Attic sub-panel

jaylectricity

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
Occupation
licensed journeyman electrician
It started out replacing a fuse box that existed in a closet. Lapse of judgement, I figured I'm just replacing it. Inspector says no.

He asks what's in the attic above? We look, surmise that maybe I could put it up there. Then he goes around the area pointing out other places it could be.

I decided to put it in the attic. Built up a wall and was able to get all but one circuit into the panel without splicing. Spliced one circuit. Didn't alter any circuit more than six feet of wiring. Made sure the panel was not over the opening for the pull-down stairs. Height of working space is less than 6.5 feet. But my thought is this sub-panel does not require inspection/adjustment/etc while live. Plus it's low enough that you can't do anything with it standing straight up.

Let's say I had equipment that went floor to ceiling in a 6.5 space. If there was something to inspect at the bottom you wouldn't be able to stand up. So what's the difference that you won't be standing up to deal with this sub-panel?

I welcome any thoughts.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
I think that resetting a circuit breaker while the panel is energized means that the working space is required. Did you look at 110.26(A)(3)Exception1?
 

Greentagger

Senior Member
Location
Texas
Occupation
Master Electrician, Electrical Inspector
1. Permanent ladder required to meet requirements of readily accessible.
2. Would need floor or platform ( not standing between rafters) to meet 110.26A)(1)(2)(3).
3. Exception to 110.26(A)(3) Exception No 1 would not apply as this was not existing.
4. Working space required. 110.26.
The inspector helped you pick out this location?
 

Buck Parrish

Senior Member
Location
NC & IN
What size wire is feeding this sub panel ? How many circuits are their? Are they all 15 or 20 amp120 volt circuits ?

The reason I ask is . Some of these older houses it's easier to pull some branch circuits to the old panel. Just splice it their and screw the lid shut. It's no longer a panel, just a J- Box

Sometimes it's easier to splice what we can. Then run new cables to the 240 appliances.
Just my thoughts...
 

rnatalie

Senior Member
Location
Catawba, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer
Don't have a "picture" but here's the actual text from the code:


Exception No. 1:
In existing dwelling units, service equipment or panelboards that do not exceed 200 amperes shall be permitted in spaces where the height of the working space is less than 2.0 m (61⁄2 ft
).
 

Greentagger

Senior Member
Location
Texas
Occupation
Master Electrician, Electrical Inspector
So by the words of the exception, it’s ok to install the panel board , in an attic, with a 30”wide by 36” deep space with no regards to height of working space. Those pesky minimum requirements.
 

jaylectricity

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
Occupation
licensed journeyman electrician
Inspector passed the installation. The headroom was only short a few inches. There was a platform to cover the other working space. My other concern was "readily accessible", but you don't need tools to pull down the attic stairs, and they are not portable.

Problem was, homeowner agreed to replace a fuse box with circuit breakers. If he had known we had to move it he wouldn't have agreed to it. The other side of the closet wall was another closet.

I also didn't want to alter the circuits more than six feet or it would have triggered the need for afci.

My mistake was in assuming I could replace something near easily ignitable material because it was already there.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
1. Permanent ladder required to meet requirements of readily accessible.
2. Would need floor or platform ( not standing between rafters) to meet 110.26A)(1)(2)(3).
3. Exception to 110.26(A)(3) Exception No 1 would not apply as this was not existing.
4. Working space required. 110.26.
The inspector helped you pick out this location?
I don't know about you but I feel much safer standing on the rafters than between them most situations. ;)
 
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