Hidden Panel!!!

Let me get everyone’s take on this… I had a client call me after moving in to their new house with a question about the electric panel. The service entrance entered the house to a panel in the laundry room with clearance issues and no main shut off present. The house was vacant except for a few pictures and mirrors on the wall. On the back side of the wall where the panel was located was the kitchen and of course the sink. Of course, when the pictures were taken down on the wall behind the visible panel, a panel was found with only the main shut off! Within 2 feet of the sink! Obvious concealment of an issue by the seller and I feel horrible for the buyers and am going back to look again to see what is going on. They even drywalled the panel cover in on all sides and finished it in to make it look seamless behind the picture. How would you advise a client in such an instance? I’ve never been had by a seller like this before. I usually find things even with the best effort to conceal.

Welcome to the club! The art of hidden items by home owners is impressive. Last home owner I asked if there was any hidden access. I was shocked when I opened one and out fell mouse turds and nesting. Nice!!!:shock:

Hi Greg, welcome.
Looks like a purposeful hidden area beyond your SOP due to it being covered by a picture.
It could be seen as splitting hairs, but it was covered over/not visible.
Did you consider looking behind the picture at the time being the other panel was directly on the opposing wall?

I’m not comfortable with the panel that close to the kitchen sink, although some will disagree with me.
Is there proper clearance/safe access to it, meaning the width of the panel or 30" (whatever is greater) on both sides & 36" in the front? See attached pic.

IMO, I’d go back & take pics. Hopefully there is proper/safe access & it would not be an issue except for the seller not disclosing the panel was dry-walled in, meaning an altercation took place that should have been disclosed by the seller.

Perhaps Jeff Pope will see this, I consider him an electrical expert & would value his opinion.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

I can see your point in not finding the panel, sometimes pictures have to be moved to find them.

IMO what should have tipped you off to the disconnect is that the distribution panel should have been wired as a sub-panel, neutrals & grounds on separate buses.

Thanks guys. I am revisiting tomorrow to help the client as best I can. Can you believe the seller actually mudded and painted over the panel cover and the panel screws to make the panel appear as small as possible and fit behind a small picture!

Yes, yes I can.