View Full Version : Electrical code question

Steve Jenkins
08-11-2005, 8:28 AM
In getting ready to do a major remodel on our "new" house a contractor told me that it is now required that your electrical panel be on the outside of the house. For some reason it just doesn't seem right to put the panel outside. does anyone know for sure? Thanks

Jim Becker
08-11-2005, 8:42 AM
That wouldn't happen in my area! But I've seen it regularly in other parts of the country. It could be a local code requirement...check with your township and/or municipality.

Dave Brandt
08-11-2005, 10:09 AM
First off, I don't do electrical! But just thinking about the panel being outside raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Everytime you trip a breaker, you'd have to trek outside to reset. I can't think of a good example, but I'm sure there'd be times when some sort of electrical emergency would require you to kill the power fairly quickly. But of course you'd have to trek outside again. What about pranksters? You'd have to have a lock on it to keep curious kids and juvenile (and older) pranksters from switching breakers off. I think it's a load of hooey (is that a real word)! The meter outside makes perfect sense. The panel needs to be inside (where it's also protected from the elements). IMHO

Steve Jenkins
08-11-2005, 10:26 AM
I called the office of the electrical inspector for the county. Should have just done this to begin with. He said that there must be an outside disconnect at the meter and many builders are just putting the panel out there.
If I want to put the panel inside it's ok just still need the disconnect at the meter.

Russ Filtz
08-11-2005, 11:16 AM
I would still make sure there's Lock-out/Tag-out holes on the switch outside, both to lock on and off. It would be too easy for a prankster, or worse to just throw the switch with no lock!

Seems like your local utility/inspectors might be lazy or just want convenience? I think here if they want to make sure the power's off, they just pull the meter out!

Rob Russell
08-11-2005, 11:27 AM
The external disconnect is so fireman can kill power to the house and be guaranteed that nothing is live when they start chopping through things while they're all wet.

I don't know if you can "lock out, tag out" the disconnect in a closed position. You'd need to check with the local fire department on that - they may have bolt cutters they carry specifically for such purposes.

Ken Garlock
08-11-2005, 11:49 AM
Steve, when we built in 2001, the electrician put in two 200 amp panels inside the garage. On the outside is a double panel fixture where one meter is connected. It passed without so much as a blink of the eye. My shop has a 200 amp panel with the meter on the outside. In both cases there is NO outside disconnect, unless you call removing the meter a disconnect.

Also be aware, if you have garage door or even french door entries to your shop, the inspecting sphincters will make you install GFCI outlets just because they "like to see them." Grrrrr :mad: I had french/double doors at one entry to the shop, and had to install the GFCI outlets even though there is no water plumbing in the shop. I guess the thinking is that if you might possibly, with effort, get a car into the shop, it qualifies as a garage, and garages need GFCI. Grrrr.

Chris Padilla
08-12-2005, 4:40 PM
My house has the main panel on the outside of the house...no biggie since I also have a house sub-panel and that one is inside the garage.

The only thing in the main panel is all my recent garage rewire, the A/C sub-panel, and the house sub-panel. All the houses in my neighborhood were done this way near as I can tell.