An electrical panel is the central distribution point or control center of a home’s electrical system. It enables power inflow from an external source like a utility company.
Electrical panels can go in many areas in a home, such as garages, basements, attics, and even laundry rooms; you just have to ensure that whatever location you go with is compliant with the provisions of your local building code.
In this article, we’ll be letting you in on the legal specifications guiding the placement of an electrical panel in a home.
You also get expert responses or answers to the most commonly asked questions on placing an electrical panel, which can also be referred to as a breaker box, in a laundry room.
Can Electrical Panels Be Installed in Laundry Rooms?
If your laundry room has enough open space, you might just be able to install an electrical panel in its confines. You mustn’t install ducts, unrelated electronic appliances, and pipes in this area.
Additionally, using your laundry room as storage space isn’t advisable if you (plan to) have your electrical panel in there.
For electrical and fire safety in the location your electrical panel is installed or going to be installed, keep in mind the following guideline provided by the NEC (National Electrical Code).
Electrical panels must be installed or placed in an open area that is 30 inches (76.3 cm) wide and 36 inches (91.4 cm) deep. The site must extend to a height of about 6’6”.
The IRC (International Residential Code), several local codes, and electric cooperatives, also follow the specifications of the NEC (National Electrical Code).
Install your electrical panel at a position where you can open its door to an angle no less than 90 degrees. Feel free to modify the dimensions specified above to achieve this.
How Close Can a Washing Machine Be to an Electrical Panel?
You can place a washing machine outside or close to the working space of your electrical panel. In other words, your washer mustn’t infiltrate or infringe the open area rule laid down by the NEC.
As mentioned earlier, an electrical panel must have a 30 inches wide and 36 inches deep open area to itself, so a washing machine can’t be too close to this installation.
Just in case you’re wondering, the chances of water from your washing machine splashing on or getting into your electrical panel are slim to none.
Washing machines are designed to contain water, so the occurrence of splashes should be the least of your concern.
Another thing homeowners are often worried about when it comes to having an electrical panel in a laundry room is running water pipes alongside an electrical system,
As long as certain legal guidelines are adhered to, you should have no incidences or issues having an electrical system and water pipes in the same room.
How Far Does Water Need to Be from an Electrical Panel?
Water should be placed at a distance from an electrical panel that enables it to maintain a mandatory dimension of 30 inches in width, 36 inches in depth, and 78 inches in height.
This rule applies to all water systems, water purifying or heating appliances, and water pipelines.
The implication of water getting on or into an electrical panel is oftentimes not as extreme as many people paint it to be.
So, don’t think an explosion or fire outbreak will occur just because water came in contact with your panel once.
What is most likely to happen when water gets on or into your electrical panel infrequently is the corrosion of your circuit breakers or electrical wires. Rusting is also very likely.
Suppose your panel is exposed to water over a long period of time. In that case, the chances of a fire breaking out, an electrical explosion, or mechanical failure occurring will be pretty high.
The best thing for you to do when you notice that water has been getting into your electrical panel is to call a certified electrician or seek professional help.
A new circuit breaker panel will have to be installed if there is considerable water damage, do not attempt to carry out a replacement yourself.
Also, your service entry cable or the electric meter will need to be inspected and resealed if it is found to be the access point of water.
How Close Can a Dryer Be to an Electrical Panel?
Just like a water pipe and washer, a dryer should be placed at a distance from an electrical panel that enables it to maintain a mandatory work area of 30” in width, 36” in-depth, and 78” in height.
One thing you must be very cautious of when placing a dryer in the same space as an electrical panel is lint build-up.
Related article: Fuse Box & Electrical Panel In The Bedroom (Explained!)
Dryers are known to extract lint from clothing; these fibers can accumulate on the heat mechanisms within the dryer and cause a fire in your home.
Lint can also get into the air if a dryer is not properly installed. This occurrence is especially dangerous if you have an electrical panel close by.
If you want a dryer in the same room as your electrical panel, you must ensure it is well vented.
Additionally, you must clean out the dryer’s lint filter regularly and always shut the casing of your electrical panel.
Doing the above will minimize the chances of a fire outbreak and make your dryer more efficient and energy-saving.
Unusually long drying cycles and partially dry clothing after a drying cycle are major indicators that you need to empty your lint filter.
Cleaning and airing your laundry room regularly also helps lower the chances of lint being circulated in the air.
Housing an electrical panel in a laundry room isn’t a terrible idea if you have the space to spare. As long as you install the panel in the required work area, you should have no issues,
We hope this article was able to ease every fear you might have had concerning the installation of an electrical panel in a laundry room amongst other electrical appliances or installations.
If you want an expert opinion on where would be best to install an electrical panel within your home, contact a certified electrician.
Also, the installation of an electrical panel isn’t something you should attempt on your own. Even if you have some technical knowledge, get a professional to handle the job.