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Old 11-09-2007, 07:34 PM   #1
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How do I finish around a breaker box?


Hey everyone. This is my first post on the boards and, unfortunately, it's a little confusing as I guess it could be a carpentry or electrical question.

Basically, I live in WV (to give you an idea of code) and am finishing the basement in our three year old town home. In order to do that, I was planning on finishing the laundry room with drywall. Our breaker box is in the laundry room. I believe it's a Siemens G3040B1200 Type 1, if that helps. In order to drywall around the breaker box (so the faceplate of the breaker box would fit over the drywall), I'd need studs in a frame around it, so I could have something to nail to.

My question is, what is the electrical code or best practice for framing around a breaker box, particularly for fire rating/safety? Also, does anyone have any suggestions for the best way of leaving room to run additional wiring in the future?

Thanks very much in advance,

-Brett

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Old 11-10-2007, 09:16 AM   #2
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How do I finish around a breaker box?


I can't see why you couldn't put 2x4 next to, we mount panels to plywood all the time.

Concerning your concern off adding additional circuits, do you have a suspeneded ceiling or are you drywalling that as well.

If it suspended I would run some conduit out of the panel and put a junction box above the ceiling. Then in the future you could run wire to that junction box and fish a few wires down the pipe into the panel. Thats one idea, I am sure other people have some other ideas as well.

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Old 11-10-2007, 10:00 AM   #3
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How do I finish around a breaker box?


Run conduit either up to the attic or down to the basement. You will thank yourself later.
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:09 AM   #4
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How do I finish around a breaker box?


Since the wall is being built from scratch, just use two 2x4 studs on each side. Don't frame it with 2x4's. You need stud space between the bottom and top. Mount it slightly forward, so when you drywall, it will be almost flush. The cover for the panel will cover up the drywall cutout.

And listen to the other posters. A little extra work now will be very beneficial to you in the future.
Stub up some extra NM cable or conduit to a box or boxes above the drop ceiling.
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Old 11-10-2007, 05:20 PM   #5
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How do I finish around a breaker box?


The ceiling I had planned to put in the laundry room was a drywall ceiling, so does that mean I won't have to run the conduit to the attic?

And thanks very much to everyone for the advice on framing around the box. I just wanted to be sure I wasn't going to violate code.

-Brett
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Old 11-10-2007, 05:29 PM   #6
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How do I finish around a breaker box?


That means you especially want to run the conduit to the attic. After you are all don, simply cap off the conduit in the attic (I'd use tape) to prevent dust, etc from falling from attic into the panel.

The typical resi. panel in designed to fit between two 16" on center studs...The standard framing in a house.
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Old 11-10-2007, 05:47 PM   #7
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How do I finish around a breaker box?


The conduit suggestion is so that if you need to run any new lines to the breaker box in the future you have an easy way to do it.
The elcetrical code doesn't care what you do to the wall as long as the cover can be removed and you can work on the inside of the panel.
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:42 PM   #8
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How do I finish around a breaker box?


Use some conduit as Andy said take a run to the attic and take a run to an accessible area in the basement . Connect it all up to the breaker box now before you finish and install a pull string in the conduit. Later you can tie to the pull string and pull any additional wiring to the breaker box. If you think your not going to be there long then conduit is very inexpensive way to go without the cost of copper wire. New owners will love you for it.... If your going to have hot tubs or anything in the future outside think of that also and get conduit to those areas also. Make sure the conduit is 1 1/4 inch for this stuff the other can be 3/4". I would recommend gray PVC. Don't pull any wire cause you have no idea what your going to need for wire till you need it. The conduit will give flexibility.

Only problem maybe available knockouts on top of the load center. Since most of your wiring is probably out the top. Use the bottom knockouts for the basement if you are short of entries in the top. You can generally put two 14 or 12 romex (NM-B ) through one clamp. You need to staple the cables within 12" after leaving the load center. Just nail in a 2x4 edgewise flush to the back of the studs below then panel and staple to it.

Now if your having inspection on this stuff you need to maintain working clearances around the panel so locate it where it isnt going to be hard to get to...ie...don't put it behind the washer....

Code requires these clearances for your situation

6'6" high by 30" wide by 36" deep.

The width measurement does not have to be centered on the equipment but you must be able to open the door to 90 degrees.

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Last edited by Stubbie; 11-10-2007 at 06:54 PM.
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