Can an electric service panel be installed horizontally?

Anyone know?

It depends on the orientation of the breakers. As long as “up” is “on,” it’s acceptable. This is not possible with most modern panels.

Mike Homes does it on tv all the time.
But I do not know if it is correct.
I don’t see why not, when you look at the OFF and ON on most breakers it needs to be horizonal to read anyway.

Its a Canadian thing.
Sure makes it hard to read labeling however.

Yes that is correct Bob We see it here all the time.
So under the section
Which end is up?
A comment is made “What looks better Horizontal or Vertical.”
Sometimes there just is not enough space the put them vertical.

Most of the time, no as Jeff has already stated. I will also add that many deadfronts and/or covers have a retainer lip at the bottom that is designed to prevent the cover from falling down by gravity once the screws are removed. Installing them in a horizontal position renders the retainer useless and creates a safety hazard when anyone attempts to remove the cover.

Good point William and I will keep my eyes open for this. I always hold the dead front firmly when removing the machine screws.

240.33 Vertical Position.
Enclosures for overcurrent devices shall be mounted in a vertical position unless that is shown to be impracticable.

Circuit breaker enclosures shall be permitted to be installed horizontally where the circuit breaker is installed in accordance with 240.81.

Listed busway plug-in units shall be permitted to be mounted in orientations corresponding to the busway mounting position.

240.81 Indicating.
Circuit breakers shall clearly indicate whether they are in the open “off” or closed “on” position.

Where circuit breaker handles are operated vertically rather than rotationally or horizontally, the “up” position of the handle shall be the “on” position.

Sorry it’s not a Canadian thing it’s an Ontario thing every where else installs them verticaly. It’s more a Mike Holmes thing to my knowledge.

Yes see them horizontal a lot of times here in Ontario. I do remember when originally trained being told they are supposed to be vertical. Must visit the codes to see what it says if anything.


As stated by Mr.Whitt back in 2013, there are various code requirements in NFPA 70 [NEC] that will prohibit a mounting of a cabinet that contains a panelboard with respect to the orientation of the overcurrent protective devices and their markings.

The issue with Canada (or within the CEC) is that they have some allowances that do not align with the NFPA 70 document.