17 Apr Why is it important to keep your electrical panel clear?
The national electrical code requires that all panels maintain a proper clearance. The NEC 126(A)(2) states that a clearance for a panel is 30 inches in width or the width of the equipment, which ever is greater. You must also keep a minimum distance of 36 inches in front as well as indicated by NEC 126(A)(1).
Why is this important? For two equally important reasons.
Sufficient access and working space shall be provided and maintained about all electrical equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment. Bushes, ladder, tools or any stored item can conduct electricity and injury or cause death to the person working in the panel. The clearances are considered safe working space.
The second is for the safety of your home and family. If there is an electrical accident and for varies reason that the break does not trip (poor grounding, in proper installations or faulty equipment) seconds can mean the difference between life and death or your house burning down.
Some people may reason or use the excuse that they have never had anything happen before. So why worry about it. You may of never had a traffic accident before either, but the possibility is still there and you carry insurance just in case. It is the same with your electrical panel, you may of never had an accident but you need to insure that you have the ability to act fast in an emergency. Electrical components are just like everything else. They do break down and fail. So be prepared and keep proper clearances around your panel.