What's up with Canada and horizontal electric panels?

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Watching Holmes do his thing on TV, I've noticed that most of the electric service panels are installed horizontally instead of vertically. Must be some Canada thing? What's up with that? It looks nuts to me.
And on a recent episode where he had to fix a bay window, he wound up tearing out what appeared to me to be a perfectly fine electric panel. It was installed vertically. He bitched about some of the wires that went to the breakers entering the panel from the top and said that was not allowed, that only the mains could enter from the top. Mine enter from the top and I've seen new construction here in NJ where they enter that way. What's up with that? Seems perfectly safe to me and also, if it's not allowed, why would the panel manufacturer provide knockouts in the top?
And what's that Canadian fetish for putting the freaking panel sideways, which they did with the new panel?
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Holmes is in Canada. They have different rules than the USA. Maybe you can't run circuits into the top of the panel in Canada, but it's okay in the USA.
The holes are in the top because they market the same products in both countries.
He also likes to make himself sound like a hard-ass. Most of the "disasters" he finds, there's really nothing wrong. It just wasn't done *his* way.
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Seems like it matters whether or not the panel is recessed or surface mounted. Vertical panels fit between the studs. Using a recessed horizontal panel would require some stud carpentry. I like the horizontal idea though because it would make threading all the wires through multiple vertical drops a bit easier than forcing them all into one.
Horizontal wireways and feeder channels have been used for years in commercial systems, but I don't recall seeing horizontal panels.
Congratulations, you've hit on a subject which will generate a massive rearrangement of electrons on the internet lines.
Tomsic
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All the wires would have to penetrate the entire header over the (sideways) panel, though, no? Sounds like a PITA.

Not one electron was harmed in the composition of this post.
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On 3/21/12 9:22 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I can imagine an advantage. You could use breakers where down was off.
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It would only be off for breakers on one part of the panel, ie the top row or bottom row.
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Umm, where do you buy those? When I go to look for a breaker for a panel, they come in a variety of flavorrs. But I've yet to see a choice as to whether off is towards one side or the other.
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wrote:

Depends on the age of the panel or subpanel.
Back in the 70's, in panels with two rows of breakers, toggled towards the space between the rows is "off" ( think....too lazy to walk out to the garage)
Electrical code was changed (some time between now & then) and now requires new panels adhere to: Up - on Down - off
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That's normal, though depending on how the breakers are made, the opposite would be easy to imagine.

That's got to make the panel a lot more complicated. It requires two independent busses, rather than the alternating bus down the center.
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I just looked at a Siemens panel that is about 6 years old. Looks just like panels have always looked to me. Two rows of breakers and toggled towards the center space between them they are ON. Even the panels in Canada on Holmes shows appear to be the same. So, if there is some new panel design of which you speak, A it sure isn't common and B I haven't seen it yet.
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On 3/21/2012 10:16 PM, DD_BobK wrote: ...

_WHICH_ code do you think does/has this requirement?
Certainly not the US NEC (unless nothing on the market now complies which would seem unlikely).
I'd be surprised if NEC even proscribed the direction (horizontal or vertical) for the main disconnect inside a box altho that at least would have some chance of possibly having been done. But there's no way the NEC requires branch breakers to all point the same direction.
--
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On 3/22/2012 7:10 AM, dpb wrote:

The NEC requires up to be on _if_ the breaker handle operates vertically. Probably also apples to switches in general (404.7).
For that reason large panels can not be mounted horizontally.
All the circuit breakers I can think of are on-toward-the-center except FPE
--
bud--




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Bub-
Thanks for correcting my mis-impression.
When I was told that Up had to be ON & Down had to be off, I mistakenly thought that Up & Down were the only directions allowed.... my mistake.
dpb-
What was I thinking?
cheers Bob
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On 3/23/2012 1:12 PM, dpb wrote:

"Up" does have to be "on" irregardless. I assume you are saying breakers are not required to be mounted vertically. Most of them are horizontal in most panels, which is fine.

The reference in 240.33 is to 240.81, which is essentially the same as 404.7: "Where circuit breaker handles are operated vertically ... the 'up' position of the handle shall be the 'on' position." "Up" as "on" (if vertical) applies to _all_ the breakers, not just the main breaker.
You could mount a small panel with a single row of a few breakers 'horizontally'. For example a subpanel with 8 breakers in a single row.
For a "large panel", like a service panel with 2 columns of breakers, mounting horizontally will result in one column/row of breakers having "on" in the down position - not allowed. The common practice shown on Holmes is not allowed under the NEC. It is real bizarre when I see it.
--
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On 3/24/2012 9:59 PM, bud-- wrote: ...

I don't think you can make that blanket as completely prohibiting horizontal mounting; I think there still is the out of "if shown to be impractical" that gives the leeway when there's some overriding reason the panel has to go there and only there.
But, in general, yes, I agree and yes, I'm just having fun w/ words, nothing more...
--



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On 3/24/2012 9:59 PM, bud-- wrote:

i think there's a real possibility here that everyone is not considering. Perhaps the area Holmes and company deal with are not subject to the NEC. Many jurisdictions (including no less than two counties near me) do not have any codes for building. And even if they do, it doesn't mean they adopt the NEC absurdities.
--
Steve Barker
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wrote:

That doesn't explain Holmes whining about vertical panels.
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On Mar 25, 11:51am, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

Which was the essence of my post. They seem to have some strange fetish for mounting the panels sideways. I think we've established that for the most part, considering the practical application, it would be a code violation here. It also seems just plain stupid, what with the panel door rotated 90, all the markings being sideways, and half the breakers winding up being on when down.
I wonder if they also mount their wall switches sideways?
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Mounting the circuit-breaker panels vertically is the common way it's done here in Ontario (Canada) - the same jurisdiction that Holmes on Homes is filmed in.
The only part of our electrical code that might play a role is that the panel height can't be more than 6.5 feet off the ground (to allow most people to be able to reach it). Now if you want adults (not children) to be able to operate the panel, then mounting it horizontally is more ergonomic, and if a panel is long then again you have a more even height off the floor if it's horizontal.
Wiring half the panel (the upper half) is technically easier and cleaner if it's horizontal.
I really haven't laid my eyes on any panels in houses here in Ontario built in the last 5 or 10 years, so I don't know if the current rage is to mount them horizontally - or if maybe that's more commonly done on retrofits and renovations. It could be that if you're renovating and installing a new panel, that if the length of the existing wires is an issue then mounting a panel horizontally can save you a lot of grief.
Assuming that wire-length isin't an issue, I'd still wire a panel vertically.
See also this thread:
http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?5278166-Electrical-panel-direction-horizontal-or-vertical
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On 3/25/2012 10:51 AM, snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

no, but nothing else here has either.
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