How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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Can I mount an electric panel upside down?
Friday, June 15, 2018
Just about all modern electric panels can be mounted upside down, meaning that the main breaker is located at the bottom instead of the top. We see them all the time. The code requirement that would stop some panels—but especially older ones—from being flipped is that any breaker switches mounted vertically must be “ON” in the up position and down when “OFF.” Unlike the older panel shown below, most panels today only have breakers that toggle horizontally.
Here’s the key National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements that a panel has to meet to be “legal”:
- The “up” position of a vertically operated breaker switch handle must be “ON.” (NEC 240.81)
- The highest breaker in the panel cannot be more than 6’-7” above the floor. [NEC 240.24(A)]
- The clear working space in front of the panel must be a minimum of 3’-0” deep, 2’-6” wide, and 6’-6” high. (NEC 110.26)
The NEC code provision that a breaker “ON” must be in the up position means that most panels can only use half of the breaker slots if mounted sideways. Also see our articles What is the maximum allowed height of a circuit breaker (OCPD) above the floor? and Can an electric panel be mounted sideways-horizontally? and Can I mount an electrical panel face down? and Can I mount an electrical panel face up?
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about ELECTRIC PANELS:
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