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    Outside service disconnect required?

    We are going to wire a house where the main panel is mounted on an inside wall that is perpendicular to the outside wall where the meter base is mounted. This will require about 5 feet of service cable from the meter base to the panel. Normally in these circumstances we will mount a breaker enclosure on the outside wall for the primary service disconnecting means, and use a MLO panel inside.

    The homeowner does not want the disconnect on the outside of his house & said that we should not have to mount it anyway "since it's only 4 or 5 feet". I say that any conductors that are inside the structure are required to have overcurrent protection, but I cannot find an article in the NEC that clearly addresses this. Can anyone give me a specific citation?

    #2
    i just read that recently and if i remember correctly you can run up to 15' of unfused connectors within the building. Has to piped though, i think sch 80, not sure about that though

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      #3
      230.91 may be what you're looking for.
      "Appliances and wiring will burn out to protect fuses"

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        #4
        Originally posted by Hendrix View Post
        230.91 may be what you're looking for.
        No, that's not all you need. Start with 230.71. That deals with the service disconnecting means. It says you can have it indoors, if it is "nearest the point of entrance" of the conductors. The NEC does not give a limit for that distance. In my area, the limit is established by a state code, at 15 feet.


        Regarding overcurrent protection for the conductors from the meter to the indoor panel, if there is no breaker at the meter, then you can take credit for the main breaker in the panel. That main breaker can serve both as the overcurrent protection for the service conductors and as the service disconnecting means. That is how 230.91 comes into play.

        Welcome to the forum.
        Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
        Comments based on 2017 NEC unless otherwise noted.

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          #5
          Here we define "nearest the point of entrance" as "at the point of entrance", so you would be required to have an external disconnect.

          I would check with the AHJ in your area.
          I can build anything you want if you draw a picture of it on the back of a big enough check.

          [COLOR=red]There's no substitute for hard work....but that doesn't mean I'm going to give up trying to find one.[/COLOR]

          John Childress
          Electrical Inspector
          IAEI / CEI / C10
          Certified Electrical Inspector

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            #6
            Contact your AHJ some will allow it some wont if you are in an area that has no AHJ then I would say 5 ft would be OK the idea is to limit unfused wires in the dwelling.
            Those who can do, those who can't teach

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              #7
              The bottom line is your AHJ - mine will allow upwards of 40' depending on the general mood of the inspector at hand....
              [COLOR=blue]Electric heretic[/COLOR]
              [COLOR=white]It's always gonna be in the last place you look....[/COLOR]

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                #8
                The 5' rule is not in the code. It comes from common sense (don't shoot the messanger). Under a slab is out side the house, when you turn up into the slab you just "entered" 5' will get you to the breaker at the top of the panel. Therefore 5' has been the accepted measurement for the last 40 years iin Florida that I can rembember. 5' is allowed for back to back and thru the wall also so everybody is on the same page.
                Unlimited Electric Contractor/Standard Electric Inspector/Traffic Signal Inspector/Highway Lighting and Level One Traffic Signal Installer.

                I know you believe that you understand what you think I said but I'm sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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                  #9
                  Contact your AHJ some will allow it some wont
                  That's the answer you are looking for
                  Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of other members of this community. Do not misunderstand them as an encouragement to violate the NEC. Also, don't forget that the NEC is not necessarily the AHJ.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Cavie View Post
                    Therefore 5' has been the accepted measurement for the last 40 years in Florida that I can remember.
                    So Florida is the standard for the country? :grin:

                    I am with the 'consult you're local AHJ' crowd.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by e57 View Post
                      The bottom line is your AHJ - mine will allow upwards of 40' depending on the general mood of the inspector at hand....
                      deleted comment
                      Last edited by augie47; 11-16-09, 05:51 PM.
                      At my age, I'm accustomed to restaurants asking me to pay in advance, but now my bank has started sending me their calendar one month at a time.

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                        #12
                        No, that's not all you need. Start with 230.71. That deals with the service disconnecting means. It says you can have it indoors, if it is "nearest the point of entrance" of the conductors. The NEC does not give a limit for that distance. In my area, the limit is established by a state code, at 15 feet.
                        Exactly!!!!!!
                        [COLOR=#0000cd]Lost for words[/COLOR]

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                          #13
                          Thanks for the welcome & all of the constructive feedback!

                          This issue is certainly ambiguous in terms of getting a definitive resolution from the NEC. Some cities (like Dallas) require upstream overcurrent protection for all conductors within the confines of a structure, whereas others have varying limits within which upstream protection is not required.

                          This particular house is not in confines of any city's juristiction here in north Texas, so the AHJ will be the Texas Department of Licensing & Registration which adheres to the 2008 NEC with no amendments or qualifications. There will also not be an inspection since its not in the confines of a city. So I suppose I could get away with installing this service without an outside breaker enclosure, but I still don't like the idea.

                          Thanks again for all of your feedback.

                          Bob Daniel
                          Master Electrician
                          Hurst, TX

                          Comment


                            #14
                            My .02 - having numerous firemen in my family, they say it is safer for them to do their job during an emergency house call. Instead of pulling a live meter (most 200A are snap in while 400A are bolt in), all they have to do is turn outside breaker off. One less risk. What is the big deal with an ECB on house, heck it is not like you can hide the meter?

                            We install them on all houses and use SER (4 wire) service entrance cable.

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                              #15
                              In Chicago, were not allowed to put a disconnect on the outside!!!

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