Anyone know the proper repair for a breaker panel in a clothes closet?

I am not exactly sure what repair, if any, to suggest for this electrical panel that was installed in the master bedroom closet…Any ideas? photo…I will put down to consult with an electrician, but I wonder what repairs might be needed to this panel installed in a 2001 home.

I see those from time to time, usually in an older home where that was the location and when they upgraded it, left it there vs moving it. I just state that current codes do not allow it, that it is a fire hazard and storage may inhibit proper access to it. Consult with licensed electrician if client desires to move the panel to a proper location. Recommend installing smoke detector above if client elects to maintain panel in current location. Should cover all your bases.

Hey at least it has clearance .

yes…it does have clearance. …I built a house back in 1988 and the electrician read the blueprints wrong and put the panel in a clothes closet. The county inspector made them move it…I wonder what an electrician will suggest when they see this?

In Chicago we have a thing called Grandfathered.
It is not always practacle to move them.

See them in kitchen areas and closets all the time at 50’s and 60’s era condos.

No big deal.(long as you can get to them)
Who blocks them (the people that need them)
Cheaper to take out the shelf and call it a utilty closet (lol)

Why? The National Electrical Code is a product of the National Fire Protection Association. Since this is an obvious safety issue that violates the safety standards established by the NFPA, the potential victims of this hazard should be informed of it and advised to have the hazard removed.

If they need to consult with anyone as to the hazards represented by its presence for some reason, they should consult their local fire chief and not an electrician, IMO.

Get prepared to be laughed at in some cases.
You gotta be logical to the situation.

500 or more Unit buildings are not changing a thing.

Greg, take a look at this older thread for a bit more clarity maybe…


Seen that more than once, and as long as they are accessible so an electrician can service if require, there is absolutely nothing wrong and no one is going to change it.
I don’t see why this would have anything to do with a fire hazard anymore than the panel in my garage with a car full of fuel and 5 gallons of gas for the snowblower.

That would be an expensive venture for no reason other than to meet the most recent NEC Codes. :slight_smile:

It pays not to be like a Barney fife all over the place.

Clients want real world advice instead of a code hound.
You gotta learn to state best practice not best way to scare and do something many seem to fear.Advise.

I met with an owner, apartment manager and the fire chief at an apartment complex with a similar issue that I had identified as a city code enforcer and the owner complained as to the cost to correct such a “minor” issue.

The fire chief … a little bitty Italian guy … jumped out of his seat and leaned across the desk and put his nose about an inch from the owner’s and shouted, as if he were 50 feet away … “I am the man who has to send his friends into this building when it is on fire. I am the man who has to tend to the victims, living and dead, and explain to the media and to the survivors what we did to try to save lives and why, in some cases, we failed. Do you think for one second that I give a (expletive deleted) how inconvenient or expensive it is for you to make this place safe? Do you?”

I’ll never forget that conversation and I have shared it, often.

I think that it is incredibly immoral as well as illogical to recommend anything less than what it necessary to make the situation safe. If someone chooses to “laugh” or to ignore the recommendation, it matters very little to me.

Jim, I cannot for the life of me see how you can say that an electrical panel behind a closet door is any different than an electrical panel in my garage or basement.
I do not buy the Italian chief’s story, because it does not relate to an electrical panel.
Please explain. :slight_smile:

How is this being a “Barney Fife” if panels in clothes closets are prohibited?, especially in a house that was built in 2001…I am also concerned that in 5 years when they go to sell the house the next inspector will pick up on this defect and I’ll be getting an angry call from the buyer for not calling it out.

It has always been against the code to install a panel in a cloths closet even if there the clearances.

This is very dangerous and needs to be fixed and it doesn’t matter if some cannot see the danger

NEC 240.24(d) states that the location of an overcurrent device “shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitible material, such as in clothes closets.”

It’s quite plain and simple, IMO. Your examples of basements and garages has more to do with the need to keep ignitibles away from the service panel.

The closet is there for the purpose of filling it with ignitible materials and it is usually located in or near sleeping areas. Personally, I give credit to the NFPA to know what they are talking about, here, and I choose not to second guess them.

I completely agree with you on that Jim, but the picture is of the year 2001, did the same NEC article that you state, read the same on that year?

If it did, it was not inspected or permitted properly at the time.

Now 12 years later codes have changed. Recommending that it be relocated due to a fire hazard is way beyond my intellect on this subject matter. It is not loggical.

The electrical panel in my 1972 home that I built was in the kitchen closet and shelving had to be removed to work on it.
Do you think that was relocated when sold in 1988, of course not.

The codes that you post is to enforce building specifications foward to the date it was locally adopted.

This is one that I will agree to disagree with you and no offense taken. :slight_smile:

No offense to you either, Marcel, but I don’t believe in softening a home inspection report by the “date” that an unsafe condition may have been prohibited. I wrote about it, here. (See the paragraph under the heading “It Wasn’t in the Code Book, Back Then”.)

I am not familiar with your 2001 reference. I quoted from the NEC 2005 that I have on my shelf. It is the version that is used in most of my state.

If it is, I would appreciate a reference to the 2000 code when I built a College village and one of the panels was in a hallway closet.
The Electrical Inspector at the time had us increase the size of the door to meet the 36" wide access. Other than that, it was fine.


Yes I read it and thanks for the subscription.
I am talking about the 2001 build, not how it should be done today.
Today, I would agree.

To tell people it is unsafe depends on the conditions viewed at the time of the Inspection.

And be realistic, do you actually think they will move the panel on your recommendation, Ha, not going to happen.

As a Builder for the last 45 years, I have seen all conditions, and that one is not one to pose a fire unless undue diligence, and negligence on the occupant to use commen sense in the proper use of an accessible panel require at all times.

Codes and laws are written everyday to protect the idiots, but unfortunatly, everytime you make something idiot proof, a New One is Born.


This is where I start remembering this is a national forum and not always a good advice.
We can all quote code .:roll:

Have fun guys.