If you have a crawl space in your house, you may be wondering how you can benefit from it. By definition, crawl spaces aren’t large enough to fit furniture or appliances. They won’t even do as storage spaces.
Can you put an electrical panel in a crawl space, though?
Luckily, the answer is yes! Read on for a list of electrical panels you can safely install within your crawl space. This post also states the legal requirements for installing electrical panels in crawling spaces.
A breaker box is also known as the circuit breaker panel or the main service panel. It’s the point at which electricity enters the house to be distributed.
Given their great significance, breaker boxes are relatively large. They can be installed in crawl spaces. However, you need to follow certain regulations to ensure safety.
In case of an emergency, you may need to reach the topmost part of a breaker box. Fortunately, it isn’t typically too high as it reaches a maximum of 6’7″.
The International Residential Code (IRC) of 2021 sets several rules for installing the main service panel in a crawling space, including:
- The distance between the ceiling and the floor of your crawl space must be at least 6’6″.
- The width of the space should be at least 2’6”.
- The space in front of the panel should be at least 3’.
- The panel must have a door that opens a minimum of 90 degrees.
- No object should obstruct the door of the panel.
Yes, you can install a subpanel in your crawl space, but you should abide by the same regulations that guide the installation of the main service panels.
A subpanel is a smaller electrical panel that derives electricity from the main service panel to distribute it to a specific part of the house.
Electrical subpanels are a good way to limit the use of circuit breakers in the main breaker box. Installing these panels prevents the overload of the main panels, thus eliminating power failures.
Just like breaker boxes, these subpanels require a 2’6″ width, a 6’6” height, and a 3-foot clearance space.
These subpanels feed electricity to an entire section of the house. In other words, you’ll have to access them easily in cases of emergency. For that matter, we recommend installing subpanels in sheds or garages.
However, if you decide to install these panels in crawl spaces, make sure they’re placed near the entrance. That way, they can be more accessible when you need them
Junctions are small electrical panels containing the joints that bring the wires together. These boxes are where the wires get redirected from one place to the other.
You can easily install them in crawl spaces because these panels are small enough to fit into crawl spaces.
In addition, junction boxes don’t carry anything except the wires and the nuts holding their ends together; they don’t contain any controls. That way, you don’t need to visit these panels that much.
However, you need to consider three factors:
Typically, junction boxes connect to the fixtures of heavy appliances. That’s why technicians recommend that you anchor your junction to a floor joist or a stud.
That’s a safety precaution to ensure the sturdiness of the junction’s attachment point.
You should make sure that the junction panels you install in your crawl spaces don’t get exposed to water in any way. In other words, don’t install them directly under showers, kitchens, or bathrooms.
Even if you have reliable infrastructure, the least amount of leakage may cause serious problems.
Though you won’t need to visit your junction that often, you should be able to access it easily at any time. In cases of emergency, you might have to change wires or connections.
So, we recommend you install junctions in an accessible place within your crawl space.
Of course! We recommend that you use a conduit for any wires passing through your crawling space.
The main reason here is that most crawl spaces are unfinished. In other words, the floors are usually nothing but the soil underneath the house.
Conduits protect your wires against moisture, dirt, and anything that affects them. This step is significantly more important if you live near a flooding area to avoid the severe damage that water may cause.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to use a conduit, you can finish and encapsulate your crawl space. This process entails two steps:
- Removing any moisture using a dehumidifier.
- Sealing the entire crawling space with waterproof material.
Can you put an electrical panel in a crawl space?
Yes, you can! In fact, you can place several types of electrical panels in a crawl space. This includes main service panels, junction boxes, and subpanels.
To install such panels safely, you should follow the rules set by the 2021 IRC. Moreover, you should consider several safety factors, such as accessibility, using a conduit, and keeping the water away.
Can you think of a better way to use your crawling space?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.