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Service disconnect Location


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I thought there was a rule that the main service disconnect had to be within so many feet of where the power enters the house. I've been researching for a reference but can't find it.

The house in question (built 1996) has 2 seperate 200 amp panels. One in the basement utility room maybe 15 feet from where power comes into the house . The 2nd is in the upstairs kitchen closet and not easly found unless you live there. (I'm aware of the rules on clearances). There is no single disconnect outside by the meter. The house is owned by an electrician, but is in the country with no inforced standards.

I think there should be a single outside disconnect in case there is an electrical emergency or fire so that power can be cut off to the entire house without emergency crews searching for the panel in the kitchen closet.

Since the seller is an electrician I'd like a reference (if there is one) to support my recommendation.

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I don't have an exact code reference, but it's 10' max to first point of disconnect in my area, at least in most municipalities here. Might check with the power company and see if they can provide any insight?

I thought it was in the NEC but it might just list something like "as close as possible" or something similar.

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230.70 (1) Readily Accessible Location. The service disconnecting

means shall be installed at a readily accessible location

either outside of a building or structure or inside nearest the

point of entrance of the service conductors.

That's open to a little bit of interpretation and some local AHJ rules, but I think 15' would exceed any of those. And then there's this...

230.72 Grouping of Disconnects.

(A) General. The two to six disconnects as permitted in

230.71 shall be grouped. Each disconnect shall be marked

to indicate the load served.

So the basement one is 99.99% likely to be wrong (I would leave it to the seller/electrician to provide a reference otherwise). And the ungrouped one in the kitchen is even wrongerer (technical term). If the guy's really a sparky and he wants to sell his house,...well, the fix shouldn't be that difficult. However, I'm not so sure that I would want this particular guy doing any more work on my new house!

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When I went back to pick up the radon equipment the (electrician) owner was there. He asked about the inspection and I told him about my concern with the panels locations and not having a single main disconnect close to the service entrance. He siad "Dosen't the meter count as a single disconnect". He must not do mush residential electrical work...

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Actually sounds like someone that does not know what a disconnect is or proper safety procedures. The requirements for a disconnect are the same for commercial.

Pulling a meter is not a disconnect in the eyes of the NEC, nor is pulling one under a load safe.

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In a way, it can translate into a disconnect because the circuit can be opened by pulling the meter out, but code-wise, no. I think this may explain what was going on inside that electrician's head. A few shorted circuits in there maybe.[;)]

Marc

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  • 3 months later...

If this is a single family house then there is already an issue with "Grouping" of disconnects. The meter is not a disconnect.

There is no hard and steadfast rule for the distance within a home that the disconnect needs to be one it enters the structure. That is subjective to the AHJ. I have routinely allowed 10' or more if there were plumbing/mechanical equipment in the way and the service conductors were kept in conduit.

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Not one of you mentioned 'why' this is a problem...

Our entire profession should be aware of 'why' something should be the way it is 'supposed to be'..

So.. who knows 'the why' of this? :)

The only device protecting the SE cables is the fuse on the utility transformer. That same fuse usually powers other homes also so it's a big fuse of the super-lag variety. Shorting out that SE cable can release enough energy to vaporize a considerable amount of metal and the flash can seriously burn any persons nearby.

Maybe it's politics but the enforcement authority doesn't want to force contractors to install a main disconnect at the entry to a building so instead they say to protect it with conduit and keep it as short as possible.

If you install an indoor main panel further away from the point of entry than the AHJ thinks was necessary, he may say something. If you've tried in earnest to keep it as short as possible, he may be sympathetic.

Marc

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Not one of you mentioned 'why' this is a problem...

Our entire profession should be aware of 'why' something should be the way it is 'supposed to be'..

So.. who knows 'the why' of this? :)

I always thought it was so the fire department can find it easly if there is a problem.

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