How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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Can an electrical panel be located at a stair landing?
Thursday, October 14, 2021
It’s acceptable as long as the landing meets the code requirement for a safe access area in front of the panel: 2’-6” wide by 3’-0” deep level floor below it, and 6’-6” high clear above floor in front of it [NEC 110.26 (A)(1,2,3)]. The panel is not required to be centered in the 2’-6” width, but the panel door must be capable of swinging open to 90º (perpendicular).
Just because you can do it does not mean it’s a good idea. We have inspected condo units with the panel at the top landing of a stair and compliant with the service access requirement, but positioned so that, if you stepped backwards from the panel beyond the 3’-0” depth, you fell down the stairs.
For more on this requirement and its history, go to When did the requirement for clearance in front of an electrical panel become code? Also, see our articles Can an electrical panel be located under stairs? and Can an electric panel be located over stairs?
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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