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Old 03-19-2010, 11:05 PM   #1
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New location for main panel


I am preparing to replace my main panel (a Federal Pacific with Stab-Loc breakers). Itís currently located in a half-bathroom. Iím considering relocating the new panel position to a wall on a 4íx4í stairwell landing between the 1st and 2nd floors. Iím considering this because a) I want the new panel out of the bathroom; and b) there are virtually no alternative locations I can consider, due to floor plan, placement of the 2nd floor (blocking most attic access), and no basement (on a slab).

Iíve been reviewing NEC 2008 Ė particularly NEC 110.26 Ė Spaces About Electrical Equipment, and it appears to me that the stairwell meets the space requirements. Itís also the closest location to the service entrance that meets space requirements. However, Iím not sure Iím finding all the NEC sections that are relevant, or that Iím interpreting things correctly.

Is there any code problem with placing the new main panel in the wall on the stairwell landing?
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:11 PM   #2
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New location for main panel


Not that I am aware of as long as all the clearance requirements are met.


do note that a service disconnect must be at the nearest practical location inside the entrance point of the service conductors. That ends up being a local inspectors call. In my area, a lot of people use an 11' rule for the service conductors. I would suggest asking your inspector about the placement before actually getting into the work.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:12 PM   #3
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New location for main panel


Provided you have the required 30x36" working clearance and the panel can be mounted at an appropriate height...And provided no guardrails or handrails are in the working space...Not a problem. I'm unaware of anything in the NEC or the International Residential Code that would prohibit that installation.

It certainly beats having it in the bathroom!
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:34 PM   #4
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New location for main panel


What is immediately on the other side of the panel? Maybe you could just flip the panel so it's facing into the next room. That way you don't have to relocate the service conductors.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:44 PM   #5
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New location for main panel


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Provided you have the required 30x36" working clearance and the panel can be mounted at an appropriate height...And provided no guardrails or handrails are in the working space...Not a problem. I'm unaware of anything in the NEC or the International Residential Code that would prohibit that installation.

It certainly beats having it in the bathroom!




good point about the handrails.

itsdanf; there can be nothing below or above the panel within the clear space designated.

and to appropriate height: not positive but if I remember correctly, the highest breaker can be no higher that 6' 7" in it's uppermost position.
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:13 AM   #6
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New location for main panel


I'd be positioning the new panel in the wall where the picture is located in the attached photo. Fortunately no handrails there, just a blank wall. Bookcase on right, remaining stairs on left. Minimum ceiling height (on right side) is 7', so I think I'm okay on height issues. The panel would end up about 7' from the meter (about a 10' service wire run).

Jupe, the current panel is in an outside wall; directly on other side is the meter box, mounted on the brick wall. Also, I really don't want to consider an outside panel.

There are no permits/inspections required here (just POCO side; already had them out here), so I really appreciate the responses. It will be real challenging relocating to that spot (attic access is extremely tight there), but it will be worth it to get the panel out of the WC!
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:16 AM   #7
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New location for main panel


I would check with the local inspector. This could be a judgment call. I would consider that located on a stairway and that is not permitted. The bathroom is definitely not permitted.
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:20 AM   #8
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New location for main panel


It cannot be located on the stairs but it can be located on a landing if the other requirements are met.
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:47 AM   #9
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New location for main panel


is that landing 3' deep and at least 30" side to side as you face the picture?
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Old 03-20-2010, 11:39 AM   #10
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New location for main panel


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is that landing 3' deep and at least 30" side to side as you face the picture?
Yes. Landing is 4' deep in front of picture. It's 4'1" side-to-side (from first stair rise on left to end of wall on right). See attached layout.
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:08 PM   #11
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New location for main panel


Oui here ya go that will meet the code on the landing due you say 4 feet both ways so ya good to go.

Merci,Marc
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:15 PM   #12
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New location for main panel


It turned out to be too difficult to access the proposed panel location in the exterior wall. No access above or below, so I'd have to rip out the drywall and go horizontally through studs. Um, no.

So instead, I've removed the built-in bookcase to the right, and will mount the panel in the wall behind it (see diagram). This location is also well within NEC spacing requirements.

This will really help the installation process, because that wall backs into the attic -- great access. Also, the location is closer to the old panel, allowing me to move most of the circuit wires from the old panel to the new one without having to splice. I'll only have to splice those wires currently entering the old panel from below (5 circuits). I'll replace the old panel with a smaller box to house the splices. It's just a shame that this solution required losing the built-in book case.

Thanks again for the replies. It's great to be back on a roll with this project!
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New location for main panel-landing-layout.jpg   New location for main panel-img_3490.jpg   New location for main panel-img_3491.jpg  

Last edited by Itsdanf; 03-21-2010 at 07:23 PM. Reason: Added photos, to show physical area for new panel.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:10 PM   #13
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New location for main panel


that's a shame. That is the perfect place for a bookcase.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:26 PM   #14
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New location for main panel


I would consider your original location on the stairwell landing, and keeping the bookcase.

You might have to remove some drywall and notch some studs, and then install a piece of conduit between the boxes to relocate the circuits to the new location. You could use the old panel enclosure as a junction box, and install a blank cover over it.

Small amount of patchwork = bookcase intact!
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:33 PM   #15
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New location for main panel


Build it against the outside wall maybe ?
Then run a conduit back to the original panel thru the book case if needed
Box the conduit in to match the book case
Box the panel in with the same type wood & add a door
Make it all match
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