I'm in the initial phase of laying out my 14x32 workshop and I need advice on whether to put the water treatment system and well pump outside or inside the workshop space. Here's what i currently have framed up for the concrete slab: enter image description here

I want the electrical panel on the wall between where these well heads are. Here's a 2d model of what I'm building showing the panel between the well heads. enter image description here I forsee down the road issues with having the electrical panel behind the water softening equipment. If I want to add a new circuit which I most likely will, probably several iterations of changes. I will need to work around the softener equipment since it will be below and around the electrical panel.

So I'm leaning towards extending the concrete form another 3 feet out from the well heads and installing the softener system (which includes a 15 gallon liquid h2o2 peroxide tank) to outside the rear of the workshop wall on this 3' extension and frame in and roof an enclosure on the exterior. This will give me working room on the inside of the workshop plus free up that area to allow for future unhindered access to the electrical panel.

Here's a bulleted list of reasons for and against having the softener system and pumps inside vs outside this new workshop building.

For adding the 3'

  • I had planned for a floor drain and a 1" drop in the concrete slab in this section to allow for if there ever was a major leak water would go out the drain instead of out into the workshop. Not having the pumps and softener system within the framing of the main workshop would allow any leaks to be outside.
  • Extra workshop floor space.
  • No potential issues with spilling salt or peroxide onto the main workshop floor
  • Easy access for salt & peroxide delivery person, I plan to keep the workshop main floor locked.
  • Free up the area under and around the panel load center to allow for future upgrades without having to work around the bulky softener system equipment.
  • Not having to install the floor drain.
  • A little extra storage space gained within this 3' enclosed area.

Against adding the 3'

  • Having the softener system and pumps enclosed and out of the way makes it out of sight out of mind so to speak.
  • extra cost of concrete for this 3' and the extra cost for framing and roofing this enclosed area
  • Adding this extra 3' may potentially cover over the telco coax and the electrical feed to my house from the pole.
  • Brings the space between my neighbor's property line and this slab to about 3.5 feet.

Is there anything I'm missing here that is not obvious? I'm looking for additional comments, a second set of eyes per se. To look over my thinking here and add any details I may be missing that would prevent me from adding this 3' extra to the concrete slab.

  • You'll obviously need to check your setback requirements, if any, WRT the neighbor's property line. Since that's a local area having jurisdiction issue, it will vary with the LAHJ. In my area the whole thing is already too close to the line before you add to it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 7, 2020 at 16:12
  • I'm zoned agriculture here.
    – D A
    Oct 7, 2020 at 23:35

1 Answer 1


You cannot have the electrical panel behind the water softener, unless it's a full 3 feet behind.

Required working space for a panel is a minimum of 30 inches wide, 3 feet in front, and 78(?) inches high. It has to include the panel, it does not need to be centered on it. That space has to be kept clear - it cannot be used for storage or have obstructions (such as equipment) installed in it. It's common to locate the panel so that a hallway or other normally unblocked traffic path is coincident with the working space required.

  • Any code restrictions regarding the water softener behind the wall where the panel is installed?
    – D A
    Oct 7, 2020 at 16:06
  • No, at that point it's not in the way.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 7, 2020 at 16:09

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