I'm remodeling my fixer house, and I plan to install an electrical panel in an unfinished basement. At some point (hopefully in the near future), I'll finish the basement space. This will add thickness to the walls (insulation and framing).

If I want to move my panel from the unfinished wall to the finished wall, what's the proper/correct way to allow for the extra length of wiring I'll need to account for the change in depth (about 4-6")? I'm interested in both accounting for extra length in branch circuits as well as the feeder cables coming into my house. Citations of relevant sections of Code are appreciated.

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    Why not frame out the immediate spot where the box will be installed so when mounted now it is at the finished level for then? The loss of 4-6" inches now should be no hardship.
    – bib
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 21:41
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    Or how about using a 6" deep panelboard cabinet surface mounted to the existing unfinished wall, so that the cabinet front ends up in the right place when the wall is finished? Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 23:17
  • @bib in my particular case, the wall will need to be stripped of old paint, sealed, insulated, and a new stud wall erected. The wall prep would be prohibitive to do in that one area by itself. Good thought, though. Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 5:33

1 Answer 1


The Code requires "neat and workmanlike" work. A lot of people interpret that as nipping back all extra length of wires so there's the minimum wire clutter possible. I don't at all. I leave enough wire so I could move the breaker almost anywhere in the panel, and I use stranded wire so shaping them in clever ways doesn't work.

One very easy way of leaving extra space is intentionally choosing breaker locations that are farther away than needed, i.e. wire all the left-entering cables onto the right breaker bar, and the right-entering cables onto the left breaker bar. Remember don't cross the buses with wire, go above or below the buses.

110.12 Mechanical Execution of Work. Electrical equipment shall be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner.

That's it.

  • Thanks, Harper! I like the idea about spacing the breakers within the box. Thoughts on the feeders coming in? Does the Code snippet above apply to that? If you know the relevant citation (section/paragraph) for the Code snippet above, would you add it to your response? Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 5:30
  • For feeders, I've seen a single loop of coil, but that's not a great idea because it'll create eddy currents. An S-curve would be better. Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 6:23

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