Panel access

This panel is in the bathroom, house 55yrs old, newly remodeled, unable to access panel because of cabinets. Could not find in the IRC book referencing this issue. It does talk about location in bathrooms, again house 55 yrs old


The NEC permits panels in commercial bathrooms, but not in residential bathrooms.
NEC 230.70 & 240.24 Electrical panels shall be readily accessible and shall not be located in bathrooms. Consult your local municipal codes regarding proximity of electrical panels to plumbing fixtures.

There is very high risk of shorting out the panel due to the unavoidable humidity that is present in bathrooms. This will also naturally cause excessive corrosion inside the electrical panel.

If this panel is not accessible, make a simple note of it as “Electrical main not inspected due to… no access”, and also recommend a licensed Electrician to remove this panel and install in a safer location.

I know codes change because of safety issues. Again, this house is 55 yrs old, It would take alot of work to relocate. do i make a be deal about it.
Thanks by the way for your response.


I don’t make a big deal out of anything that I find. I simply recommend upgrades to my clients and annotate all isues (whether they are big or small) in my comprehensive report.

If they re-modeled, I’ll bet there were not permits. I would let them know that this location no longer meets code. In Florida, most time insurance companies will require that the fuse panel be replaced. It is not that hard to move it to a proper location.

Overcurrent devices and/or panelboards have not been permitted since the 1993 NEC. Reference is made in Article 240-24e:
'Not located in bathrooms. In dwelling units and guest rooms of hotels and motels, other than supplementary overcurrent protection, shall not be located in bathrooms as defined by Article 100. Article 100 - Definitions:
‘Bathroom: An area including a basin with one or more of the following: a toilet, a tub, or a shower.’

Working space around all electrical parts, panels, disconnects, switches and serviceable components must be maintained. Panel doors must open 90 degrees. Nothing is to be placed in the area 30” wide and for 36” out from these devices. This includes hose Bib’s, shelves ect. (110.26, (A) 1, NEC 1999).Working space includes no bushes, appliances, or architectural features. (110.26, (A) 2, NEC 1999).

“Not that hard to move” ???

You sound like my wife

lol…and HALF the clients who call us to come out and add lights in ceilings with no wiring in them and do not want the walls/ceilings cut to fish wires…they say…“It’s just a light, can’t be that hard to do”…yet they called ME to do it…:wink:

At a certain point we will have to understand “moving” a panel may not really be that easy and you are still going to end up with a big J box in there that must remain accessible. The only other easy option would be to punch through the wall and put a 3R box on the outside. That comes with it’s own problems. Condensation not being the least of them.

In some areas depending on the extent of the remodel, the panel would be required to be upgraded and relocated, if that is they got a permit.

Who cares about the code? It’s in an inaccessible damp location, old, fuse panel that most insurance companies won’t cover!
I would write something like this:
“The main service panel is located in a location that is not readily accessible or safe. Bathrooms are damp locations and a service panel should not be located in bathrooms by today’s standards. Fuse type panels are considered outdated and many insurance companies will not cover fuse panels. The type and size of the panel is not sufficient for a modern household. I recommend having an electrician evaluate, relocate, and upgrade the current panel. This may require changing the service drop and additional wiring to comply with current minimum standards. Obtain several estimates and proper permits for repairs and improvements.”

I would elaborate verbally onsite about this. In most sales here clients know about fuse panels in general and I often don’t even need to explain. If I find fuses or 60 amp service it’s never an argument. It just one of those automatic upgrades needed in our market. $800-2,500 for most 100 amp panel changes, assuming a typical 50’s home.


I agree with everything you said, expcept the part where you say 'having an electrician evaluate". YOU already evaluated the situation, and you recommended that it be relocated and upgraded. THAT is our job - to give our clients the facts and our opinon. The electricain will have to do his own evaluation anyway before he can move the box.

I know, I just give some wiggle room in case the electrician has other recommendations or additional findings that are not visible to me. I always leave some ambiguity within any recommendations because there are so many ways to do anything and I don’t want to narrow the choices to exclusively my opinion.