Service panels used as chases

Nice home with natural gas emergency generator installed. Problem is the wiring from the generator is utilizing the main breaker panel and both service panels as chases to run some of the circuits. Sloppy work too, most of the wiring the electrictian ran for the install has never been stripped of the casing and one wire has the ground and common cut off entirely. I reffered an electrician for further eval. What do you guys think?

Photos probably would help…

There’s nothing “technically” wrong with using a panel as a raceway, unless the panel listing specifically addresses it. Most professionals, however, would not have wired it this way.

I can’t make out the close-up. What is that?

Well my understanding is that they may not be utilized as a pathway or chase for wiring not dedicated for connection within the panel. I certainly can’t accept the casing extending greater than an inch within the panel, the closeup (sorry for the poor quality of photo) is wiring which had the common and ground snipped off prior to connection to a breaker in the panel. So much of this sloppy work makes me refer to an electrician. This install is from 2006. Original construction is 1994.

As long as you meet the requirements of 312.8 and can meet the specific wiring space requirements then like jeff said, it will depend on the listing otherwise. and we less not forget the crowding issues of 312.7.

But then again…those are codeist numbers…:wink:

See the references I listed in the NEC. Also in regards to the outer casing or NM jacket…where does the NEC limit you to 1"?

Great I’m not quoting code, care to put this in laymens terms, tell me what you would report on this. Given what you can see and what I have posted in photos and text.

How about this…I have posted the code sections. We simply can’t disregard something unless we know what the basis is for the concern. Crowding of old panels with lack of space is always a concern as it would be for an undersized panel that limits expansion for a new homeowner who is unaware of the condition. However, the NEC does give us basic understandings of the safety concern because it’s only purpose is to safeguard persons and property hazards arising from the use of electricity.

Brian did not like my use of the word “FAIL” but it was not used in the sense of FAIL or PASS…but fail or disregard the installation as a defect is what I was trying to say. Why must I watch every word i type for fear it will be taken wrong???

[FONT=Times New Roman][size=2]312.7 Space in Enclosures.
[FONT=Times New Roman][size=2]Cabinets and cutout boxes[/size][/FONT]
[size=2][FONT=Times New Roman]shall have sufficient space to accommodate all conductors
installed in them without crowding.

[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][size=2]312.8 Enclosures for Switches or Overcurrent Devices.[/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][size=2]Enclosures for switches or overcurrent devices shall not be
used as junction boxes, auxiliary gutters, or raceways for conductors
feeding through or tapping off to other switches or
overcurrent devices, unless adequate space for this purpose is
provided. The conductors shall not fill the wiring space at any
cross section to more than 40 percent of the cross-sectional
area of the space, and the conductors, splices, and taps shall
not fill the wiring space at any cross section to more than
75 percent of the cross-sectional area of that space.


I see a “less-than-professional” installation. You will find nothing in the NEC about the sheathing extending into the panel, and unless you have overfilled the panel (or the listing prohibits it), there isn’t much that can be said about using as a raceway.

Thank you, Geez.:roll:

well…how can I layman term it down any clearer than underlining the requirements. How in the world would I make it any easier to understand than that???

Oh, by the way I didn’t fail anything, I noted concerns and advised further evaluation then came here to find out what I could. I appreciate your help but if I knew I had all the answers I would never have posted for it. Home inspectors are supposed to be generalists. I still don’t know what your assessment is Mr.Abernathy. Oh and by the way I don’t find it acceptable according to those standards.

lol…dude I was trying to help you and give my opinion on the previous posted info. Anyway, I was answering the question at hand elaborated by Mr. Pope in regards to the NM jacket in the panel and use of the enclosure as a junction box. I can’t see the images good enough to elaborate more than that.

it appears in the first image that service conductors and feeders or branch circuits are sharing a raceway which is not allowed and is a real concern. In some panels I see un-identified grounded conductor and it appears in other images I see 312.5© issues as well as all cables must be mechanically connected to the enclosure.

Sorry…I just cant see the images very well. Any images of the left side panel?

Well, thank you for your help, I’m sorry if I came off the wrong way, I guess I was looking for an easy answer to a complicated question. I just know some flack is coming down the pike from the installer and the listing agent on this. The code section will help so again thanks to you both.


No worries my friend. Many times ( and people know me well ) I provide the code references for not just learning reasons but in some areas of the country they actually list code on their reports. This is a choice the HI needs to make and not for us “experts” should make for them. I like to think that if the HI can correctly identify the code reference to a real concern, they can assist the home owner and local electrical contractor at better understanding the problem to correct . I know this is a bad assumption but I like to think MOST electricians know the NEC and if you aid them in a reference, they just may be able to solve the problem faster and more accurate. In turn this helps everyone and raises the level of respect from the electrical contractor to the HI…again if given properly which is why I help and the only reason I help…I have an outer core as a electrical person with an inner core of caring for the HI…I morph them both in my responses over my years of posting on INACHI.

“Substandard Installation”

Would not be much on education if thats all I said in a response to a question. Now, as for telling the consumer that information then I like it but I think people expect more from me in responding to questions than " Substandard Installation"…lol