Mechanical Protection for panelboard wiring


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Old 09-06-14, 02:44 PM
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Mechanical Protection for panelboard wiring

The panelboard for my house is in the basement, mounted between studs on an interior wall. The room on the back of the panelboard has been finished with sheetrock etc, but there is no mechanical protection for all the cables coming out of the top of the panel (to the various circuits in the house). I am concerned that someone will hammer a nail into the sheetrock and hit a cable.

Is this the correct way that the room should have been finished? Should a steel plate have been installed before the sheetrock, similar to the small plates that are nailed to studs to protect wiring too close to the edge?

If I want to add protection now, are there any suggestions, other than taking down the sheetrock and replacing? Would adding a small steel/wood plate behind the wires (there is access from the front side of the panelboard as it is in an unfinished area).

thanks
 
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Old 09-06-14, 02:59 PM
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The best way... probably not but still it meets code. Steel plates are required where a cable passes close to the surface through a stud but not when the cable is in open space. If you drive a nail through the sheetrock the wire will most likely bend as the nail pushes against it where if it's in a stud it has nowhere to go and the nail can pierce the insulation. If you want to shield it I would install a steel plate 16ga at the minimum and 14ga or thicker would be better.
 
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Old 09-06-14, 06:36 PM
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You said the back side of the panel is in a finished room.
How about the room the panel is in...... can you see the wires above it ?

Are people in the habit of putting nails into the wall at your place ?
 
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Old 09-06-14, 08:14 PM
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Because it is at a panelboard most of the wires are just hanging free, so that's a good point that they would probably bend, though some of the 220V ones are fairly inflexible, particularly the main supply cable (200A).

I have access to the space on top of the panel, from the front, as that area is unfinished, so I could probably get a couple of pieces of 12ga in behind there, maybe 7" wide each, to fill the 14.5" space between the studs, but there is really no way to secure them.

PJ, I have been known to put up a picture or two, though those little angled brad nails wouldn't pose a problem, or something heavier like a mirror that might require a larger screw/nail. And who knows what a future owner might do. But perhaps I am being a little over cautious.
 
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Old 09-07-14, 07:12 AM
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NM cables are only required to be 1 1/4" away from the nailing face of the framing where you would attach sheet rock. If it is closer, it only needs to be protected by a nail plate, which is about 1/16" steel.

It sounds to me like everything was installed correctly.
 
 

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