Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

nycarolinaDecember 15, 2011

I have a large breaker panel that is the focus of a wall in my living room. I would like to cover it with a photo and am wondering if it is safe to drive a nail and picture hanger above the box in the center of the space it occupies. Any ideas on this?

Thanks for your help.

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Ron Natalie

What is supposed to happen is that if the wire passes through a stud within 1-1/4" of the surface, it should have a metal plate. HOWEVER, close to the panel and drilling into the void, you have a good chance of hitting a cable in the void.

Might I suggest one of the 3M Command products. I've hung some quite heavy pictures with that stuff.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 3:50PM
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brickeyee

find the studs on each side of the box and drive the picture hanger nail there.

If you use two hangers for a picture with a hanging wire you can move it side to side wand it will still hang level.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 4:31PM
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nycarolina

Thanks so much for the feedback. I like the idea of the 3M but it has to be removable and I am leery to use velcro backing for the weight of the art being hung. It is a large breaker box so a large piece of art is needed.

I do not have a way to find the studs and would like to ask if I tap a small nail into the void area centered above the box, what is the worst that could happen? Will I hit a metal plate stopping the nail or could a truly hit a wire? I have been "zapped" big time in the past and do not want to re-live that experience :).

I will not be drilling but just using a large picture hanger and a single nail.

Thanks again!

Carol

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 1:41PM
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greg_2010

I like the idea of the 3M but it has to be removable

???

How is a 3M picture hanger any less removable than a nail in the wall?
You realize that he's not suggesting that you tape the picture to the wall, right? The hanger gets stuck to the wall and the picture hangs on the hanger. The picture is still removable.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean though.

Here is a link that might be useful: 3M Command example

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 1:58PM
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greg_2010

Oops. I just noticed that the 3M "picture hangers" are what you were describing while I was imagining the 'general hooks'.

So I guess my suggestion is to use a 3M General Hook.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 2:03PM
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Ron Natalie

I have heavy signs (painted on wood) mounted in my house that are held up with the command strips that are like 3/4 x 1-1/2" plastic velcro. Several pieces of it support the sign quite well.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 4:55PM
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brickeyee

"I do not have a way to find the studs..."

Measure the width of the box.

Most are very close to 14.5 inches.

The studs are on each side of the box.

Tapping with a knuckle on the wall should also let you find the studs.
Directly under the box there is unlikely to be a stud, so tap there.

Now start moving to the side.
When the hollow sound disappears you have found the stud.

A large piece of heavy art work should be supported by nails into the studs.
If you put two nails that are level you can make the picture hang level on the wire and still be able to slide it side to side as desired.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 5:07PM
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nycarolina

Many thanks to everyone who responded. Home Depot and Lowes did not have a 3M solution for my 24x30 art work and with textured walls I feel uneasy using the 3M velcro type solution.

I will try to find the studs today and see how that goes. I am still a bit uneasy hammering a nail anywhere near the box without understanding where the wires may be. I'll post a follow up with the results.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 10:18AM
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nycarolina

The art work is hung! Not sure why it took so long to consider this, but the breaker box is encased in a second box that has screws into the wall. I nailed the picture hangers just above the screw points in the case and voila, the picture is hung without being zapped. Thanks again for all the kind suggestions!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 10:57PM
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kudzu9

nycarolina-
You've gotten a lot of good suggestions on how to do this safely. brickeyee's observation about the studs flanking either side of the box is a good one. You can always get a simple magnetic stud finder for a couple of bucks if you want to confirm this. Also bear in mind that you don't need big nails to hang the picture: anything that goes beyond the back side of the sheetrock will have no additional holding power (unless it goes into the stud). You can use a standard pair of hooks that are held in place by single nails: the nails go in at a 45 degree angle and are about 3/4" long, which means that, even if you don't find the studs, they barely break through the other side of 1/2" sheetrock. They can hold a lot of weight.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hanger

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 11:02PM
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