Protecting wires leaving Service Panel

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Old 06-24-18, 08:12 AM
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Protecting wires leaving Service Panel

I'm looking to add a couple new circuits to my service panel. My panel is located in the corner of my basement maybe 1 1/2 feet from the exposed joist ceiling. It's my understanding that because this part of the basement is unfinished, I should protect cable running up the walls which I've done in the past with conduit or AC.

Here's the thing. Going up from the service panel it's mostly AC, but previous home owners added a couple circuits and just ran romex up into the joists before routing it where it needed to be. As I understand it, this is technically a code violation because until it reaches the joist (1 1/2 feet away), it should be protected.

So here I am planning to run two new circuits considering how I will run AC up to a junction box, then leave the box with romex once up in the joists.

Alternatively, to save myself some trouble and get the old work up to code, could I just build a sort of plywood enclose to "protect" the conductors as they leave out the top of the service panel? (Think of a rectangular box with three sides). Then I could just run romex right out the top of the service panel, right?

Would this satisfy code? Is there any problem with having plywood just touch the top of the service panel enough to protect the wires?
 
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Old 06-24-18, 08:39 AM
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The cables only need protection if subject to damage . That is not defined and is subjective. I would not consider cables above the panel to be subject to damage . Ask your inspector .
 
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Old 06-24-18, 12:38 PM
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Thanks for the reply.

In case that's not correct, would it be fair to say that covering the wires as I stipulated would meet code for "protecting" them?
 
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Old 06-24-18, 12:46 PM
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Your plan to protect them is fine. You could also put a 2x4 stud on each side of the panel effectively making the space above the panel the inside of a wall. That would be considered a protected space.
 
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Old 06-24-18, 04:43 PM
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Most inspectors consider the space above a panel to be protected from damage. No one is really going to be stacking things against the wall along the panel (or at least you shouldn't).

No issue with building a plywood or drywall box around the wires too, though I'd keep it somewhat removable for the next cable you need to run to the box.
 
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Old 06-24-18, 05:15 PM
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Okay, thanks everyone. It's really nothing to put the wood up, but I think I'll have my cake and eat it. For now, I'll forget about building the "protection" and I won't bother using AC or conduit for that short run to get me to up to the joists. Should I ever get questioned about it, it will be a small thing to fix it.

Thanks everyone for your help!
 
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