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Thread: Is it wise to install service panel on outside of house?

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bobwilli's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Salem, Oregon

    Default Is it wise to install service panel on outside of house?

    I need to have an upgraded service panel installed for my 1948 stucco house. Since the clothes dryer needs to be right under where the new panel would be and code doesn't allow this, an electrician suggests mounting the panel on the outside of the house. I am skeptical of the wisdom of this.

    How common is such an outside installation?

    This seems rather insecure and vulnerable to tampering by someone unauthorized. Is there something I'm missing?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Nov 2005


    Personaly I would not have my box outside the home...

  3. #3
    Electrical Contractor jbfan74's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Newnan, GA


    In some locals, it is very common to place the panel outside.
    Have you driven around town and looked to see how many are?
    220/221 places all his panel outside!
    Yes I am A Pirate-Jimmy Buffett

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    New England


    Personally, I'd not want to go out in a wet, rainy night to reset a breaker...shouldn't happen often, but I'd rather do it in my shorts, in my own house in the middle of the night, if needed. Now, moving a panel can get expensive, so it depends on how much you're willing to spend, and convenience. You can buy lockable panels, so the neighborhood punks don't just shut you off, but then you have to find the key and hope the lock hasn't frozen up when you do need to get inside it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    Architect Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Salt Lake City, Utah


    Every place I've lived in the main panel has been on the outside of the house. It's never been an issue. I wouldn't worry about it.
    Spaceman Spiff aka Mike

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default panel

    As long as it is a weatherproof panel and you put a padlock on it, you should have no problem. Here, the panels are either outdoors, or there is a master switch/breaker at the meter controlling an indoor panel. The city/utility require an outdoor access after the meter to disconnect the entire house if needed.

  7. #7


    Drive around back behind buildings. Drive behind shopping centers for example. And you will see plenty of main electrical panels mounted outside.

    Might be difficult to drive behind houses in your area since there may not be alleys, but if you drive around, follow the electric lines going to houses, then you should see many electric panels mounted on the sides of homes. Some on the front of homes in older areas.

    Quite common!

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member Joetime's Avatar
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    Sep 2013


    The NEC requires the service cable to terminate at the service disconnect as soon as it enters the house. If your meter is at one end of the house and panel is at the other end then a main disconnect can be located either outside or inside on the meter side. Nothing about the panel inside or outside. For installation convenience the meter and disconnect can be sold as one unit and most power companies require the meter outside.

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