Electrical Panel upgrade questions

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Posted by: from Toronto
10/11/2018 at 1:08:12 PM

I have an electrical panel that was upgraded by a registered electrician ( photos attached) The panel is too close the wall on the right side - into the wall 3/4" making it impossible to remove the cover without cutting back drywall. This doesn't seem right to me. My contractor who is installing drywall is telling me that the installation is all wrong. The electrician is saying it is per code.

Contractor has also indicated that as the panel is on an exterior wall it should have rigid insulation behind it and vapour barrier which isn't present. The only vapour barrier, per my pic is for the batt insulation on the side walls which I put in myself.

IS THIS CORRECT AS INSTALLED PER ESA CODE? The ESA help line is not helpful as they are not technically trained.

Electrical Panel upgrade questions
Electrical Panel upgrade questions
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Date/Time10/11/2018 at 3:05:17 PM

There does not need to be vapor barrier or insulation behind the electrical panel it is recommended that it is mounted to some plywood rather than bolted directly to the outside wall as far as its location interfering with drywall the electrician may have been able to get a more compact panel one question to ask is was all the framing complete before or after the panel was put in whomever framed your wall should have known to accommodate a panel whether it's mounted vertically or horizontally the drywaller should maybe come up with a better solution rather than just drywall over the cover when replacing a panel its location is difficult to change with a tree pulling the main wires breaking new holes through the outside wall or possibly moving the meter electrician may have been able to make some efforts to avoid this issue but I would bring this to the attention of the framer

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Robert from ElecTriLight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time10/11/2018 at 3:07:59 PM

I can pretty well tell you that THAT installation never had a permit from the ESA as it must and was probably done illegally.

I would call the ESA and tell them you have some issues with an installation that was performed in your home without a permit and get it taken care of.

There are strict rules on how electrical is installed in Canada, and simply by the photo I can tell it is not to code and should be reported. Sadly this happens too often but it puts your family and home at risk, not the guy who did the job.

As far as insulation behind the panel, that is not a requirement. The cover being blocked by drywall however MUST be serviceable.

Call ESA and have an inspector come out.

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Date/Time10/11/2018 at 7:00:35 PM

The first problem is that the panel must be accessible and your isn't. The second problem is that your electrician thinks it's OK. I would be surprised if an ESA inspector passed it. At an absolute minimum, the drywall would have to be removed on the right side to allow the panel cover to come off freely. Technically the code states that there must be one meter of space in front of the panel - that includes all parts of the panel - including the right side, and especially considering it would be problematic to remove the cover. Third - it looks very unprofessional - it would be better to re-orient the panel vertically or move it further to the left - (that would mean cutting the studs) which may or may not be a problem structurally.

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Date/Time10/12/2018 at 12:54:26 PM

This panel not installed to code.

Get it inspected by ESA and electrician will be forced to come fix it.

Panel should be vertical as well.

Have it reinspected after the electrician fixes his mistakes.

Andrew Parker

Par-Tek Design Build Ltd.

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Date/Time10/12/2018 at 3:01:44 PM

The question of insulation and vapor barrier is not part of the electrical code but it is part of the building code and your electrician should be familiar with the requirements.

Under the recently implemented energy codes it is required to insulate behind the panel to the same degree as required for the walls (typically R-20 as per Article - 'Continuity of Insulation').

It is also a Building Code requirement to have a continuous air/vapor barrier. I would think that when doing such renovations that it should be brought up to the current Code whenever possible.

Regarding the sideways panel it's not against code but is a good idea to mount vertically when feasible.

Can't make out any arc-fault breakers - another thing to check with your local authority on. Also don't see that wires are stapled (perhaps just outside the photo).

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