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Subpanel placement

Joe_Augenbraun's picture

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I'm putting an addition on my house which will be my new
kitchen. The existing kitchen will become a laundry / utility room.

I'm putting in a 100 Amp subpanel to handle the electrical needs of the new addition. Since the existing kitchen will become a utility room, and it shares a wall with the new addition, I plan to put the new subpanel in the old kitchen.

The problem is the placement -- the best place for the panel is on the wall over a counter. I don't want to remove the counter if I don't have to (nice to have cabinets and storage in a utility room), but I recall reading somewhere that an electrical panel requires space directly in front of it. If that is true, I would think that would make putting it on the wall behind a counter illegal.

Does anyone know whether this is legal? The counter is only 12" deep, if that makes a difference. I live in New Jersey, so BOCA or CABO are applicable. (Although I suspect this is a pure NEC question).

Thanks for any light that anyone can shed.

(post #167589, reply #1 of 4)

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Joe,
The NEC says you have to provide 30" of clear space (width) in front of your panel. Could you just remove 30" of your cabinet and countertop and save the rest??

(post #167589, reply #2 of 4)

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IIRC the Canadian Electrical Code mandates clear space with no counters, appliances, or other obstructions below the panelboard. You are not allowed to put it in the back of a kitchen cupboard, either. The maximum coverage permitted is cupboard doors. No storage in front of the panelboard is permitted. There are also height regulations as well - to ensure that almost every adult can reach the top breaker and high enough to keep it out of the reach of young children.

The code also states that panelboards must be installed on 0.75" plywood covered with 0.5" drywall or other material providing equivalent fire protection.

As always, local codes may vary.

(post #167589, reply #3 of 4)

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Yes I could clear 30" of counter, but I was hoping
that I wouldn't have to. I appreciate your response
-- at least now I know how much counter I have to
clear.

(post #167589, reply #4 of 4)

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I'm putting an addition on my house which will be my new
kitchen. The existing kitchen will become a laundry / utility room.

I'm putting in a 100 Amp subpanel to handle the electrical needs of the new addition. Since the existing kitchen will become a utility room, and it shares a wall with the new addition, I plan to put the new subpanel in the old kitchen.

The problem is the placement -- the best place for the panel is on the wall over a counter. I don't want to remove the counter if I don't have to (nice to have cabinets and storage in a utility room), but I recall reading somewhere that an electrical panel requires space directly in front of it. If that is true, I would think that would make putting it on the wall behind a counter illegal.

Does anyone know whether this is legal? The counter is only 12" deep, if that makes a difference. I live in New Jersey, so BOCA or CABO are applicable. (Although I suspect this is a pure NEC question).

Thanks for any light that anyone can shed.