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Power Panel

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Posted by: from Beechville
6/1/2012 at 9:27:00 PM

I own a house that I purshased from a builder who ran two plastic water line between the two studs behind the power panel supplying a shower on the other side of the wall in a bathroom.

Is this legal by code?

NS power inspected the house and said everything is ok and have now worries about it and said the house was properly bounded and grounded and there is no issue about this.

I kind of worried with plastic water lines running behind power panel with a shower on the other side.

Is this safe and legal by code in Canada and Nova scotia?

Thanks in advance and any reply is greatly appreciated.

REPLIES (10)
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Date/Time6/1/2012 at 10:22:41 PM

My suggestion is that you call your electrical safety authority and have them come out and do an inspection and explain what the code is on this situation.

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Date/Time6/1/2012 at 10:33:16 PM

Yes this is permitted the only place a water line cannot run near a panel is in a 600 volt situation since your home is 120/240 the installation of the water pipes behind the panel is permitted . But generally the wall behind the shower is left vacant so repairs to the plumbing on the shower can be gained from the rear

of the shower .

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time6/1/2012 at 10:35:04 PM

No Problems with this in Canada. CEC is canada wide. Just be careful where you screw in those soap dishes!

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Eagle Crest in Surrey
Date/Time6/1/2012 at 10:44:31 PM

Shawn,

Yikes! I mean I am not sure of the code in NS but in BC this would not fly. Definately check with a governing building agency asap.

I think it's unsafe because: if the panel were to have a short, even though unlikely, that caused an arc close enough to the plastic water line it would burst, you would loose power in the house and have a big mess if enough water got into the ELECTRICAL panel. If someone were in the shower..... up to 250 volts of bad news.

On the other hand.... it's plastic pipe so it's non conductive, it's the back of the panel so you can make some preventative measures.

Get a good piece of poly, like 6mm or 10mm and tape and drape it as best you can over the pipes. Next take another piece of poly and place it against the back of the electrical panel. Get some fiberglass insulation and fill the space, not jam packed, just filled between the poly and as much void needs to make the space bewtween the studs full.

The Reason: the plastic will divert the water away, the insulation is non conductive and is fire/heat resistant. The conbination would give me peace of mind.

Best of luck Shawn,

-Brian

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Shawn in Beechville
Date/Time6/2/2012 at 6:24:27 AM

I have called Nova Scotia Power and Halifax city inspector and they all said its perfectly legal by code.

I was thinking of lifthing the power panel and place a piece of plywood on the back to shield it from the water line.

They said the chance of one of them lines to burst is slim to none and they said it also not a big risk because it not a copper line and theres no worryies since the piping is grounded.

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Date/Time6/2/2012 at 6:39:28 AM

Shawn first thing there is no way to ground a plastic pipe, second pure water is not a conductor.

I would suggest you call a electrical contractor have him take a look at this (normally free service) get his opinion do not try to pull the panel out yourself.

Pulling the panel out is normally not a big job This will give you the piece of mind you are looking for.

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Shawn in Beechville
Date/Time6/2/2012 at 6:52:00 AM

I know water is not a conductor and I will call a electrician for a quote on this.

My big question is it safe to leave it has is? I know when firefighting we only isolate power on instalation of 500 volts or more even when fighting fire with salt or fresh water. So i think the chance of someone getting hurt having a shower would be none. I am my right?

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Date/Time6/2/2012 at 8:54:42 AM

Call the permit office, and speak to an inspector.

But it sounds like its not done properly, Water lines don't go behind panels. I know in Winnipeg it's against code

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Shawn in Beechville
Date/Time6/2/2012 at 9:30:24 AM

The permit office told me its legal and perfectly safe but poor practice! They said there's no where in the electrical code that stipulates that you can't have water lines running behind a power panel for a 120/240 volts service entrance and power panel. The only recommendation they had was to lift the panel and install a piece of plywood behind it.

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Date/Time6/2/2012 at 11:20:32 AM

As has been previously mentioned, it is perfectly safe and legal.

The real question is...Is it recommended? Or perhaps the question is...Is it worth doing anything about?

I defiantly think there was some "poor planning" happening here. But in my opinion I would not be losing any sleep over it at all. The only valid comment is, as far as I am concerned, is being able to properly access the plumbing if necessary from the panel side of the wall.

I think you are wasting your time, effort and money to pursue this further. Having said that, if you think it will make you sleep better, then get three or more quotes on moving the panel to a different location. Doing anything to that panel in it current location will not make it "more safe" then it already is.

Cheers

John

John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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