The Difference Between Indoor And Outdoor Breaker Boxes (Explained)

The breaker box is a central hub for electrical power in a property.

It is the location of the breaker box that differs. Some breaker boxes are indoors while others are outdoors.

This is why it’s important to know the difference between indoor and outdoor breaker boxes.

The difference between indoor and outdoor breaker boxes starts with durability. Outdoor breaker boxes are made for inclement weather (i.e. snow, rain). While indoor breaker boxes are accessible, efficient, and safe from vandalism. It’s recommended to follow building codes in the region as both types of breaker boxes are valid.

In some states, it’s required to have a specialized outdoor breaker box.

While other states do demand an indoor breaker box for the home. It comes down to what the building code stipulates.

This article will explain the differences between indoor and outdoor breaker boxes.

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Comparing Indoor And Outdoor Breaker Boxes

1. Durability

A breaker box on the outside of the house is more durable.

This is due to it being designed to handle inclement weather. This can include rain, snow, hail, and windy conditions.

If a breaker box is set up outside the house, it has to be durable. This is one difference that is common between indoor and outdoor breaker boxes.

On the other hand, indoor breaker boxes last longer as they are specifically protected inside the property. This makes them easier to maintain and manage during the year.

If a breaker box is installed outdoors, a lot of attention is paid to how long it lasts. It needs to be in the right spot that is accessible for homeowners and does not get in the way.

2. Accessibility

A common difference between indoor and outdoor breaker boxes comes in the form of accessibility.

By having an indoor breaker box, you know it will be accessible at all times of the day. Just walk over to where the breaker box is and know it will be fully linked to the rest of the electrical circuit in the house.

It’s as simple as that.

On the other hand, outdoor breaker boxes are much harder to access even in the best conditions. Things can get worse when the breaker box is set up in an area that is hard to reach when it’s snowing or raining a lot.

A good example would be a breaker box that is at the side of the property. This area might get covered with snow (3+ feet), which is difficult to walk through. This gets harder when you have to do it during the night with little light.

Due to this indoor breaker boxes are commonly known for being far more accessible. A lot of wintry areas do have indoor breaker boxes for this reason as it snows too much for an outdoor breaker box to be viable.

difference between indoor and outdoor breaker boxes

3. Efficiency

It is important to note the value of efficiency.

Having a breaker box on the outside of the house is not as efficient.

It is much harder to access and fix during the year. It is also not as easy to tweak when it comes to making sure things are running the way they are supposed to.

The indoor breaker box is a lot easier to manage and that makes it far more efficient. It is also linked directly to how the circuit is running indoors.

4. Safety

Indoor breaker boxes are safer.

If a fire is breaking out due to a sparking outlet, you will want to shut off the power as soon as possible. With the breaker box being inside the house, you have a much easier time getting to it and turning off the power immediately.

On the other hand, it might become impossible to get to a breaker box that is outside if the fire is blocking one of the exits.

This is a real concern that is kept in mind when it comes to the location of a breaker box.

Why Do I Have A Breaker Box Outside And Inside?

Regulations in some regions believe a breaker box should be outside and inside the property. This allows complete access to an individual inside or outside the house. For example, if a fire breaks out, the fire department can immediately shut off the power supply without entering the house. The same goes for someone inside the property.

These safety details need to be kept in mind because they do turn into real-life scenarios.

It’s essential to look into this to the best of your ability and ensure you are following local building codes.

difference between indoor and outdoor breaker boxes

Should Breaker Box Be Inside Or Outside?

A breaker box should be located inside and outside the house. Some states believe having an outdoor breaker box is essential as it ensures the fire department can easily access the breaker box without having to enter the property.

It’s a simple safety mechanism that does work well in those situations.

It is important to consider local regulations and also what’s best for the property.

Final Thoughts

This is the difference between indoor and outdoor breaker boxes.

The difference between indoor and outdoor breaker boxes starts with durability. Outdoor breaker boxes are made to last in different conditions including rain and snow. On the other hand, indoor breaker boxes are far more accessible throughout the day.

It’s important to note that some regions demand an outdoor breaker box due to fire regulations. This is something to account for before deciding where a breaker box goes.

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