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How far away do plumbing pipes have to be from an electrical panel?
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
The National Electrical Code (NEC) does not specifically address plumbing pipe clearance, but requires an area clear of any obstructions that is 2’-6” wide, 3’-0” deep, and 6’-6” high around the front of a panel [NEC 110.26(A)].
No plumbing pipes or other items are allowed in this area, except that other electrical equipment that is part of the panel installation is allowed above or below the panel, as long as it does not protrude more than 6” into the working space [NEC 110.26(A)(3)]. Also, the panel is not required to be centered in this space but the space must allow at least a 90º opening of the panel door. [NEC 110.26(A)(2)].
So the panel shown at the top of the page is not code compliant. But “foreign Items,” such as plumbing pipes, may be installed above the dedicated access space, “provided protection is installed to avoid damage to the electrical equipment from condensation, leaks, or breaks in such foreign systems” [NEC 110.26(E)(1)(b)].
For a history of the electrical panel clearance requirement, go to our blog post When did the requirement for clearance in front of an electrical panel become code?
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