Common Defects: Clearance at Electrical Panel

The electrical panel is a vital component of a home inspection, but I have come across several panels that I could not inspect due to obstructions blocking access to the panel. It goes without saying that nothing should be obstructing an electrical panel to the point where it can’t even be accessed, but I’d like to take a moment to go over the minimum required clearances for panels so you know how much space you should have, at a minimum, in case you need to access yours.

The height between the floor and ceiling where the panel is located should be at least 6-1/2 feet. This height is perfectly comfortable for most people and requires even very tall people to crouch just a bit. There should be at least 3 feet of open space directly in front of the panel so that even a larger than average person has enough room to stand. Lastly, the horizontal width at the panel should be a minimum of 30 inches to accommodate space for observing or working at the panel.

Keep in mind that these clearances are minimum requirements and not a goal. Ideally, the height, depth and width would be more than these minimums to ensure a comfortable amount of working space. You should measure the clearances around your electrical panel to be sure they are compliant and avoid placing any obstructions near the panel that would violate these minimum requirements. Doing so may prove very valuable if there’s ever an emergency and you need quick access to your panel.

*To visit our main website, go to http://www.hillinspections.com

Author: hillinspections

I am a Certified Professional Inspector (CPI) and the owner and operator of Hill Property Inspections LLC, based out of western Pennsylvania. I specialize in property inspections and environmental testing services and have a passion for helping my own clients and other families in learning to properly maintain their homes. I am an Army veteran, former State Farm Insurance Agent, and real estate investor with experience in all facets of real estate construction, transaction and insurance. I am also the founder and President of the Southwestern PA Chapter of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and an affiliate member of the Cambria-Somerset Association of Realtors (CSAR).

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