Fuse boxes are nowadays a thing of the past, with more homeowners preferring to use electrical panels to safeguard their appliances. But if you still have one in your home, are unsure about its location, or are wondering whether you can place it in specific locations in your house, this article will guide you.
You can place your fuse box or electrical breaker panel in your bedroom, but there’s a catch.
Read more below to get much information on fuse boxes, electrical panels, and their placement regulations.
What’s The Difference Between A Fuse Box And An Electrical Panel?
Are you having trouble determining whether the panel you have in your house is a fuse box or an electrical panel? If so, differentiating between the two is relatively easy and obvious once you know what constitutes each.
Fuse boxes have screw-in fuses fixed within with various labels of the parts of the home that they serve. Electrical panels do not have screw-in fuses but have switches that can be on or off depending on whether there’s the power needed for a particular home circuit or not.
When there’s an overload or power surge, a fuse box will detect the abnormality and burn up the fuse linked with the circuit. To power up the circuit, you will need to replace the fuse with a similarly rated fuse.
In an electric panel, the switches will trip in the case of an overload, and you would need to flip it to reconnect the circuit to the power line.
What’s The Similarity Between A Fuse Box And An Electrical Panel?
An electrical panel and a fuse are very similar in terms of functionality.
Both panels distribute the power, from the main supply to our homes, into the respective circuits and through a protective device (fuse/switch).
Also, both panels safeguard our home circuits by cutting off the circuit when there’s an overload or electrical power surges.
Can You Have A Fuse Box In A Bedroom?
You can have a fuse box in the bedroom.
The only catch is that according to the National Electrical Code (NEC), an overcurrent device or electrical panel should not be located in congested areas or areas that harbor easily ignitable materials.
Your bedroom may or may not fall in this category, depending on its size. If it is a small bedroom such that the panel doesn’t satisfy NEC regulations on safety, it is in your best interest that you contact an electrician to transfer the fuse box to a spacious location.
However, if your bedroom is spacious enough that your fuse box is not close to any clothes, closets, curtains, or any ignitable material, then you’re safe.
Where Should The Fuse Box Be Located?
The location of a circuit breaker or fuse box in a home varies a lot with the structural setup of the building.
The general rule of the thumb on the location of a fuse box, according to the NEC, is that fuse boxes should be located in low-traffic uncongested areas of the home.
If you live in a post-1990s home, you can locate your fuse box in the laundry room, garages, under the staircase, or basement. If you live in a pre-1990s home, you might find that your fuse box is located close to your electrical meter outside the house.
Most new homes have electrical breaker panels instead of fuse boxes.
If you’re in the process of rewiring your home, then you don’t need to worry about its location since you can consult with the relevant electrician on where to locate it. But information is vital, and you deserve to know.
For those that live in apartments, your main fuse box might be in a central location, such as the basement, while individual fuse boxes are located in your laundry room or bedroom.
Can An Electrical Panel Be In A Bedroom?
Similar to the fuse box, there is no NEC regulation that electrical panels shouldn’t be located in the bedroom.
So, if you find one in your bedroom, do not panic. However, if it’s located close to your bed, ensure to move your bed as far away as possible from the panel.
Electrical panels radiate low-frequency EMFs that are very dangerous to human beings. Long-term exposure to high levels of EMF radiation lead to fatigue, headaches, sleep loss, infertility, memory loss, and damage to human cells and DNA.
How Far Away Should You Sleep From An Electrical Panel?
It would be best if you slept at least one meter or 3.3 feet away from an electrical panel.
There isn’t an effective way to entirely block EMF radiation from reaching you while sleeping. And even though multiple sources claim that electrical shielding with the use of metals such as copper and aluminum is effective in blocking out the EMF radiations, these claims remain speculative.
Being close to an electrical panel for short periods, such as when replacing a fuse or flipping the switch, isn’t dangerous. The radiation dangers come about when you expose yourself to the EMF radiation by sleeping less than 1 meter away from the electrical panel.
And since we sleep for an average of 8 hours every day, it means that if we sleep within 1 meter from the panel, we are exposing ourselves to EMF radiation for four months in a year.
That amount of radiation subjected to our bodies is a scary statistic that should drive you to stay away from electrical panels.
Where Do I Put An Electrical Panel In My Home?
The NEC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations on electrical safety state that electrical panels should be placed in locations that satisfy the following safety criteria.
- Electrical panels must be mounted on easily accessible parts of the home and should be carefully installed to limit any causes of fire hazards.
- The mounting area must be well illuminated to enable a homeowner to see the switches easily.
- The working space must be 6ft 6in high, 30in width, and 3 ft square from the wall. These dimensions are meant to ensure that the panel door opens fully to an angle of more than 90 degrees.
- Electrical panels must not be located in crowded or enclosed places such as closets, bathrooms, pantries, or behind cabinets.
You’re not eligible for insurance claims if a fire breaks out due to an electrical fault that is determined to emanate from an electrical panel that has violated one of the above regulations.
What Is The Mounting Height For My Electrical Panel?
The NEC mandates that the maximum height for circuit breakers used as switches should be 6 feet 7 inches.
The maximum height for electrical panels is measured from the finished floor to the center of the handle of the circuit breaker switch. A mounting platform should be permanently placed below the panel if you wish to mount the panel higher.
The NEC doesn’t mandate any minimum height, but 4 feet from the finished floor is the safest minimum mounting height.
As much as electrical breaker panels are located in easily accessible locations, I’d recommend placing the panel at the height of 5 feet and above for safety reasons.
Mounting at any height below this is dangerous to children who might not have the capacity to understand the dangers that come with electricity.
How Can I Measure EMF Radiation In My Bedroom?
For a home setting, an EMF meter is the best solution to measure EMF radiations.
An EMF meter measures the change of electromagnetic fields over time to determine the correct reading.
Magnetic radiations of less than five gausses (5mG) are considered safe.
If you’re not sure how to use an EMF meter, I’d recommend that you alert your power company for an on-site EMF reading.
I bet it is common knowledge that electricity is a hazardous form of energy that is lethal and a fire hazard. According to the NEC and OSHA codes, electrical breakers and fuse boxes should be located in safe and spacious areas.
Also, we should install breaker panels in areas that are dry and shielded from water and rain.
Remember that state and federal regulations on electrical breaker panels and fuse box location, handling, and usage are meant for your safety and that of your community.
Stay safe, electricity is dangerous.