We are going to be remodeling our basement into livable space. My wife is drafting out the plans and before we try and get a permit, we want to make sure this will work for the breaker box.

It was originally going to be in the laundry/bathroom, but I realized the box couldn’t be in a bathroom. She then drew it into its own room, accessed through the laundry room/bathroom via a bifold door with what should be appropriate clearances and no plumbing going through the room.

Is this allowable? We thought about just shifting the wall and putting the box in the bedroom, but I didn’t like that idea.

Any help would be greatenter image description here

  • 2
    Why not just put the door into the bedroom? – NoSparksPlease Oct 12 '20 at 0:03
  • Where is your service entrance, and is this your main panel that you're moving, or a subpanel? Is that thing below the bedroom and bathroom/laundry spaces a hallway/corridor, or some sort of living space, for that matter? – ThreePhaseEel Oct 12 '20 at 0:27
  • are you intending to store anything in that tiny room? – Jasen Oct 12 '20 at 0:36
  • Would rather not put the door into the bedroom, we want that corner to be usable. That is our main and the service entry is right behind it. It is a “living space”. We would rather not move the box, so that is where it is currently located on the concrete wall. – Felix48 Oct 12 '20 at 0:38
  • It would be a room just for the electrical and our modem, router would sit across from the box in shelves built within the framing and wouldn’t protrude into the room – Felix48 Oct 12 '20 at 0:41

The good news is that your proposed closet is big enough

The good news about your plans is that your proposed electrical closet is indeed large enough to house the clear working space for your electrical panel (30" wide by 36" deep, though not necessarily centered on the panel), as well as a future subpanel adjacent to the existing panel and sharing its working space, as long as the existing panel is 6" deep or less, which is true for just about all residential loadcenters.

Keeping pesky storage out ("Do this, Don't do that, Can't you read the signs?")

The main issue with your closet plans, like with dedicated electrical closets in many commercial spaces, is the penchant for people to not know that the NEC means what they say when they talk about clear working space for panelboards. In fact, NEC 110.26(B) explicitly says that electrical working space shall not be used for storage:

(B) Clear Spaces. Working space required by this section shall not be used for storage. When normally enclosed live parts are exposed for inspection or servicing, the working space, if in a passageway or general open space, shall be suitably guarded.

To this end, a sign on the closet door reminding you and yours that it's an electrical closet and not a storage closet:


would be wise; these signs are available both as vinyl decals for use on solid doors, or as aluminum signs that can be screwed to a solid or slatted door, and aren't all that expensive in the grand scheme of things.

  • 4
    this won't stop people storing things there. The only thing that would stop people storing things there is if lightning came out of the fusebox and zapped them when they tried. – user253751 Oct 12 '20 at 11:58
  • +2 (if I could) for the song reference! – FreeMan Oct 12 '20 at 18:13

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