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My house has a single-car garage, with the whole house's electrical panel on its exterior wall. I'm thinking about adding a bump-out on the garage to make space for a second car. The problem is that the addition would need to knock down the wall where the electrical panel is. I'm planning to redo the electrical panel for the house to upgrade the ancient wiring and increase the amperage, so I want to move the electrical panel to a suitable place to allow for the future garage addition plans.

Is there any issue with the electrical panel being within a foot of the side door that leads to the outside of the garage? Here is an image of the existing panel location with the proposed new location. In theory, I could shift the door a foot or two to the right if needed.

Garage picture

Design clarification

Maybe this new picture will help to clarify the situation more. The idea is that I want to add space for a second car, but I don't want to be without electricity in the house during the construction process of the addition. Since I'm already planning to redo the electrical wiring in the whole house before I even start on the garage addition (down the road), I want to move the electrical service to a better place. I've looked into some more options, and I think it might be possible to have the main service connect strictly at a box on the outside of the house, then run to an interior wall further inside the house where the breaker panel will be.

So, the plan is as follows:

Stage 1: Gut and remodel existing house interior, replace all electrical wiring from the 1970s, etc.

Stage 2: In a couple of years, add on a second garage space, which is made easier by the proper planning of the electrical changes during Stage 1.

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  • Why not put the panel the other side of the door? – Solar Mike Jan 30 at 10:44
  • I actually had that similar thought after a night's sleep. Thanks. I'll talk to the electrician to see what they recommend. – John Long Jan 30 at 15:14
  • Just clarifying - you will be removing the old "current exterior wall" ? You could leave a stub wall out to where the current panel is, and open it up from there to the left. Not sure how load-bearing that wall is, probably quite a lot. – Criggie Jan 31 at 1:50
  • I added a new picture and some more detail. The key is that I don't want to lose electrical service in the rest of the house while the garage addition is being constructed. – John Long Jan 31 at 5:36
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Looking at your drawing. There would not be a code reason that prevents you from putting your panel at that location, but there may be a practical reason.

You are putting in a 2'8" door which is probably prehung, so that would be about 2'11" or even 3' of space in the wall. Then you will have at least a double stud around it, and you may have the same at the "T" in the wall. Then there is a lintel above the door which may partially or completely block the area above the panel. Also you have to deal with the double 2x4 plate across the top. A loadcenter (residential panel) needs a 17" space for installation. Rough calculations show that you can install a loadcenter with about 2" to spare. You also need to consider the area above the panel. Does the lintel interfere with the conductors coming into it? What does the slope of the roof look like? Can you get in and out of the panel for expansion? Is this new wall loadbearing? Do you want a wall switch on that door, because it probably won't fit?

This all means that when you begin your remodel, you want to be very specific and coordinate that space with whomever is doing the walls and door or rethink the location of the panel.

Hope this helps and good luck.

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  • The garage is on the first floor, and the master bedroom is above it with an attic above that. I looked into my local power company's requirements, and they require 18" on both sides of the exterior meter making this a no-go due to the corner space. – John Long Jan 30 at 15:15
  • One other thing is that the door is already there. The only proposed changes are to knock out part of the wall to the left of the 2'8" door to add the new area above it in the diagram. – John Long Jan 30 at 15:47
  • @JohnLong -- who is your power company? They may have some rather pointed opinions about where service masts should and shouldn't be... – ThreePhaseEel Jan 31 at 15:39
  • @ThreePhaseEel We don't have service masts. Our lines are buried. – John Long Jan 31 at 21:50
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    @ThreePhaseEel duke-energy.com/_/media/pdfs/partner-with-us/… – John Long Jan 31 at 22:57
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The location as shown is not a problem. If you consider other locations or obstructions take into account the NEC requires a 30" wide by 36" deep clear working space in front of the panel. The 30" can be measured from either edge.

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While Code isn't an issue for that panel placement, your utility's metering requirements are

While your proposed panel placement doesn't pose any Code issues, the fact that your meter's there means that you have to obey your utility's requirements about meter placement. (It's their cash register, after all!) In particular, they want 18" free on each side of the meter, and since you have an underground service and a rather tight area, achieving that by offsetting the meter can would be difficult at best.

As a result, I'd put the panel across the doorway from your proposed location. That way, there's adequate working clearance on both sides of the meter, and what appears to be workable space for the panel to go there as well. Lightswitches can simply go across the doorway from the panel location.

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  • Right now, the door is left-hand in-swing. I'm thinking of moving it a bit to the left, closer to where the corner will be when the new addition is built, and changing it to right-hand in-swing. That will give more room on the right side of the door for the meter on the outside. – John Long Feb 1 at 1:48
  • @JohnLong -- yeah, definitely a good idea – ThreePhaseEel Feb 1 at 1:52

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