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Old 05-02-2010, 06:24 AM   #1
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Electrical Panel Installation


Hi All:

Having new home built. Electrical panel has just been installed in basement directly under (about 1 ft. away) the bathroom drain and water lines. We are very concerned about safety due to possibility of future leaks. Electrician states "it's not an issue", and that he has 40 yrs. experience. He has suggested he could install a "roof" over the panel but some wiring will still be exposed. Is this sufficient? Does it meet Code? Please help!

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Old 05-02-2010, 07:17 AM   #2
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If it's "1' ft. away" and not "directly under" then there is no code issue. If necessary a drip shield could be installed.

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Old 05-02-2010, 07:31 AM   #3
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I gather it is 1 foot under the pipe from her post. I'd do a drip shield like brric said just in case if it were me. Or ask if they can slide the panel over a foot or 2, if no circuits have been run yet.
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:50 AM   #4
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pretty sure active water lines over hot panel not such a hot idea, i wouldnt do it. if panel is a lock and water lines pex can you move waterlines?
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:58 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback

Electrician installed the electrical panel directly under shower drain & water lines--these plumbing items are about 1 foot away from the top of the electrical panel. Electrican installed this way after drain and water lines were already in so can't be moved. We thought the electrician should move the panel over a ft. or so too, but he's reluctant. Maybe too labor intensive? Is his work in violation of Natl. Electrical Code?
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mary h View Post
Is his work in violation of Natl. Electrical Code?
If the lines/pipes are in the joist bay, which they most likely are, then it is 100% legal, and absolutely safe.

The thought of leaking pipes in the future is a warrantless worry. The ONLY reason this bothers you is because you can see it.
If this bothers you that much, and you could see inside your walls, you'd probably never want to move into your house.

Moving a panel is not as easy as "sliding it over a foot".
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Old 05-02-2010, 03:57 PM   #7
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Good point. Electrical wires are run right next to water pipes all the time inside the wall. Drain pipes aren't under pressure, so the chance of a leak is even smaller.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:48 PM   #8
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Drain pipes don't usually leak but shower drains do and faucets do to. Plus tubs and shower overflow from time to time. Is the area the electric panel in going to be finished overhead? If it is unfinished you can easily keep an eye open for leaks. Leaks usually start small and follow the drain pipe or water line until they come to some kind of support. This is where it will drip, or sometimes the drain line will drip at the first 90 degree bend.

I am guessing it is too late to have the panel moved. The drip pan mentioned above would be a good idea.

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Old 05-09-2010, 03:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studhauler View Post
[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]Drain pipes don't usually leak but shower drains do and faucets do to. Plus tubs and shower overflow from time to time.
Seriously??? Do they really in your house?

I know several thousand people with baths on second floors that will be very concerned to hear this information.

I am also curious as to what you think the difference between a "drain pipe" and a "shower drain" is.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:04 PM   #10
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As a handyman I have patched ceilings with a bathroom above them.

Shower drain is where the shower floor meets the pipe, to include the trap, because they can leak in time. I am not saying they all will leak, but if a house last at least 50 years that is a long time to have “stuff happen.”
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:08 PM   #11
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I'm setup in a similar way in my house. The P trap for the tub is actually above the panel, though if it would leak, I think it would still miss the panel. It was a pro that did the work to move the bath area so I'm sure he considered that potential danger. My toilet leaks if it gets blocked, and the water actually gets on a few electrical wires (further then the panel, and horizontal). I will probably want to look at fixing that some day. Hard to tell where the leak is but I'm guessing it's the wax ring.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:24 PM   #12
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110.26 Spaces About Electrical Equipment.
- (F) Dedicated Equipment Space. All switchboards, panelboards, distribution boards, and motor control centers shall be located in dedicated spaces and protected from damage.
Exception: Control equipment that by its very nature or because of other rules of the Code must be adjacent to or within sight of its operating machinery shall be permitted in those locations.
- - (1) Indoor. Indoor installations shall comply with 110.26(F)(1)(a) through (F)(1)(d).
- - - (a) Dedicated Electrical Space. The space equal to the width and depth of the equipment and extending from the floor to a height of 1.8 m (6 ft) above the equipment or to the structural ceiling, whichever is lower, shall be dedicated to the electrical installation. No piping, ducts, leak protection apparatus, or other equipment foreign to the electrical installation shall be located in this zone.
- - - - Exception: Suspended ceilings with removable panels shall be permitted within the 1.8-m (6-ft) zone.
- - - (b) Foreign Systems. The area above the dedicated space required by 110.26(F)(1)(a) shall be permitted to contain foreign systems, provided protection is installed to avoid damage to the electrical equipment from condensation, leaks, or breaks in such foreign systems.
- - - (c) Sprinkler Protection. Sprinkler protection shall be permitted for the dedicated space where the piping complies with this section.
- - - (d) Suspended Ceilings. A dropped, suspended, or similar ceiling that does not add strength to the building structure shall not be considered a structural ceiling.

Appears very similar to CEC:

E3305.3 Dedicated panel board space. The space equal to the
width and depth of the panel board and extending from the floor
to a height of 6 feet (1829 mm) above the panel board, or to the
structural ceiling, whichever is lower, shall be dedicated to the
electrical installation. Piping, ducts, leak protection apparatus
and other equipment foreign to the electrical installation shall
not be installed in such dedicated space. The area above the dedicated
space shall be permitted to contain foreign systems, provided
that protection is installed to avoid damage to the electrical
equipment from condensation, leaks and breaks in such foreign
systems (see Figure E3305.1).
Exception: Suspended ceilings with removable panels shall
be permitted within the 6-foot (1.8 m) dedicated space.

Last edited by sparks1up; 05-09-2010 at 08:19 PM. Reason: Not sure where you are located US or Canada?
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:54 PM   #13
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I'm getting ready to put in a replacement electrical panel in my house and the only thing my inspector told me when I called to ask a few questions is that I can't have any water lines running directly over the panel. Well, I went and looked at it right after talking to him and noticed that there was a cold water line running directly over my panel about 6 inches above it. Someone had wrapped some of that foil type insulation around the pipe where it passed over the panel, I assume to avoid drips from condensation. I decided to do the proper thing and relocate the line, and I'm glad I did. There was no reason to have run that line where it was. Someone just wasn't using their brain.

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