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Federal Pacific panel found in clothes closet

Discussion in 'Electrical Codes' started by Ten Tenths, May 21, 2020.

  1. Ten Tenths

    Ten Tenths Registered User

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    Hi all

    This my first post after reading through many threads so please excuse any 'dumb' questions.

    So, I'm new to DFW and was looking through a home a few days ago when the home owner showed me a Federal Pacific panel board in behind a solid mass of clothes hanging on a clothes rail. The walls are wood framed with sheet rock.

    The board has a catalog no L1410-20-200 and the house appears to be built circa late 70's early 80's.

    I understand that the NEC 240.24D & E states that the board is not allowed in a clothes closet (and in this case there are both clothes and boxes stacked around it) so it obviously needs to be moved.

    My questions are;

    1. Where I come from, non code compliant older installations are allowed to remain in place until any works are performed whereupon they must be brought up to current code unless they present a danger/fire hazard.

    I am aware however that the FP panel boards are not highly regarded and as works are not proposed for a while (in approx 6 months time), my question is could the panel be left as is in the meantime/is it a hazard?

    2. The home owner has stated that he thinks it needs to be moved to the exterior of the house. Is that the case and can someone point me to the code applicable?

    Cheers
     
  2. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Welcome

    And welcome from another dfwer


    Give it a few days for replies.

    Yes normally if installed to code originally, it is allowed to exist as is.

    Suggest you go in person to city building official and ask the question, where it is allowed to be moved to.

    Is your electric meter on the outside wall, of the room the pane is located in?
     
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  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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  4. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    It is best to replace and move it, however if no work is being done then there is no code that requires it to be replaced or removed. Some insurance companies, however may require it to be replaced.
     
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  5. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    IF...it was legally installed and approved, it gets to stay here.....IF.....
     
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  6. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    I agree, if legally installed and approved, it can remain. Several homes in the past have had panels in area before codes were adopted here.

    I had an electrical panel here in a closet and the electrician was able to reverse it to an outside panel with the panel and meter socket both outside, like they do in California. The home buyer used a home inspector and the property owner agreed to take care of the change.
     
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  7. Ten Tenths

    Ten Tenths Registered User

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    Thanks everyone....
     
  8. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    The fact that it is allowed to remain does not prevent the owner making it compliant with the current code.
     
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  9. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    240.24 Location in or on Premises.
    (D) Not in Vicinity of Easily Ignitable Material. Overcurrent devices shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitable material, such as in clothes closets.

    I am not sure when this came into the code and I don't know what code applied in your situation. I do know that Federal Pacific panels are not reliable. Not that spontaneous combustion happens but they might not operate as intended when called upon to clear a fault condition.
     
    #9 ICE, May 22, 2020
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  10. Paul Sweet

    Paul Sweet Sawhorse

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    The prohibition on locating overcurrent devices near easily ignitable materials has been in the NEC at least since 1968 (that's our oldest copy). Most of the inspectors I dealt with considered clothes closets as containing easily ignitable materials, but many others didn't. It appears that clothes closets were first specifically identified in the 1981 edition.

    The question becomes when did the locality adopt a building code that included the NEC, and was the building official one who didn't view clothes closets as containing easily ignitable materials.

    That's what makes working with codes so interesting, especially with existing buildings. The answer usually seems to come down to "it depends ..."
     
  11. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    If you have a concern about it move the clothes away from it.
     

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