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#114132 - 01/09/03 09:50 PM Topic: >> Accessibility to Residential Service Equipment
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Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3142
Loc: NY, USA


This is a picture from in front of a Service Panel in a Residential Basement. It is on the wall to my left. Assuming that there is 3 ft of space in front of it (from left to right) would this installation be legal? The only way in or out of this space is past the Oil Tank which has maybe 12" between it and the right side wall. Does this violate any codes?

Bill

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#114133 - 01/10/03 04:56 AM Re: Topic: >> Accessibility to Residential Service Equipment
Joe Tedesco Offline
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Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3325
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA
A "continuous and unobstructed way of exit travel permits a single entrance to the working space" could apply here if the issue was related to the large equipment --- 6 ft or wider and 1200 amperes or more rule ---- to exiting from that space.

But it would be hard to enforce the clearances otherwise beyond the 30 inch width at the equipment beyond the depth of 3 or 4 feet depending upon the voltage to ground per Table 110.26.

I'll bet that the wall on the right was probably the result of some new basement remodel in the past.

It's a good point for us to remember because the exiting space is inadequate in the event of an "arc flash" where quick exiting would be difficult especially when the midsection of the person is wider than 30 inches.
_________________________
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

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#114134 - 01/10/03 07:23 AM Re: Topic: >> Accessibility to Residential Service Equipment
Scotts Offline
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Registered: 01/17/02
Posts: 224
Loc: Ventura, CA, USA
I second what Joe says. I know that fire codes do not apply here, but an emergency exit in an industrial building has to be 42" wide. Something to think about. The question here is not is it to code, but is it safe. IF something happens can you get to, or get away from, the panel quickly.

Prior planning prevents pi$$ poor performance.

Scott

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#114135 - 01/10/03 07:43 AM Re: Topic: >> Accessibility to Residential Service Equipment
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Joe,

You're right, this was a result of a Basement remodel. I could barely squeeze in and out of there and always got a covering of spackle dust on my back. I see poor planning like this many times. Do you think that 'Accessible' or 'Readily Accessible' should include unobstructed access (for personnel) in the definition?

Scott,

Yes, this is a Private Residence. I doubt if the planner here thinks anything other than wishing they could make that room bigger. (I think it was actually the Maids' room)

Does anyone know of anything in the Building Codes that is being violated here? How about Plumbing Codes? The Water Main and Sprinkler Backflow-Prevention was also down here.

Bill

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#114136 - 01/12/03 05:00 PM Re: Topic: >> Accessibility to Residential Service Equipment
ThinkGood Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1084
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Mr. Tedesco mentioned being able to exit quickly in the event of an arc flash.

I'm not familiar with heating oil; I wonder how well an the oil tank and/or the related pipes would hold up if an arc flash did its thing? Explosion? Leaking oil to slip and slide over? Fire?

Or, is there enough room to allow the force of an arc flash to dissipate? (I would not want to be the one to test it, either!)

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#114137 - 01/12/03 05:31 PM Re: Topic: >> Accessibility to Residential Service Equipment
ga.sparky56 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 582
Loc: young harris georgia usa
I've never seen a fuel/oil tank in a house before. Is this common where you are Bill?

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#114138 - 01/12/03 05:36 PM Re: Topic: >> Accessibility to Residential Service Equipment
Gwz Offline
Member

Registered: 04/29/02
Posts: 199
Scotts,

You left the first P off.

That should be a seven P sentence.

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pi?? Poor Performance.

Those first three P 's are hard to do every time, But, Ohhhhhhh, the benefits.

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#114139 - 01/12/03 05:39 PM Re: Topic: >> Accessibility to Residential Service Equipment
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
ga.sparky,

Actually it's becoming more common as people are replacing outside buried tanks for fear of them leaking. I hear there is a Hefty Cleanup bill if your tank is found to be leaking. I heard a Rumor (?) that the fuel delivery people are obligated to report any excessive amount of deliveries to the EPA. So, if your tank is leaking there's a chance that someone will find out about it.

Bill

[This message has been edited by Bill Addiss (edited 01-12-2003).]

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#114140 - 01/12/03 07:07 PM Re: Topic: >> Accessibility to Residential Service Equipment
ThinkGood Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1084
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Not sure about the rumor part, but an old underground tank can become a big headache. I heard about it when buying a house

Tanks that are no longer in use are removed or decommissioned--pumped out, cleaned and filled with foam or some other inert solid.

I believe there also has to be a removal of the fill valve so that no oil is mistakenly delivered to a decomissioned tank.

Make sure you get paperwork to prove you had it done...when you go to sell your house, it can become an issue.

Here's a link from NJ:
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/srp/bust/hofaq.htm

[This message has been edited by ThinkGood (edited 01-12-2003).]

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#114141 - 01/12/03 07:22 PM Re: Topic: >> Accessibility to Residential Service Equipment
NJwirenut Offline
Member

Registered: 09/15/01
Posts: 816
Loc: Bergen County, NJ
I wouldn't be surprised if fuel oil delivery drivers were required to report "excessive" deliveries, but the government is probably just as (if not more) concerned about the folks with diesel vehicles using the stuff in their cars/trucks (thereby avoiding fuel taxes) than they are about underground tank leaks.

Home heating oil and diesel fuel are the same thing, except for the highway taxes on diesel fuel...

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