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I need information after a recent inspection on my home that is sold. The buyer just had an inspection and the inspector told them that the breaker box was not legal since it is in the walk in closet. We bought the house ten years ago and it is in the same place now that it was then. The house was built in 92 and has no other issues. Someone please tell me what the rules are

Mitch

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So what do I do since the house was built this way?

I would tell them what you told us. It was like that when you bought the house. The spirit of the code is that an electric panel can start a fire and you should not have easily ignitable materials near it.

If they want to move the panel elsewhere, or use the closet for something other than clothing or things that can readily burn, they can do so.

The fact is where I come from there are thousands and thousands of Chicago area apartments and condominiums where the electric panel is in a clothes closet with clothing packed against it. As an inspector I warn the buyer but that's it. To the best of my knowledge nobody has ever moved one of these.

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Is the wall where the panel is located an exterior wall? When I was stationed in Alabama in the 80's I was kind of surprised to find breaker boxes on the outside of several homes for sale that I looked at. Maybe the home's panel was originally outside and they had it turned around to make it more convenient. If so, buy a panel of the same brand that's rated to be installed at the exterior and have an electrician remove the panel you have and install the new panel facing outward so it's accessible from outside. Then have the interior wall repaired.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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If the house is still yours and the inspection was a code inspection done by a registered code inspector then I suspect you might have to move the panel.

If you were not the owner of the house when a code inspection flagged the violation then I suspect it would not be your responsibility to bring it into compliance. Only the code authority having jurisdiction at the address of the house can confirm the correct answer. You might contact them if a code inspection was involved.

A home inspection and a code inspection are two different things. It's important to know with absolute certainty which is involved.

If the inspection was done by a home inspector or anyone other than a registered code inspector, they have no authority to force you to correct the installation. Whether you do it or the buyer does it is a matter of negotiation between the two of you.

It doesn't matter at all where that panel was ten years ago. It only matters where it is now.

Marc

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I tell my clients that a panel in a clothes closet is safety issue, specifically prohibited by code and it should be changed. What the buyers do with that information is up to them. If they want the seller to fix it, give a credit for fixin' it or accepting it is their decision.

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I need information after a recent inspection on my home that is sold. The buyer just had an inspection and the inspector told them that the breaker box was not legal since it is in the walk in closet. We bought the house ten years ago and it is in the same place now that it was then. The house was built in 92 and has no other issues. Someone please tell me what the rules are

The rule is that the buyer and the seller can negotiate anything that they want. The inspector is there as an advisor to the buyer.

If I were in your place, I'd say, "Your inspector has a good point and I think it would be a good idea for you to move the panel after you own the house. I'm not going to move it for you, though, because I'm done living here. If you can't accept those terms, then I guess we don't have a deal and I'll just have to find another buyer."

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This really becomes an issue if the panel needs to be replaced (such as having a Federal Pacific or Zinsco panel. Around here no one moves them just to comply with the newer code but if the panel is totally replaced there is no option except to comply with the newer code. It is very common here to move it from the inside of a closet to the outside but only when replacing the panel.

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This really becomes an issue if the panel needs to be replaced (such as having a Federal Pacific or Zinsco panel. Around here no one moves them just to comply with the newer code but if the panel is totally replaced there is no option except to comply with the newer code. It is very common here to move it from the inside of a closet to the outside but only when replacing the panel.

Just to be clear, the prohibition on placing breakers in closets near ignitable stuff is very old. It was certainly the rule in 1992, as it was decades earlier.

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If an interior wall, just turn the box around so it opens on the other side of the wall. The back of the panel now faces inside the closet. Patch the drywall in the closet with the drywall cut out from the other side. No need to move wires.

You're making that sound a whole lot easier than the way it's going to happen. What won't you have to disconnect in order to flip the box in an about face?

There's going to have to be an awful lot slack and nothing running through studs to get away with that, right?

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