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What are the code requirements for an electrical panel cover and door?
Friday, June 4, 2021
All electrical panels require a cover, called a dead front, to prevent touching any of the electrified (“live”) parts inside. The panel’s circuit breaker switches should stick through openings in the dead front, with all other openings closed. The perforated panels designed to be removed to create those openings for the installation of breakers are called twist-outs.
But electrical panels do not automatically require a door. If the panel is rated (also called "listed and labeled” by NEC) to be installed without a door, then one is not needed. On the other hand, if the panel was designed and manufactured with a door and it is missing, then it should be replaced. And, if the panel does have a door, then it must be openable to 90º (perpendicular to face of box), per NEC 110.26(A)(2).
So a panel without a dead front is a code safety violation, but a panel without a door may—or may not—be. Also, see our blog posts What is the maximum number of circuit breakers allowed in an electric panel? and What is the maximum allowed height of a circuit breaker (OCPD) above the floor? and What is the maximum height you can mount an electric panel above the floor? and What is the code required clearance in front of an electric panel?
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