NEC Guidelines and Electrical Panel Installation

Within any home or commercial building, the central hub for electricity is known as the electrical panel. Also called breaker panel, electrical access box or several other related terms, this is the foundation of electricity for the structure, one that connects to and controls electricity in every major area.

At Orange Electric, our residential and commercial electrical services include a wide range of expertise and knowledge on electrical panels. If your structure is in need of a new breaker panel, we’re here to help install and wire it safely and properly for future use. This is a very precise process, one that comes with several distinct requirements we’ll examine here.

NEC guidelines electrical panel installation

NEC Code and Importance of Precision

NEC stands for National Electric Code, a series of guidelines offered by the National Fire Protection Association. This code includes several important areas for installing electrical components, including but not limited to electrical panels. These guidelines are not law, per se – localities and states determine their own rules here. But many such bodies include NEC codes in their actual legal requirements, such as the location of the panel box and other areas.

Both within this code and across the board, it’s important to appreciate the level of precision being carried out. Any mistakes open up risks of poor electrical function, appliance damage, electrical fires or even human harm due to unsafe systems. All our electricians are trained in extreme detail on every possible risk and safety procedure, particularly for the installation of such a high-value item as the breaker panel.

General Requirements for Panel Installation

Here are some of the standard requirements for breaker panels when being installed, many of which fall directly under NEC code:

  • Working space: To ensure safe access and no interference, the area in and around the breaker panel must not have any other major installations present. This space must be at least 6.5 feet high and three square feet away from the wall, and must have a 30-inch width. This allows for safe, simple service when needed.
  • Room size: Smaller rooms like closets, laundry rooms, utility rooms or bathrooms are heavily frowned upon for breaker panel installation, and often prohibited.
  • Height: The handle of the highest grip cannot be higher than six feet, seven inches off the floor.
  • Access: Panels may not be blocked by any major element, whether it’s furniture, other installations or anything else.
  • Light: There must be at least one light present in the room, per the NEC, and we recommend this light be placed in the vicinity of the panel so those performing any work on it can easily see what they’re doing and remain safe.

For more on NEC guidelines and installation of breaker panels, or to learn about any of our other electrical services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.