National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Question:

Hello and thanks for what you do. When I put my 200-amp service panel in, I put it in on its side horizontal is this wrong?

Gordon Determan

A

Answer:

Hi Gordon,

Thanks for the kind words and the question. The short answer is simply that based on the NEC (not the Canadian Electrical Code Part I)  installing a panelboard in the horizontal orientation creates a violation related to the mounting orientation for breakers. Section 240.81 indicates that if  circuit breaker handles are operated vertically rather than rotationally or horizontally, the “up” position of the handle shall be the “on” position. Panelboards typically have two vertical rows of circuit breakers from top to bottom. If the panelboard is mounted horizontally, then half of the breakers in the panelboard would be in violation because the down position would typically be the "on" or "closed" position for the breaker.

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