Return to the Electrical Wiring Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

Posted by nycarolina (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 15, 11 at 15:22

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.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

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.

RE: Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

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.

RE: Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

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!


RE: Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

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

RE: Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

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.

RE: Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

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.

RE: Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

"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.

RE: Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

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.

RE: Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

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!

RE: Breaker Box Wiring from Sides or Middle?

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

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Electrical Wiring Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here