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.
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