• You've been granted Beta access to this site, allowing you to explore some of the new features while they're still under construction. More information can be found in the Beta forum.

I cannot believe this!!!

I had my father-in-law look around my house which is being built in Southern California ( I live in Utah and am moving down when the house is finished) to see where the main distribution boxes are for my power (circuit breakers), telephone, cable, etc so that I can start planning the utility/server/distribution room.

He calls me and tells me that all the distribution boxes, EVERYTHING is outside the house in a few covered cabinets held closed by some screws. All the distribution for everything, including my circuit breakers are outside!!

Not only from a security point of view, but from just a convience view doesn't this sound like the stupidist thing in the world?

If I trip a breaker in my house.....I have to WALK outside and flip it on!!!

Now from a security point of view, it seems that the only thing stopping someone from switching off my circuits or playing around with my phone lines are some screws !!!

Does anyone have any ideas of enclosures I can put OVER these other ones to make them more secure?

Thanks again for listening.

DTT
 

johnnynine

Active Member
Yes I have lived in area such as this as well. The breaker box was on the outside of the house and was not locked or even screwed closed. Anyone could turn the power off to the house.

I must not that no one ever did, nor had I heard of it happening.
 

IVB

Senior Member
My current house in Northern California has the breaker box outside, with a fliptop cover. You don't even need a screwdriver to open it.

We just put a master lock on it, as it was designed for that. Now it works fine, except for when I can't find the key.
But, I am getting UPS's for the HA & Elk stuff, so the security is still intact in the event of someone cutting the lock and killing the main.
 

rocco

Active Member
I've lived in three homes in soCal, and all three of them have the circuit breakers outside, under the meter. In twenty-five years, I've never had someone turn anything off. Or even on.

It's not really inconvenient to go outside to reset a breaker. Hey, in this weather, you should be outside anyway . . .
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Similar to what rfdsq said, I put magnetic contacts on my circuit breaker box and my access panels for the cable/phone. I have my security system, HomeSeer server, Ocelot, plus Cable Modem/Router all on battery backup so the alarm notice will get through, even if a breaker is tripped.

If you can, get some wiring near those boxes back to your wiring closet. You may have to put in the low voltage wiring for the magnetic contacts for the breaker box "after" final electrical inspection (but you didn't hear this from me)... ;)

I thought this was dumb also to put the breaker box outside. I have an auxillary box and it is inside in the garage area. Go figure!?!?!

My friend who is building his home has the main breaker box outside, but all the breakers to his home are in a bedroom (behind one of the doors).

I can't figure out the latest code interpretations and I don't think the builders here can either! :D
 

jrfuda

Active Member
The home we're in now, and the one we're moving into (nextdoor) have the mains and all 220s outside, with the 110's in the garage. All the cable/sat/phone connections are outside as well.

Also, the meter is INSIDE the fenced-in back yard, which means no locking the gates, or you get a nasty-gram from the electric company.
 

ph0n33z

Active Member
Our new house that we are building is the exact same way. We have the main panel outside the house and a sub-panel at the other end of the house inside the garage. Every house we have ever lived in has had this same setup.

However, I did not run any tamper-type security devices to the panel. Now I am wondering if I should. Maybe I will just run a few 22/2 to the panel so I can hookup whatever I need.
 

jeffx

Active Member
What would be the reason for putting these outside? I live in NY and every home I have owned has had everything inside. I can't think of any good reason to have it outside.
 
Well considering that where I live there are no basements in homes (because everything is built on basically sand) and being that their is MAYBE 1/8th inch of rain per year, that is what they are thinking probably.

Well now I have a LARGER problem, with everything outside, I just realized last night...that I have NO UTILITY room in my home!!!

I have no idea what the heck I am going to do with my 2.5 terabyte server, home theater controls etc. The alarm brain is in the hallway closet but there is no ventalation and it is a closet by the front door.

Sticking it in the garage would be very nerve racking as that is the first place people break into (from what I have read) and during the summer it gets over 110 degrees OUTSIDE, what is it going to be like INSIDE the garage!!!!

I am at a loss....
 

Steve

Senior Member
Well, I have no basement either, unless of course you consider our aquifers as basements and most all the places I have seen have this stuff indoors. My meter and 200amp main breaker is outdoors of course but it feeds a panel in the garage via like a 4 gauge wire. I have a friend with an office and his breakers are outside and they getting all corroded and nasty. Most houses I see here have them in the garage - surface mounted in the common wall to the interior.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
If your circuit breakers are outdoors and you have a generator, does that mean your transfer switch is outdoors too? What if you have an inverter and a bunch of wet cell batteries? All outdoors near the circuit breakers?
 

Mark S.

Active Member
rocco said:
It's not really inconvenient to go outside to reset a breaker. Hey, in this weather, you should be outside anyway . . .
I'm not sure I'd feel too comfortable going outside to my electrical panel to reset a breaker in the driving rain. And don't tell me it doesn't pour in California.

Can someone please explain the rationale for even allowing outdoor service panels?

Mark
 

rocco

Active Member
Mark S. said:
. . . And don't tell me it doesn't pour in California.
Yes, but I try to be out of town on those four days each year.
Can someone please explain the rationale for even allowing outdoor service panels?
Probably because it's cheaper, when mounted directly below the meter. In my first house had it mounted outside the garage, so I have no idea why they didn't just poke it through the wall to put it inside.

On my second house, it was outside of the master bedroom, and it's outside the family room on my current house. So it's simply not convenient to bring it inside.

I know that we have a fire code that calls for an electricity shut-off that's accessible outside, but that only requires one of those fuse boxes with the lever on the side.
 
Top