Radiator pipe over electric panel


Dear Readers, My house was built in 1950's. Directly over the (original) main electrical fuse panel in the basement is a pipe that goes to the 1sr floor baseboard (all original plumbing). And I mean directly: it's 7" above the top of the panel.
I plan to have the main electrical fuse panel upgraded to circuit breakers in the future, and will likley be required by the utility co to have the local building inspector review my my licensed electrician's work before the utility co will restore power.
If the electrical work passes, would the inspector cite me for a violation of this existing condition (pipe over electrical panel) and delay approval until I have the pipe moved?
Any similar experiences/situations appreciated. Theodore
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Why not call him and ask? Most inspectors would rather clarify an issue ahead of time rather than fail you at the inspection.
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Your best answer would be from the electrician doing the work. He will know the inspector and will know what to expect. I wouldn't try to contact the inspector yourself. I know in my area, inspectors never want to talk to homeowners regarding these gray situations.
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But is that the only reason not to call him? For HIS convenience? He can always say "I'm busy". Or do you think he will judge the homeowner H more harshly if H annoyed the inspector earlier?

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inspectors are authorized by the municipalities that they inspect in, and work directly with licensed electricians. Homeowners are not permitted to do electrical work themselves, and the inspectors essentially refuse to be teachers. I believe that if a homeowner calls an inspector to ask if an existing violation can remain, the answer would be absolutely not, where as if the electrician on the job points it out to the inspector, and it's not a real terrible violation, he may just ignore it.
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Built in the 50s? I suspect that it is a non-issue. The entire service from meter in will probably not meet code. If so, moving the panel will be a minor part of the job. The panel will have to be replaced anyhow, move it.
Harry K
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If you are having an electrician do the work he will know if the pipe has to be moved or not. Any decent electrician is going to want to look at the job and should factor in the pipe issue into his price quote. Make sure you point it out and make sure he has included dealing with it. SInce the pipe is not part of the new electrical work it's hard to say if the local inspector would require it be moved or not.
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How high is the pipe above the floor, and does it impede access to the panel at all? The required clearances:
http://www.nachi.org/forum/attachments/f11/27703d1238202796-laundry-tub-front-electrical-panel-elec-clearances1.jpg
For such things, searching Google and clicking on the Images link at the top will give you pictorial results, which can be scanned a lot faster.
R
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Top of electrical panel: 6ft 7inch Pipe: 7ft 1inch Does not impede access to panel at all. However, my understanding of the code is that it's not an access issue, but simply that plumbing just cannot be around the panel... period.
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Here's a thread in another forum that addresses your exact question: http://www.thathomesite.com/forums/load/plumbing/msg0318553713629.html
R
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wrote:

Here's a thread in another forum that addresses your exact question: http://www.thathomesite.com/forums/load/plumbing/msg0318553713629.html
R
Not only plumbing, essentially nothing but electrical stuff can occupy the space above the panel to a distance of 6' above the equipment, or the structural ceiling. One similar situation I had, had a 4" cast iron waste pipe running on the exterior wall. I framed out a section with 2x4's and plywood, bringing the panel out in front of the pipe. Again, the electrician doing the work should know what the inspector will want.
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110.26(F) (1) Indoor. Indoor installations shall comply with 110.26(F)(1)(a) through (F)(1)(d). (a)     Dedicated Electrical Space. The space equal to the width and depth of the equipment and extending from the floor to a height of 1.8 m (6 ft) above the equipment or to the structural ceiling, whichever is lower, shall be dedicated to the electrical installation. No piping, ducts, leak protection apparatus, or other equipment foreign to the electrical installation shall be located in this zone. Exception: Suspended ceilings with removable panels shall be permitted within the 1.8-m (6-ft) zone. (b)     Foreign Systems. The area above the dedicated space required by 110.26(F)(1)(a) shall be permitted to contain foreign systems, provided protection is installed to avoid damage to the electrical equipment from condensation, leaks, or breaks in such foreign systems.
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On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 12:18:21 -0400, gfretwell wrote:

Weird that there's no dead zone to the front/rear or left/right, though - a broken pipe doesn't necessarily just soak the thing immediately below the break...
cheers
Jules
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On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 18:19:35 +0000 (UTC), Jules Richardson

I think they are more concerned with a slow leak that goes on unnoticed for years until the cabinet is compromised and the panel board rots out. If a pipe bursts, people tend to notice right away.
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I think it has as much to do with "crowding" of the wires going to the box as concern that the mechanical/plumbing stuff would damage things.
Most of the wires (including the cable from the meter) enter from the top or bottom) in most installations. Often, studs prevent bringing in wires from the side.
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It is a rather academic discussion. Built back then the incoming wires from the service will not be code for today's needs. Truth is that the entire service from meter in will need to be changed to come up to code. The panel also has to be replaced anyhow. Move it where there is no conflict.
Then in the end. None of this discussion matters as it will boil down to what the inspector will pass.
Harry K
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RicodJour wrote:

The post on that site by manhattan42 gives the NEC requirements. The NEC doesn't want the panel under the pipe. Final judgment is by the inspector.
Since the work is being done by an electrician, the electrician should know (or find out) what is required. You could make sure the electrician knows the pipe is there (sounds like it is pretty obvious).
--
bud--

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OP Follow up: Just got the panel upgrade. Inspector came and work passed with no objection. Thanks to all who replied!
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Thanks for posting the follow up. I appreciate it, and I'm glad it worked out for you.
R
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You set a good example for us, in so many ways. Thank you for the follow up.
--
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