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hot / cold copper water pipes located above main electrical panel

Home Improvement Asked on January 7, 2022

The Pipes are about 7.5 feet above the basement floor. I am in Canada.

WaterPipesUpToLaundryFloor. The pipes are about total 2 feet in vertical length as measured from the 90 degrees turn from the basement, popping up the main floor laundry room, jutting up the floor by 3/4 foot ending in shutoff valves. As shown in the picture, the shutoff valves shut water supply to the w/m hoses.

We have been living in the house for 17 years now (bought new), and i have always wondered about the water pipes located above the main electrical panel in the basement. The hot / cold copper water pipes lead to the main floor laundry room supplying water to the washing machine and dryer. There is shutoff valve (both cold and hotwater) where the washer/dryer hose pipes connect for the water supply.
It has been nagging my mind if this is safe, and sometimes have me worry the fact that the water pipes are sitting right above the main electrical panel of our home.
Few things: (1) is this safe ? (2) Need advice to install shutoff valves (for both) in the basement where I can shut off the water supply in case of a leak, which will prevent water spillage down on the electircal box. (3) Install water leak sensor.
2 PICTURES ATTACHED.WaterPipeAboveElectricalBox-1
WaterPipeAboveElectricalBox-2

2 Answers

Prefacing this by saying I don't live in Canada, and am not familiar with the codes there.

I had the exact same situation as you do. Not with just 2 pipes, but with cold water feeds for half the house, all copper (prone to pinhole leaks where I live). I had my very good plumber and an inspector look at it, and they told me that at the time the house was built, this was not uncommon, and actually would pass inspection now, although it is obviously not ideal.

I was concerned about leaks, so I had all the copper replaced with plastic, and every possible pipe rerouted. It still left one pipe, the main feed, but I feel much better about it.

Is there any way you can go 'around' (to the left or right) and feed the laundry room from the side wall instead of the floor?

Answered by bill333 on January 7, 2022

Mind you, all I've seen of Canadian basements was on TV (a really good show), so take this with a grain of salt. However, I can't say this is terribly unusual based on that (in later shows he did a fair amount of basement work).

Local codes might have something else to say, but generally your pipes run inside the basement (which is one of the primary purposes of basements), as well as your electrical panel is typically there (because it's out of the way). So it seems that it is assumed your pipes will be near your panel. It's also worth noting that if your pipes start leaking, you'll have larger issues than an electrical panel.

You can always install a whole house water leak shutoff valve (most of the ones I've seen are for 1" water lines, not the 1/2" line in the photo). It would stop a serious leak, but not a dribble. If you really want a cutoff valve in the basement, you can cut the pipes and put in a Sharkbite (push connect) valve.

Answered by Machavity on January 7, 2022

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