A/C non fused disconnect clearances.

mragano

Member
Location
Chicago, IL
I am having a problem with a local inspector about A/C disconnect clearance. On multi family homes where there are condensers side by side with disconnects on the wall behind the units. He wants 30" width clearances and 36" clearance in front .(110.26) NEC 2014. This makes it very difficult and homeowner associations don't like me moving condenser that far out. Other town inspectors only want the disconnect to be accessible. Any help or guidance would be appreciated.Thank You
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
110.26 requires the distances for equipment "likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance whiel energized". In my experience , a vast majority of inspectors fell the disconnects fall under that category.
It is an inspectors call but I would side with him.

Your profile indicates you are in the HVAC business. Have you never checked the disconnects for voltage ?
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
This is an application where interpretation varies from place to place.

Though it may be a little simpler or convenient to install that way the disconnect doesn't need to be behind the unit if you have AHJ that don't allow it. If the HVAC guys put multiple units right next to one another - they didn't do themselves any favors when it comes to servicing them, but you still can put disconnecting means off to the side so they are not behind the units. Labeling becomes a greater necessity when it isn't so obvious which one goes to which unit.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
Here in NJ 110.26 does not apply to AC unit disconnects. IMO this is very dumb. Just last week I was testing one by checking the disco for power. :slaphead:
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Here in NJ 110.26 does not apply to AC unit disconnects. IMO this is very dumb. Just last week I was testing one by checking the disco for power. :slaphead:
I have checked voltage in many places that don't have 110.26 clearance, should apply to everything that allows access to a conductor, right?
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
I have checked voltage in many places that don't have 110.26 clearance, should apply to everything that allows access to a conductor, right?

Here's the section, whether or not this applies to everything is something that we can argue about all day. In reference to a disconnect switch for an AC unit IMO it's very clear.

Now if you want to remove the 30" and 36" requirements we can leave it up to the inspector to decide if it meets the bold section without the required clearance. :)

I think that we have all agreed at one time or another that this section is horribly written and in many cases cannot be enforced according to the actual wording.

110.26 Spaces About Electrical Equipment. Access and working space shall be provided and maintained about all
electrical equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment.
(A) Working Space. Working space for equipment operating at 600 volts, nominal, or less to ground and likely to
require examination
, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized shall comply with the dimensions of
110.26(A)(1), (A)(2), and (A)(3) or as required or permitted elsewhere in this Code.
 

MAC702

Senior Member
Location
Clark County, NV
The panel of the HVAC equipment itself is more in need of this requirement than the disco. Half the ones I do are insufficient, even ignoring the actual measurement.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Here's the section, whether or not this applies to everything is something that we can argue about all day. In reference to a disconnect switch for an AC unit IMO it's very clear.

Now if you want to remove the 30" and 36" requirements we can leave it up to the inspector to decide if it meets the bold section without the required clearance. :)

I think that we have all agreed at one time or another that this section is horribly written and in many cases cannot be enforced according to the actual wording.
Exactly what my point was. CMP apparently can't see that it is horribly written or has no idea how to rewrite it to show their intent so they have left it mostly the same for decades.
 

mragano

Member
Location
Chicago, IL
A/C Service Technician

A/C Service Technician

Thank you all for the great responses. As a service tech I agree that the clearances at the A/C electrical panel is more important than the disconnect switch which normal is just used to shut off power.
 

Cow

Senior Member
Location
Eastern Oregon
If the nonfused AC disconnect was replaced with a properly sized HP rated toggle switch in a WP enclosure, would everyone still feel it would need the 110.26 working clearances?
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
If the nonfused AC disconnect was replaced with a properly sized HP rated toggle switch in a WP enclosure, would everyone still feel it would need the 110.26 working clearances?
I personally feel neither one should require clearance, but also think if your AHJ sees it as requiring clearance one way then to be consistent they should see it that way for both.
 

jeremy.zinkofsky

Senior Member
Location
nj
I personally feel neither one should require clearance, but also think if your AHJ sees it as requiring clearance one way then to be consistent they should see it that way for both.
"While Energized" is the key phrase. This requirement goes away if you de-energize the circuit. So, if you can convince the inspector that the equipment will never be worked on while energized then you may ignore the clearances. A dedicated equipment clearance is still required though.
 

jap

Senior Member
"While Energized" is the key phrase. This requirement goes away if you de-energize the circuit. So, if you can convince the inspector that the equipment will never be worked on while energized then you may ignore the clearances. A dedicated equipment clearance is still required though.
Good luck with that.

Especially seeing as how the Panels feeding the disconnects are more than likely located in the individual tenant spaces of the Multi-Family dwelling.


JAP>
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
"While Energized" is the key phrase. This requirement goes away if you de-energize the circuit. So, if you can convince the inspector that the equipment will never be worked on while energized then you may ignore the clearances. A dedicated equipment clearance is still required though.
Is dedicated equipment clearance required for a disconnect?
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
"While Energized" is the key phrase. This requirement goes away if you de-energize the circuit. So, if you can convince the inspector that the equipment will never be worked on while energized then you may ignore the clearances. A dedicated equipment clearance is still required though.
Yes it a key phrase, and as worded if I want to take a voltage reading at a splice in a junction box - I may just need that clearance.

How many HVAC units don't have this clearance in front of any electrical control compartments of the unit, whether it be simple contactor and nothing else in there vs VFD's and other complex controls?

Even if you have a nearby disconnect that does meet the clearance requirements, you very well will troubleshoot that thing at times while energized.

Even no live work policies still need to take voltage readings to confirm there is no voltage before other work can continue.
 

jeremy.zinkofsky

Senior Member
Location
nj
Is dedicated equipment clearance required for a disconnect?
I personally would say no as the code specifically calls out switchboards, switchgear, panelboards, and MCCs. However, the exception creates grey area for disconnects. I have been dinged in the past by AHJ interpretation and almost always apply this rule to all electrical equipment that has a hinged cover or deadfront.
 
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