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mark_anderson_u 09-09-2010 07:24 PM

Service Panel Replacement and 200A upgrade
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Hi All

I recently bought an older house and it has a very old 100A service Panel with no empty slots. I'm having it replaced and the service upgraded at the same time. The previous owners have installed load of BX in the unfinished basement (there is a finished bathroom). There also isn't the necessary clearance around tha panel.

Our electrician has pulled the permit and asked the inspector to come and take a look beforehand and see what he's going to want replaced. He's refused to come out (village hall is a few blocks away). This is a first for me (little exposure) and a first for my sparky (years of experience). Aren't the inspectors supposed to be there to advise as well as inspect? My electrician's not asking what is code, he asking what he's going to be required to do based on the current situation to pass the inspection. Seems to me that such a proactive approach is the responnsible thing to do and way better than chancing it or running up $1,000's of needless expense for the homeowner "just in case".

He's told the electrician that all exposed BX must be replaced with pipe. He doesn't care who did it or how long it's been there.

So now I have an issue with clearance (attached are some pictures).

The idiotic previous owners built a bathroom and put a bi-fold door angled back into the 36" clearance (so that 2-3" clearance to the left reduces as you move back from the panel). Bottom line: there isn't 36". Am I going to have to rip down walls just to get a new panel?

Also there is some plastic piping a foot or so below the panel and copper piping near the ground Are these going to be problems?

If the pipes are a problem, I'm guessing I can't just put it a new mounting platform in front of the pipes (i.e. 6' x 3' plywood offset 5" from wall).

There is literally nowhere else to put the panel, in the area where all the circuits come in, So does this mean I can't upgrade it? Surely there has be some leeway for retrofits? I'm trying to do the safe and responsible thing after all.

I'm guessing I have no recourse against the previous owners for building this wall and running all the BX that isn't to code. (none of this was mentioned during the home inspection either--just double tapping a 240v circuit)

I've thought about asking the village if there is a record of any permits for the bathroom, but I don't want to stir up a hormets nest and land myself with $1,000's in demo and renovation that I can't really afford right now (new roof going on tomorrow, looks like my $2k electrical upgrade will easily jumpt to $3k--if not more, etc.).



nap 09-09-2010 08:19 PM


Aren't the inspectors supposed to be there to advise as well as inspect?
No. the inspectors job is to inspect. It's nice when they will look at something and advise but it isn't really their job. It is up to the electrician to understand the code and install the system per the code. The inspector then checks it and either green tags it or red tags it.

I'm presuming the BX (AC actually) restriction is a local thing. It would be allowed per the NEC if it was installed properly, which it appears at least some of it isn't.

To the clearances; you need 30 inches side to side of space. The panel can fit anywhere within that 30". Then, 36" out from that space all the way from the floor to the ceiling must be clear space dedicated to the electrical. You mentioned something about outsetting the panel. If you build out to where you would have the proper dedicated space without intrusions, nothing wrong with that. It does appear the wall in front of th epanel needs to go regardless.

mark_anderson_u 09-10-2010 06:43 AM

Thanks nap

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