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Phillip
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Originally posted by Phillip

I was asked when did the NEC stopped allowing electrical panels to be installed in a closet.

I can not remember when it was changed. I have been searching for it and haven't found it.

Would one of you let me know the dates the changes where made.

Thanks.

I believe that the restriction was first added in the 1981 National Electrical Code in Article 240. I don't have the copy here. Maybe Jim does and can verify the date.

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2005 NEC:

240.24 Location in or on Premises

(D) Not in Vicinity of Easily Ignitible Material -Overcurrent devices shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitible material, such as in clothes closets.

Examples of locations where combustible materials may be stored are linen closets, paper storage closets, and clothes closets.

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Originally posted by Neal Lewis

Originally posted by Phillip

I was asked when did the NEC stopped allowing electrical panels to be installed in a closet.

Panel boxes are still allowed in closets.
Excuse me?

E3305.4 Location of clear spaces. Required working space shall not be designated for storage. Panelboards and overcurrent devices shall not be located in clothes closets or bathrooms.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Joe Tedesco

I believe that the restriction was first added in the 1981 National Electrical Code in Article 240. I don't have the copy here. Maybe Jim does and can verify the date.

Yep. You pretty much nailed it. The 1981 NEC was the first edition that specifically mentioned clothes closets. The previous edition, in 1978, simply said, "Overcurrent devices shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitible material." That general wording has been in the code at least as far back as 1947.

I suppose that someone could argue that, since the purpose of a clothes closet is to store easily ignitible material, OCDs have been prohibited in clothes closets all along.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by hausdok

Originally posted by Neal Lewis

Originally posted by Phillip

I was asked when did the NEC stopped allowing electrical panels to be installed in a closet.

Panel boxes are still allowed in closets.
Excuse me?

E3305.4 Location of clear spaces. Required working space shall not be designated for storage. Panelboards and overcurrent devices shall not be located in clothes closets or bathrooms.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Ah, but Neal is correct. Phillip asked when the "NEC" stopped allowing panels to be installed in closets. The NEC still allows panels in closets (as long as you don't put any breakers in the panels).

That wacky IRC! They just have to go around messing with a perfectly good electrical code.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I figured Neal's statement was some sort of trick but I didn't know what.

The NEC still allows panels in closets (as long as you don't put any breakers in the panels).

Now I get it.

It blows me away that as voluminous and wordy as the NEC is, that some folk could still interpret that to mean that you can still put "panelboard" in a closet.

But, I guess since they don't specifically say it, its still allowed.

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Originally posted by randynavarro

. . . It blows me away that as voluminous and wordy as the NEC is, that some folk could still interpret that to mean that you can still put "panelboard" in a closet.

But, I guess since they don't specifically say it, its still allowed.

I think it has to do with turf. Article 240, which is about overcurrent protection and which contains the prohibition we're talking about, is under Code-Making Panel 10.

Article 408, which is about switchboards and panelboards, is under Code-Making Panel 9.

My limited understanding of the code making process seems to be that each panel has its own peeves and crotchets.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by Joe Tedesco

I believe that the restriction was first added in the 1981 National Electrical Code in Article 240. I don't have the copy here. Maybe Jim does and can verify the date.

Yep. You pretty much nailed it. The 1981 NEC was the first edition that specifically mentioned clothes closets. The previous edition, in 1978, simply said, "Overcurrent devices shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitible material." That general wording has been in the code at least as far back as 1947.

I suppose that someone could argue that, since the purpose of a clothes closet is to store easily ignitible material, OCDs have been prohibited in clothes closets all along.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

I've seen two (new construction) in the past couple of months. Yep I write them.

So, why can they be installed in a garage storage room..........with the lawn mower?

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  • 9 months later...

Flammables, caustics and clutter......that is a much better location.

I just joined the forum because I was searching for this answer. My house is on a slab and I've got limited areas to move the panel.

I was entertaining adding a level on the house and wanted to use the space where the panel is now for an oversized kitchen/eating area. The panel would be relocated to the second floor. I live on a lake and it would be great to have breakfast nook or something overlooking the water.

I know the topic was about panel installation in a closet but what about a large walk-in closet. I thought I read somewhere that the installation is more about clearance and accessability (vicinity). What I read was 18" on both sides of the panel and 3 feet in front.

Is there any truth to this?

Oh........... the panel is 200 amp.

Thanks in advance guys.

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Originally posted by billyboy

. . . My house is on a slab and I've got limited areas to move the panel.

I was entertaining adding a level on the house and wanted to use the space where the panel is now for an oversized kitchen/eating area. The panel would be relocated to the second floor.

It would be a big job unless you could put a large junction box where the panel is now. All of the wires that come into the panel now have to go somewhere. Unless you want to reroute every circuit in your house to the new location, you'll need a junction box.

I know the topic was about panel installation in a closet but what about a large walk-in closet. I thought I read somewhere that the installation is more about clearance and accessability (vicinity).

No. This particular rule is not about clearance or accessibility. It's about fire. They don't want breakers in places where there are easily ignitible materials. A large walk-in closet might be ok, if it were really large and if there were no clothes rods near the panel. That call would be up to your local municipal inspector.

What I read was 18" on both sides of the panel and 3 feet in front.

Is there any truth to this?

Not quite. You need 36" in front and a space 30" wide. The 30" wide space doesn't have to be centered on the panel. You can have 0" on one side.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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  • 2 years later...

In 1981 when breaker panels where not allowed in clothes closets, some

companies where still makeing panels with exposed breakers. Today all

breaker panels have doors that close over the breakers to protect and

conceal them. I think in some cases a breaker panel can be installed in

a clothes closet and not be in the vicinity of easily ignitible material as

long as the clearances are ment.

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In 1981 when breaker panels where not allowed in clothes closets, some

companies where still makeing panels with exposed breakers. Today all

breaker panels have doors that close over the breakers to protect and

conceal them. I think in some cases a breaker panel can be installed in

a clothes closet and not be in the vicinity of easily ignitible material as

long as the clearances are ment.

The doors have nothing to do with it. Read the words:

"Overcurrent devices shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitible material, such as in clothes closets."

It doesn't say, "unless there are doors over them," or, "unless such & such a clearance is met."

Breakers don't belong in clothes closets.

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In 1981 when breaker panels where not allowed in clothes closets, some

companies where still makeing panels with exposed breakers. Today all

breaker panels have doors that close over the breakers to protect and

conceal them. I think in some cases a breaker panel can be installed in

a clothes closet and not be in the vicinity of easily ignitible material as

long as the clearances are ment.

The doors have nothing to do with it. Read the words:

"Overcurrent devices shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitible material, such as in clothes closets."

It doesn't say, "unless there are doors over them," or, "unless such & such a clearance is met."

Breakers don't belong in clothes closets.

I think one could also make the argument that they don't belong in any closet. I think that the code writing body used a clothes closet as an example but didn't mean to say that other types of closets are OK, because it's not just clothes that are easily ignitable. If one were to open the storage closets in the homes of most of us, I bet those have a plethora of easily ignitable items.

There is a requirement for clearance around these things for a reason, so they are easily seen and easily reached in the event of an emergency and so there will be plenty of room around them for an electrician to work safely. Let's face it, a closet stuffed with crap - ignitable or not - makes it harder to find these things and makes them harder to get to. When you are explaining this stuff to a client, that's what they need to understand, 'cuz most of them are going to be thinking, "Shit, I've got all that crap piled in front of my panel at home."

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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  • 5 months later...

Quote: Originally posted by Phillip

I was asked when did the NEC stopped allowing electrical panels to be installed in a closet.

id="quoteN">

Panel boxes are still allowed in closets.

If its existing ,but once the service is updated most inspectors will make you relocate it.

I personally consider it to be more of an accessibilty -safety issue than a problem with burning clothes.

When somebody is getting electrocuted do you really wany to be digging boxes out of a closet to shut the power off?

Even in new construction with the panel on an outside wall the panel has to be readily accessable with nothing obstructing access to it.

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Originally posted by Phillip

I was asked when did the NEC stopped allowing electrical panels to be installed in a closet.

Panel boxes are still allowed in closets.

If its existing ,but once the service is updated most inspectors will make you relocate it.

I personally consider it to be more of an accessibilty -safety issue than a problem with burning clothes.

It's both. There are two different code sections. One requires adequate work space, the other requires that the equipment be installed away from easily ignitable material.

When somebody is getting electrocuted do you really wany to be digging boxes out of a closet to shut the power off?

Even in new construction with the panel on an outside wall the panel has to be readily accessable with nothing obstructing access to it.

Yes, access is necessary. So is clearance from ignitables. Two sections, two requirements.

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  • 1 month later...

Yep, I thought that was a bad idea when I moved into a house that had 2 adjoining closets with a breaker box in the middle with the wires visible. Landlord said it was okay........until it started smoking one day, the first thing to catch fire were the clothes hanging in there. I never knew a house could burn that fast

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