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I've got an active leak (probably one of the infamous Michigan rod holes) behind the electrical panel in my basement. It's just seeping at the moment, but after seeping comes dribbling and after dribbling comes gushing, right next to all that electrical stuff --- bad. I need to get in there and plug the rod hole. Can I take the electrical panel off the wall to get at the rod hole? How do I do that? Do I need to turn the power off?


Clarification: I would like to avoid having to disconnect everything. That would require an electrician or a lot of work. Can I just move the panel?

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"Can I take the electrical panel off the wall..."

  • Yes, but removing it requires the feed conductors and circuit conductors to be disconnected. This is a big job and (depending on your local code authority) a licensed electrician may be a requirement. If you are allowed to DIY and you are comfortable working with conduit, breakers, wire connections, etc., make sure you take a bunch of pictures before and during and label everything carefully.

    If you are asking "how do I do that", than I propose you call an electrician.

"Do I need to turn the power off?"

  • Absolutely. Again, the fact that you are asking makes it clear that to safely complete the project you should call a reputable licensed electrician. It will be worth every penny of the cost, believe me.
  • A friend suggested that I can unscrew the panel from the wall and swing the bottom up and away from the wall (since all the wires come out the top) while I plug the leak underneath --- no need to disconnect everything. Is that not possible? – Paul Price Sep 10 '16 at 21:27
  • If there is enough slack wire to do it without pulling on/stressing the wire connections, seems possible. I would still cut power to the panel just in case of any unanticipated problem, and carefully examine conductors and connections prior to reenergizing. If you have ever witnessed a phase-to-phase arc flash or electrocution, you will understand what I mean. – Jimmy Fix-it Sep 11 '16 at 17:38
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We ended up hiring an electrician who opened the panel, removed it from the wall and tilted it up for the 2 minutes it took to plug the rod holes. There was enough slack in the various wires coming out the top, and the main power line coming in was sturdy enough to hold most of the weight of the panel for the short time it was off the wall.

Glad we got the electrician to do it: though it ended up being relatively straightforward in hindsight (pulling off the generator hookup after marking all the connections, busting the rivets holding the panel to the wall, then reversing the process), I wasn't confident enough to tackle it myself. Given the chance to do it over knowing what I do now, I think I'd still choose to have a pro do it for me.

  • you have found a satisfactory (and safe) solution. Go ahead and accept your own answer as the best one! – Jimmy Fix-it Oct 13 '17 at 1:42
  • Nah -- my answer just repeats yours. – Paul Price Oct 14 '17 at 17:34

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