Panel near water source

As an inspector I always have reservations about panels that are near utility sinks. At least we have the workspace clearance requirements that can sometimes work in our favor. I just saw this one today that was the best example of disregard I have seen so far.

Typically not a problem if the work space requirements are met. According to the NEC that’s all that is required.

I understand that it is typically not a problem and that there are no specific NEC requirements in regards to water sources and panel installations. That why a home inspector is not a “code inspector”, we can also make general recommendations for safety that code does not cover, such as these types of installations. Many homeowners would believe “since it is allowed, it must be safe” which obviously is not the case. On the same note, it is not allowed because it doesn’t meet the clearance for work space.

Why would a panel near a sink be unsafe?

Someone might try to sit in the tub full of water while working in the panel. :smiley:

The code is biased towards life safety. If the code making panels are not seeing data to require a change preventing a water source next to a panel why do you think it is an issue? You would do more to enhance safety by banning cars or stairs than worrying about the panel.

Considering other changes like requiring shutoff for spas in non-dwelling spaces were made after one death I guess this “hazard” is really a non issue were the workspace requirements met.

I agree with all of you in that if the workspace requirements are met, then there is no hazard. What gets me is that people ignore the workspace requirement quite often and do not realize or do not care that there are other inherent dangers and issues other than “not having proper workspace”.

So, was that appliance circuit GFCI protected?

at least they have an air gap for the washer drain hose!

I believe those other dangers are called life. As with many other things there is only inherent danger when something is used outside of the design constraints. Not every danger can be engineered out of any product. How many people are being electrocuted by working in a panel and touching a sink or a pipe? Some don’t even know where their panel is, let alone many never attempt to work in it.

LOL they are all outside here.

Clearance issue as the others have already said.

In this particular case, the working space requirements are not in compliance.

This is “code” for “my opinion matters more than anyone else’s does.”

You will not be in business long if you start telling people that a compliant installation should be changed to meet “your opinion” of safe.

Which code are you referring to?

I was referring to the electrical code. I am sure other codes are concerned with life safety to some aspect also.

Wouldnt there be modern standards of 36in in depth and 30 inches wide that has to be met?

Yes, but the operative word you used was “modern” standards. if something was constructed during a period in earlier code development that did not cover such a requirement then it was not an issue. However, for an HI this would indeed be a concern or hazard to the potential owner because they lack the ability to safely get to the panel (to which they own) for what ever reason they deem fit.

So call out the lack of access and the HI is always free to references a code standard that helps support their position and explain why it is a hazard without making it a pure “CODE” thing. At the end of the day the client has the choice to make it safe or leave it…WHY…because your inspection is not a code inspection and simply a recommendation for safety.

So yes, in todays building codes this would be a violation (not the near water part, the working clearance part) and would need to be corrected before a COO is issued.

The part that gets me is this panel looks NEWER than the old sink that is in front of it…so you have to wonder which came first and if the sink came first then clearly no inspections were done…all of which can be report worthy in my opinion.