I can tell you. Even when you're right you're wrong.

Hope this helps.

Juice
 
 

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