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Thread: Service conductor length before needing a disconnect.

  1. #1
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    Service conductor length before needing a disconnect.

    Thursday April 12th I removed and replaced an old fuse box service. Because of the width of the new 100 amp 32 space panel I had to move it around the corner. So the SEC comes into the house and is infused for 22" between meter and panel. The inspector is calling for a disconnect to be installed. Amy arguments i could make? I mean it is less distance than a Sweep 90. or would I need to sleeve it in something. I was always told 3 feet of service cable into the house before needing a disconnect and have had other inspectors say 6 feet. Any input would be appreciated.
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    Code says "nearest the point of entrance" (230.70) so you are pretty much regulated by that Code jurisdiction's interpretation. You might ask if installing the conductors in a metallic wireway would make any difference. Often with that protection, a longer length is accepted.
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    If that is a service cable then why does it have 4 conductors? Looks like SER not SEU.

    If they are service conductors then I would agree with the inspector. Some areas have amendments that actually state the length of wire while others just use the somewhat ambiguous nec RULE.
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    Pretty much up to the AHJ. Around here it's 5 feet but that's usually running exposed in a basement. The fact that yours is buried in the wall is probably the reason for the concern. Since you already have SER it should be an easy change.

    -Hal

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    As mentioned it's a judgement call but I would probably allow it. I wouldn't allow the four conductor cable to be used as shown in the photo. You have a choice, either add the disconnect on the outside or change to a raceway and encase it in concrete.
    Rob

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    All responses based on the 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted

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    Quote Originally Posted by petchman5 View Post
    Thursday April 12th I removed and replaced an old fuse box service. Because of the width of the new 100 amp 32 space panel I had to move it around the corner. So the SEC comes into the house and is infused for 22" between meter and panel. The inspector is calling for a disconnect to be installed. Amy arguments i could make? I mean it is less distance than a Sweep 90. or would I need to sleeve it in something. I was always told 3 feet of service cable into the house before needing a disconnect and have had other inspectors say 6 feet. Any input would be appreciated.
    Since it is only 100 amp you can get a small panel to use as a disco. GE makes a 4ckt panel rated 125 amp for less then $30. It comes with a small square washer to use as a lock down, so the main is ok. Of course you will have to buy a 100 amp breaker also.

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    5 feet of conductor inside the building is the rule here. There are times when they might allow a little more - you better ask first though in those situations.

    Only thing wrong with using 4 wire cable like OP did is he essentially has a parallel neutral, assuming N and G are both connected in the meter. Disconnect the bare conductor (at least on one end) and nothing wrong with it. Still leaves a grounded "shield" if only connected at one end and shoulnd't be anything wrong with that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Alwon View Post
    If that is a service cable then why does it have 4 conductors? Looks like SER not SEU.

    If they are service conductors then I would agree with the inspector.
    Dennis you have good eyes, I didn't even notice that.
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    It would be nice to have a specified length written in the code for distance into a building.

    This has always been a crapshoot when it comes to what is allowable.Why for instance can't there simply be a length, period, end of discussion.

    A number of times I have installed a disco only to have the inspector say" you were fine with the length, you didn't need that switch outside.

    When working in a variety of municipalities, it's not practical call every inspector and ask what they will allow,

    2'
    3'
    4'
    Etc.

    Pick a number and that's that.

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    Washington state code explicitly states that the limit here is 15 feet. I don't know if MN has a similar code. Have you looked for applicable state codes?
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2017 NEC unless otherwise noted.

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