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Old 08-25-2009, 05:51 PM   #1
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


Many years ago when the basement in the house was redone she decided it would be smart to put this huge permanent cabinet OVER the electrical panel. At some point a phone tech needed to get to the phone drop which is there, so he ended up having to make a jig saw hole in the cabinet and drywall (yes, drywall OVER a panel!) to access it.

While still very hard to access, it can be gotten to with the help of special tools such as hockey sticks. The back of that wall has also swallowed many tools such as screw drivers and coat hangers due to many failed attempts at turning a breaker on/off.

So today I decide to take the chance and use the vacuum and the air compressor at same time to clean the bathroom fan for my own house. (I still live here) Yeah.... as I guessed it's a 15 amp circuit and not a 20 amp circuit. Tripped the breaker and it's not visibly tripped (probably needs to be turned off then on) no clue which breaker and cannot be accessed easily. Ended up going through most of them with a stick but some have electrical tape on them (they left wires in wall for electric heat and put tape instead of removing from panel. Bad... ) What a mess. They don't use that plug much anyway, and guess I was and will be the last to use it!

Moral of story: Make sure the panel box is easily accessible!!! I dread doing electrical work in their house. It's probably against code too, they'll have a hard time selling in the future if ever they want to. I'm sure any sane house inspector will write that down pretty quick.

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Old 08-25-2009, 06:02 PM   #2
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


I want a picture!

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Old 08-25-2009, 06:03 PM   #3
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


My camera is at my own house, but I'll be sure to take one when I bring my camera here. It's any electrician's worse nightmare.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:09 PM   #4
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


Most of us that have been in the trades for a while have seen something like this or have had the displeasure of working on it. Never fun. It sure makes that little code section about working clearance in front of a disconnect make a lot of sense!
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:46 PM   #5
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Most of us that have been in the trades for a while have seen something like this or have had the displeasure of working on it. Never fun. It sure makes that little code section about working clearance in front of a disconnect make a lot of sense!
Yeah for sure I can imagine the stuff you get to see.

It's also good to have plenty of "backup very fast suddenly" room in case something goes wrong when you flip the main back on after some work. In my case it would involve a couple bruises for sure. Would probably go something like *click* "Holy Sh*BANG* FUU$%!!!"

To add more spice to the safety issue, most of the stuff in that cabinet is made out of glass.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:50 PM   #6
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


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To add more spice to the safety issue, most of the stuff in that cabinet is made out of glass.
Glass? now that will be a big event if break a bunch of it

I only see that set up at least twice so far in my 20 years I work as electrician once in USA and once in France but been see how some homeowner use the picture frame or faux cabent door to cover up the electrical box up like big time.

I did got one service call the customer can NOT find the breaker box he stated he look allover and can't find it and only took me less than 15 mintues to find it it was up in the attic.

Merci,Marc
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:55 PM   #7
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


I would tear the cabinet off the wall, and cut the sheetrock from around it. There is no reason to leave it like that, whether mom likes it or not.

I have seen a fuse/breaker boxes in an attic, at the foot of a bathtub behind a picture, behind refrigerators, at knee height behind a washing machine, in the ceiling of a laundry room, and behind the clothes in a closet. Sometimes you have to look long and hard.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:59 PM   #8
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I would tear the cabinet off the wall, and cut the sheetrock from around it. There is no reason to leave it like that, whether mom likes it or not.

I have seen a fuse/breaker boxes in an attic, at the foot of a bathtub behind a picture, behind refrigerators, at knee height behind a washing machine, in the ceiling of a laundry room, and behind the clothes in a closet. Sometimes you have to look long and hard.

I have one that the 80 gallon waterheater complety blocked the breaker box the only way I can get into there is cut the dammed thing out the homeowner was shocked that I have gust to do it and it is a very good legit reason due the main service conductor is overheating so have to get into quick.{ yeah I have to yank the meter off }{80 gallon waterheater weght in about 400 KG with full water in there}

Merci,Marc

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Old 08-25-2009, 08:00 PM   #9
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


Wow in the attic? never heard of that. That could be a pain too unless the attic is easy to access.

It's not my house and I'm moving out soon anyway, so the panel will stay as is, but I don't bother going in there twice when she wants me to do electrical... I try to work on it without shutting the breaker, if I can't or screw up, then I short it out and it trips without me having to go in that cubby hole. :p Not exactly the safest way.... lol Most of the electrical I've done is light fixtures though. normally turning off the switch (if the hot is wired as the switch) does the trick.

Too many shocks to count in this house.... really unsafe. I would totally refuse to do anything with 240 in this house. A real electrician would probably charge extra and I would not blame him.
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:56 PM   #10
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


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I want a picture!
I did not forget. Finally got around to taking a pic. I present to you, code fail:
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:31 PM   #11
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


Yup, Mom or not I'd rip that cabinet out if she wanted me to do any work
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:09 PM   #12
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


Panel boxes in Eastern Europe are typically located high on the wall, near the front door. You need to stand on a stool or ladder to access them.
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Old 09-06-2009, 09:55 PM   #13
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


The panel box in France will be either indoor or outdoor depending on what area you are in but for main breaker or main fuse it always be outdoor per French Electrical Code.

I will try to find the pic so I can post it here.

Merci,Marc
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:08 PM   #14
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


I've heard of outdoor panels, that's kind of odd, just seems wrong to have a panel outside in the rain/snow. Guessing they have some kind of plastic covering? Also it must be a common problem for pranksters to just go and shut off breakers, or is the whole thing usually locked?
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:26 PM   #15
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My mom and her bright (or dark...) ideas


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I've heard of outdoor panels, that's kind of odd, just seems wrong to have a panel outside in the rain/snow. Guessing they have some kind of plastic covering? Also it must be a common problem for pranksters to just go and shut off breakers, or is the whole thing usually locked?

No it is not odd espcally with out in country and some area like southwest USA and I know for fact in state of Florida do required outdoor disconnection switch.

Rain and Snow ?? naw with proper breaker or fuse box it don't useally affect it at all unless someone make a boneheaded move with it.

Pranksters humm not much out in country but in some metro { city } area it may have issue but you can lock the cover but the OCPD must function regurading of fuse or breaker.

Some outdoor OCPD like fuse box or breaker box are plastic and most useally are metal type normally it will called type 3R that useally protected from rain or snow or exteral iceing.

Merci,Marc

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