Overcrowded panel

Hi All,

At what point is a main panel considered overcrowded? I have searched the forum but had trouble finding the answer. Not sure if it is a judgement call or a percentage of the panel volume. I couldn’t really inspect this panel very well. In addition the panel cover opened less than 90 degrees.

Not sure of what kind of narrative to write -



The 90° door swing is an issue but IMO the overcrowding isn’t. It’s ugly but from the photo doesn’t appear to present a hazard.

Greetings Scott,

I think what you are “attempting” to assume is that their is a cross-sectional volume limitation on conductors in an enclosure. That would be true to splices, taps and feed-through conductors as found in section 312.8 but this is not the case in this image. None of those are “feeding” through to other enclosures and such.

Now, could this be a violation of section 312.7 - Space in Enclosures…Sure but I would simply mention that the enclosure appears to be very crowded and in doing so it inhibited your ability to do a full inspection on the terminations and so on (Classic CYA).

Great, thanks Robert and Paul! I appreciate the information, in particular the CYA advice. I have learned a ton from your videos Paul -


To expand a little on a point that Paul made the gutter space within the cabinet is permitted to be filled to 40% for conductors and 75% if there are splices. Given the interstices between the conductors in your photo it’s probable that even if you tried you could not exceed those fill percentages.

Also most panels, maybe all panels will state on the label as to how many circuits and breakers are allowed to be present. Example…a 30/40 panel can have up to 30 breakers and 40 circuits. After that it would be considered overloaded or over crowded. I tried to explain the best I could. Paul might be able to explain it better if needed.

Well, the two are not really so related but your point is well founded in other violations where more circuit breakers are used than the panelboard is listed for, which is what you are referring too. The issue of overcrowding in this case has nothing really to do with any cross sectional area issue as I explained in my previous posts and as Robert points out, if it was a condition where this was a case (Splices, Taps and Feed-Throughs) the math would need to take place and so on…rather intense calculation of many unknowns (areas of splices and so on) that would take place and not worth the efforts in this case since again it is not applicable.

The only theoretical rule that could be forged is the 312.7 and again since it is not a municipal inspection I would venture to leave that alone, except to call it out as stated previously as a CYA initiative.

very kind of you Scott…It is my way of giving back to an industry that has been so good to me. It is nothing more than my payback when I do videos and so on. Some like them, some with an axe to grind don’t like them…to me it simply doesn’t matter either way. I am just so glad you have learned something from them…we NEVER stop learning my friend.

I guess I just learned something…I had always referred to to many breakers as overloaded or over crowded. Thanks

For the record what would be the correct way to describe the situation of to many breakers?

The electrical panelboard exceeds its listed and evaluated ratings of XX circuit breakers for safe operation. Consult a licensed electrical contractor for further evaluation.

I would steer away from getting too technical and leave it up to be evaluated and given the OK by someone in the electrical trade in order to divert liability and scrutiny.

Thanks Paul

When you can’t close the dead front.!:smiley:
Too many breaks ! That answer would be on the manufacturer for that specific panel.
It is nothing more than a BIG junction box.