I'm under contract for a house that needs some updating. A previous owner framed a full bath w/ shower around the electrical panel in the basement. The seller agreed to moving the panel & upgrading to a 100 amp panel. If the seller did not use our contractor we wanted to visit w/ the hired contractor & discuss paying the difference for the 200 amp panel we had originally discussed w/ our electrician. When we inquired about the process, we were told that the permit was already pulled for a 100 amp installation & the work already completed would have to be redone. When I stopped by the property today, they weren't completed, none of the wires were in the panel & they had moved it to the right side of the bathroom instead of the left. Now it is under & next to the old corroded leaking copper pipes for the washing machine & essentially in what will be our laundry room & right where I wanted to build shelving for my wife... Why would you move it out of a bathroom and into a laundry area??? Besides being mad that I didn't get the larger amperage I wanted & I didn't get the location I wanted... rant over... Is this up to code & okay the way they are installing this??? Seller is definitely saving money here.

electrical panel under copper water pipes

  • 1
    Where is this? Country/state
    – Gunnish
    Nov 26, 2016 at 21:25
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    Where does the service enter the house with respect to where the panel a) was b) is now? Nov 26, 2016 at 22:17
  • If the house currently has a less-than-100 amp service (60 amps?), and is being upgraded to 100, that is a big increase in capacity for a home which apparently doesn't need that much power. 200 amps is serious overkill, unless you were going to add electric heat or a motorcoach battery charging business. Why do you want 200 amps anyway?
    – wallyk
    Nov 27, 2016 at 6:36
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    There are several amenities that will gobble up that extra 100 amps real quick. I have 3 buildings with 100A service and I seriously wish I had 200. Nov 27, 2016 at 23:57
  • I would say a laundry room is a much better place for a service panel. A bathroom with shower is a terrible location because of the humidity; water will condense inside the panel and cause a LOT of problems. Wouldn't surprise me if code also prohibited this. Nov 28, 2016 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


This is compliant...

The 110.26(E)(1)(a) rule about dedicated space goes as follows:

(a) Dedicated Electrical Space. The space equal to the width and depth of the equipment and extending from the floor to a height of 1.8 m (6 ft) above the equipment or to the structural ceiling, whichever is lower, shall be dedicated to the electrical installation. No piping, ducts, leak protection apparatus, or other equipment foreign to the electrical installation shall be located in this zone.

Note that it says that the dedicated space is equal to the depth of the equipment. Since the box is surface-mounted to the plywood, this means that the dedicated space starts at the front of the plywood sheet (the side facing out towards you), and the piping behind the sheet does not infringe upon it as a result.

Personally, I'd deploy a NEMA 3 family enclosure here instead of a NEMA 1 to minimize the risk of problems due to splashing, etal, but that's just me being mildly paranoid.

but be careful where you put the washer!

However, the Code compliance of this also has to do with where you put your laundry appliances. The washer needs to be placed in compliance with the 30" minimum width requirement of 110.26(A)(2):

(2) Width of Working Space. The width of the working space in front of the electrical equipment shall be the width of the equipment or 762 mm (30 in.), whichever is greater. In all cases, the work space shall permit at least a 90 degree opening of equipment doors or hinged panels.

Note that this doesn't have to be centered on the equipment -- in your case, simply making sure that the washer is 30" away from the side wall and not putting anything else there(!) would be enough to comply.

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