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Old 02-16-2011, 12:13 PM   #1
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


I've got a breaker panel in a concrete block basement with a finished wall framed around it. The 2x4 frame wall has 2" rigid insulation behind it, but the box only has 1/2" plywood behind it. So the face plate of the box sits in a 1-1/2" recess. My wife wants to hang a picture over the panel box to cover this recess. Is there any hazard to putting objects in front of the breaker box?

I know they are designed to contain internal arcing that might occur due to lightning, etc. Do they need to have the panel door free to swing open in case of such an event? I also wonder if this might cause the box to become colder than the room and begin to condense moisture inside. I don't have any AFCI/GFCI "heaters" in there.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:37 PM   #2
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


A picture is fine since it can be easily removed to service the panel.
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:58 PM   #3
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


Maybe put a picture of an electrical panel and see if anybody notices
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:09 PM   #4
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


Not a problem.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:32 PM   #5
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


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maybe put a picture of an electrical panel and see if anybody notices
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:01 PM   #6
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


Not a good idea .. the disconnecting means for any dwelling service must be readily visible, labeled and accessible.

If you have a fire the fireman would like to disconnect the service he is not going to be able to find it behind a picture nor will anyone else not familiar with what you have done in the event of an electrical event that requires emergency disconnection of a branch circuit or the entire service.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:34 PM   #7
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


Covering the panel for our firemen isn't a problem. They are all equipped with an axe with a point on the back.
They just start swinging it until the panel appears.

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Old 02-17-2011, 10:49 AM   #8
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


Its not a problem, I haven't been into very many homes that the panel is not hidden by something. They are almost always behind a removable panel, or cabinet style door, or even a full size door, like a small closet.
Always check your local rules and regs, but its not a problem where I am as long as when you remove the covering you have 3ft of clearence in front.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:52 AM   #9
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


In my opinion I would not do this unless the picture only hid part of the panel. Someone looking for a panel might look behind doors or in closets, but I wouldn't expect them to look behind pictures. It's not just fireman either, but contractors, babysitters, anyone else who might be in the house when a circuit blows.

Maybe build a door for the panel door? Or paint the panel some other color so it's less obtrusive?

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Old 02-17-2011, 03:07 PM   #10
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


Thanks for all the input folks. The main reason for the picture is just to hide the recess in the wall. I'm thinking a flush cabinet door might be the way to go here. I'll check on the local codes. I do recall something where there had to be three feet of clearance in front of the breaker panel. But there is a metal door over the breakers already. What's the harm in a second one made of wood?
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:08 PM   #11
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


I tell folks if they don't like the look of that panel in their (bedroom, living room, kitchen, etc) to hang a picture over it.

Not a problem as far as I'm concerned.

Neither is it a Code issue, AFAIK.

Even the old Trillian panels were made to house a picture or wallpaper in/on the covers, to "hide" it.
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:10 PM   #12
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


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I tell folks if they don't like the look of that panel in their (bedroom, living room, kitchen, etc) to hang a picture over it.

Not a problem as far as I'm concerned.

Neither is it a Code issue, AFAIK.

Even the old Trillian panels were made to house a picture or wallpaper in/on the covers, to "hide" it.
AFAIK it isn't addressed by the NEC or any local codes. So I don't think it is a code violation to hide the panel with a picture. It just needs working clearance and accessibility. I used the word 'must' not to imply it was code required but in IMO you want it visible for safety reasons. I don't think it is a big deal one way or the other. I'll take the nice, crisp, clean look of an electrical panel over a picture any day ....hmmm that might depend on the picture ...
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:51 AM   #13
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


As long as it is accessible periodddddddddddd
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:58 AM   #14
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


If there is a fire, I doubt the firemen will be wandering around your home looking for the shutoff...especially when they can access it from outside
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:15 AM   #15
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Can I hang a picture over a main breaker panel?


Quote:
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If there is a fire, I doubt the firemen will be wandering around your home looking for the shutoff...especially when they can access it from outside
See this article for some background on electricity and working structure fires.

http://www.workingfire.net/misc11.htm
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