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I am looking to wall mount a television above the breaker box in my garage. It would either be this or storage shelving. Either way, I would like to have an idea of whether this can be done safely and up to code. From what I gather, I need:

  • to turn off the main switch to the panel
  • to be dead sure of the stud locations and make sure I am drilling wood all the way
  • still be wary of the main line coming in to the panel
  • the television to be 6 1/2 feet off of the ground

Am I missing anything? Should I just accept that this is dead space on my wall?

breaker box location

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Code isn't really relevant unless you were to block access to the panel (within 3 feet in front). Just don't hit any wires. Use screws that penetrate no more than about 1-1/4" into the lumber. All wires should be deeper than that.

To respond to the hand-wringing about mount integrity...

  • A 5/16" screw (properly piloted) into framing an inch will hold hundreds of lbs. of force without issue.
  • Four of them will hold a horse. If you're still worried, use six. Most mounts have extra space where you can drill more holes.
  • Mount manufacturers over-spec their kits for liability (damage and injury) and to protect their reputations. That doesn't mean you need to go so deep.
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  • TV mount manufacturers will usually state a minimum depth which the lag bolts must enter the stud. I do not recall what depth was specified by a mount I did a few months ago.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jan 19 at 20:30
  • Are Screws that penetrate no more than 1-1/4" sufficient for a TV mount ?
    – Alaska Man
    Jan 19 at 20:32
  • Sure, if they're the right size. You couldn't pull 1/4" lag screws out of a stud if you tried, and most larger mounts provide 5/16" screws.
    – isherwood
    Jan 19 at 21:09
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    It's worth being explicit that code requires more than just not blocking the panel. It requires a clear space 30" wide and 6 1/2 feet high (from the floor), with the 30" including the whole panel but not necessarily centered on it.
    – nobody
    Jan 19 at 23:53
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    Thanks for the suggestions! So it would be possible - albeit still a little sketchy - to go ahead and mount, but buy different lag screws that only penetrate no deeper than 1-1/4" into the stud? After sleeping on it, I thought of possibly using a TV ceiling mount. The joists are those 2x4 floor trusses that are nice and wide and wouldn't have any wire running through the lumber. Thinking that might be the safest bet if I don't go with the wall mount
    – Stetzon
    Jan 20 at 14:38
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The required working space around the panel is 6-6" (6-1/2 feet) high, so you can't infringe on that from above. 30 inches wide (need not be centered, but doors need to be able to open fully) and 3 feet in front.

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OK, first, fix your working space. That fan, vamonos. The 30" space, as illustrated, doesn't need to be centered on the panel.

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What you have there is a flush-mount panel, which is the bane of anyone who's ever tried to add a circuit. Lately it's been the fashion to destroy all "utility spaces" in the home. Utilities are important. Utilities place us above the animals.

The Victorians had a simple cure for this contradiction. They would fit a tasteful cabinet door anywhere they needed to access utility spaces. For instance, changing out my tub faucet is utter simplicity, there's a tasteful door there!

So, for long term maintainability, I would advise installing a cabinet door with trim spanning the joist directly above the panel. Then, open the door and very carefully use an appropriate depth-controlled tool to remove the drywall behind the cabinet door. Now you have in-wall access, permanently. I would also back the cabinet door itself with drywall itself to retain the firestop characteristics of that wall.

Now you have permanent and easy access to that wall cavity. Adding a receptacle for the TV is simplicity itself.

You might do the same thing below the panel.

And then, you can put a cabinet door over the panel itself. However it would need to extend beyond the joists. It would need to be sufficiently large that it doesn't interfere with the door opening all the way OR removal of the panel deadfront. And it needs to be thin enough (when open) that the AHJ won't claim it invades the working space.

It's legal to have electrical junction box lids and equipment behind a panel with a latch. If you need to fetch a tool to reach the panel/box, that's a violation.

(you know where the joists are, since the panel is specifically sized to just fit inside a standard 16"-on-center joist bay).

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I believe most TV mounts have a minimum depth for their lag bolts.

From Rocketfish™ - Tilting TV Wall Mount for Most 32"-70" TVs

Drill pilot holes to a depth of 3 in. (75 mm) using a 7/32 in. (5.5 mm) diameter drill bit.

I really hope you don't hit any wires with the pilot hole nor the 2 3/4" lag bolts they supply.

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  • Those are CYA specs. They're not necessary. Four 5/16" screws into the wood even an inch would be more than adequate for any modern TV. You'd destroy the bracket before you'd pull them out of the wood.
    – isherwood
    Jan 19 at 21:02
  • I actually have that exact mount behind my 65" LG. Keep in mind that those screws are sized for 5/8" drywall (often 3/4" thick with tape joints and the mount plate), which means that the screws might only penetrate 2" in a real-world situation. They oversize them for liability and reputation.
    – isherwood
    Jan 19 at 21:05
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    "Hope is not an operating doctrine" - US Army Jan 19 at 21:43
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica It's not but after being exposed to the general populace for most of my life I have no doubt that people call up customer service and say "The instructions said to pre-drill 3 inches. Why did you tell me to pre-drill so deep? There was an electrical wire in the way. I expect you to fix my electrical."
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jan 20 at 13:58

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