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Electrical Panels - and your safety

Many people feel their electrical box is ugly, unsightly, even unnecessary.  They want to hide them away, cover them up, disguise them, and forget they are even in the home. But what if you’re having an electrical emergency?  What is an electrical emergency? An electrical emergency could be anything from an outlet that catches fire, a house fire, your home is flooding, to a family member being shocked.  The first thing you need to do, is shut off the main breaker!  But where is the box?

It is important to know where your box is, and make sure that it is accessible.  As a Home Inspector, I see people hide them, camouflage them, hang a picture over them, cover them, hang a cabinet over them, decorate them, but mostly, people have no idea where it is located in their own home.

For these reasons, OSHA, and other agencies and cities have codes and regulations to keep them clear and accessible.  Rules like where they cannot be located.  They cannot/should not be located in a bathroom, in a clothes closet, near any easily ignitable material, or in a stairway.  They should not be located near a water source.  They should not be painted over, or caulked shut.  The dead front must be accessible for removal (not just able to open the door, but take the entire cover off).  The box should be accessible without moving anything.

We hope you never have an electrical emergency.  But if you do, can you find and access your box? Stay safe!

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