Can an electrical panel be located under stairs?
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
It might be possible…just maybe. While not specifically excluded by the National Electrical Code (NEC), there are two code standards that a panel must comply with to be located under a stair:
1) The under-stair space is usally a closet, and a panel cannot be located in a closet near ignitable material [NEC 240.24(F)]. So, if clothes or other ignitable materials are stored in the closet, it’s a no go.
2) Also there must be a clear space in front of the panel to safely service it, which is defined by code as 2’-6” wide, 3’-0” deep, and 6’-6” high [NEC 110.26 (A)(1,2,3)]. There is rarely that much clear floor area in an under-stair closet for a panel, or that much headroom.
And an appliance in the closet, such as a water heater, cannot infringe on the required area. 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 at a stair landing? and Can an electric panel be mounted over stairs?
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