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Thread: working spaced and panel in bathroom

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    working spaced and panel in bathroom

    I often work in older homes and I know about working spaces required around loadcenters, and that its a violation to install one in a bathroom. But what about replacing an excisting one in an old house thats in a bathroom. Second question, some old homes don't have the required working space around the panel. Since its excisting, is it a violation to replace it? You know, it could make a job much more costly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    Depends on what they enforce in your jurisdiction. Around here we have the Rehab Code that would permit the new panel to go right back in the old location even if is now non-complaint for a new installation.
    Rob

    Moderator

    All responses based on the 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Around here, I believe that if you touch it you can't leave it in a condition that violates the current code. But much depends on the extent of the changes being made at the facility. Check with your local jurisdiction.
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2017 NEC unless otherwise noted.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Check with your AHJ. We can only give you opinions.

  5. #5
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    When asking your AHJ they may ask for proof that the panel was installed in that location where code allowed and permitted at the time. That nothing new has affected working space.

    Be prepared to answer this.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierrasparky View Post
    When asking your AHJ they may ask for proof that the panel was installed in that location where code allowed and permitted at the time. That nothing new has affected working space.

    Be prepared to answer this.
    Yep, and look inside the panel for a date stamp. If it's old enough to predate a code restriction, it may help a case for in-place replacement, but if it's newer that's gonna make it nearly impossible to prove it was originally compliant.

    I've watched inspectors disprove the, "it's original to the house" claim countless times with date-stamped items like drywall, plywood and plumbing fixtures.

    Edited to add: this thread mentions that NEC 1993 is when panels were restricted from bathrooms, in case this becomes relevant: http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=117896
    Last edited by Craigv; 06-16-18 at 10:39 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craigv View Post
    Yep, and look inside the panel for a date stamp. If it's old enough to predate a code restriction, it may help a case for in-place replacement, but if it's newer that's gonna make it nearly impossible to prove it was originally compliant.

    I've watched inspectors disprove the, "it's original to the house" claim countless times with date-stamped items like drywall, plywood and plumbing fixtures.

    Edited to add: this thread mentions that NEC 1993 is when panels were restricted from bathrooms, in case this becomes relevant: http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=117896
    But unless you have something like the already mentioned "rehab code", most places you may be allowed to add branch circuits to existing loadcenter but will be required to move loadcenter out of the bathroom if you are replacing the load center.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    But unless you have something like the already mentioned "rehab code", most places you may be allowed to add branch circuits to existing loadcenter but will be required to move loadcenter out of the bathroom if you are replacing the load center.
    My post intended to address cases where the date of a prior replacement of a panel might be a factor in whether the panel can remain in place at all. If the panel post-dates a code restriction, the AHJ might require removal regardless of intention to replace it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craigv View Post
    My post intended to address cases where the date of a prior replacement of a panel might be a factor in whether the panel can remain in place at all. If the panel post-dates a code restriction, the AHJ might require removal regardless of intention to replace it.
    Which is basically what said rehab code does. Otherwise NEC is pretty clear - no overcurrent devices in the bathroom, replacing an existing panel in a bathroom in most places in a no go unless there is such rehab code. Replacing a panel without proper 110.26 working clearances is also no go in most places unless there is such rehab code. Not installing AFCI protection (where current code calls for it) is no go without amendments or rehab codes as a general rule.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    Which is basically what said rehab code does. Otherwise NEC is pretty clear - no overcurrent devices in the bathroom, replacing an existing panel in a bathroom in most places in a no go unless there is such rehab code. Replacing a panel without proper 110.26 working clearances is also no go in most places unless there is such rehab code. Not installing AFCI protection (where current code calls for it) is no go without amendments or rehab codes as a general rule.
    And I haven't disputed any of this. All I suggested is that if the date of installation is required by an AHJ, most panels have a date stamped inside the box.

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