Can a Breaker Box Be In the Attic? (All You Need To Know!)

The National Electric Code, issued by the US National Fire Protection Association, is an essential consideration when you start building a home.

In other countries, it’s used as a model for home building codes.

The codes cover the placement and installation of the residential circuit breaker boxes, counting service panels, and subpanels.

An electrical breaker panel is a primary point used for the distribution of electrical circuits in your home. The breaker box is the main power solution for a home. Factually, a circuit panel requires around 100 to 200 amps to run. However, a modern home, having high-powered electrical appliances, needs about 300AMPs of energy.

Is It Safe To Locate a Breaker Box In The Attic?

The building codes cover rules on how and where to place circuit breaker boxes. This is to ensure safe installation. Even if a certain location meets the standard and strict definition of the electrical codes, it won’t make much sense to put the breaker box there.

One example is to place the breaker box in the attic. If you can’t readily access it when necessary, it doesn’t make much sense to install it there in the first place. In an emergency situation, it can become very challenging to turn off a circuit breaker.

Can You Put An Electric Panel In Attic?

As we know, although a location may comply with the electrical codes, it won’t necessarily make sense to put an electric panel or breaker box right there.

An electrical panel must not be in a place where it risks exposure to physical damage or is easily combustible, such as in closets or bathrooms.

The best location for an electrical panel is a garage, as it offers enough room to meet clear workspace requirements, but they’re quite hidden at the same time. Also, another good place to install an electric panel in the basement. Whichever place you choose, choose wisely. That’s because you can’t reverse the process. Electrical panels are dangerous to deal with if you don’t install them properly or in an appropriate location.

Do People Have Breaker Box In The Attic?

Yes, several people place their breaker boxes in the attic. Nevertheless, installing breaker boxes outside the home is much safer. Think about it. If you install a breaker box outside your home and it catches fire, the fire department can easily shut off the main electric supply. But when you install the breaker box in the attic, inside your home, it can be very dangerous. In the event of a fire, it can cause severe injuries.

Most engineers would recommend that you install a breaker box outside your home. This way, it’s not in close proximity to things that can easily catch fire, such as flammable chemicals, fuel, and wood. The two best locations are:

  • Exterior wall of the garage
  • Basement exterior, near the main line

Can You Put A Sub Panel In An Attic?

You can only install a sub panel in the attic when it offers a height of 6’6”, width of 30”, and depth of 36”.

You also need to make sure that your attic is clean, properly ventilated, and easy to access. It sounds like a great idea to install a sub-panel in the attic, but it is easier said than done. The installation has some complexities, including codes and regulations that ensure your home remains safe.

When installing a sub panel in the attic, rest assured that your home will be safe if you comply with the electric codes. When it comes to electrical-related installation, opt for an approach that brings you safety and peace of mind. After all, you don’t want to go through the worry of preparing your mind for dangerous situations.

Where Can A Breaker Box Be Located? (By Code)

You can’t install circuit breaker boxes everywhere. Specifically, you can’t install them in bathrooms, clothes closets, powder rooms, or any such room offering no or minimum space for a worker to access the box. There should be enough space around the box so that a professional can get to work immediately. Since accessibility is a major priority, you can understand why smaller rooms like bathrooms and closets are unsuitable for a breaker box.

The code has specific requirements when it comes to clearance near the breaker box. The working space needs to be 36 inches deep and 30 inches wide. It’s not necessary that you install the panel in the middle of the working space. You can install it to the side, but make sure that the width offers room for the panel door to open at a 90-degree angle. The working space should be set at 78 inches – that’s 6.5 feet. 

The NEC recommends installing the breaker box near the service entrance, but the location should remain practical. Additionally, be careful not to install a breaker box on the opposite side of the meter. Because of this restriction, the NEC requires that you first select a location for the breaker box, and then one for the service entrance equipment, such as the meter.

Final Words:

So, here is all the information about the breaker box, its placement in the attic, and its location. Electrical professionals and the NEC suggest that you shouldn’t install a breaker box and electrical panel near places where they risk exposure to physical damage, such as bathrooms and closets. Instead of smaller spaces that don’t offer enough clearance, install them in backyards, garages, and basements. Before you put the breaker box or electrical panel in the attic, ensure that the attics are properly ventilated, clean, and accessible. Also, consider these given instructions for a sub-panel as well.