Article 225.36 proposal

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Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Here is my proposal and substantiation-- what say you??? The red is what I added.


225.36 Suitable for Service Equipment. The disconnecting means specified in 225.31 shall be suitable for use as service equipment.
Exception: For garages and outbuildings on residential property, a snap switch, or a set of 3-way or 4-way snap switches, or other approved non service rated disconnect shall be permitted as the disconnecting means.
Here is my substantiation

As this section is written I can run a multiwire branch circuit to a dwelling garage and use a DP snap switch as a disconnect but I can be rejected for using a non-fused disconnect such as an a/c pullout style disconnect. These a/c disconnects are not usually service rated. Why would a disconnect need to be service rated if one can use a snap switch? This proposal will help clarify what I believe to be the intent of this section. I realize this may seem petty but I know of a few people who have been rejected for this install.
 

Smart $

Esteemed Member
Slightly reworded...
Exception: A general duty disconnect or switch, such as a snap switch, or a set of 3-way or 4-way snap switches, shall be permitted as the disconnecting means for garages and outbuildings on residential property.
???
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Slightly reworded...


???
Too late I sent mine in.. :p Send it in and see what happens-- it may be better wording. I don't really see the need to have service rated in any case as long as the disconnects can be used appropriately.
 

rbalex

Moderator
Staff member
Assuming all other rules for multi-wire branch circuits remain intact, I would suggest simplifying the Exception:

Exception: For garages and outbuildings on residential property.
Delete all the following text as extraneous to the intent of the primary rule and avoid creating a neverending list of special exceptions.

I don't do residential - so I won't be sending this in on my own.;)
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Assuming all other rules for multi-wire branch circuits remain intact, I would suggest simplifying the Exception:

Delete all the following text as extraneous to the intent of the primary rule and avoid creating a neverending list of special exceptions.

I don't do residential - so I won't be sending this in on my own.;)
I actually had that originally but thought otherwise since they used 3 way and 4 ways. If you eliminate the 3 way then I could see someone saying that a 3 way is not a disconnect since someone can turn it on from a remote location. It would simplify it.
 

rbalex

Moderator
Staff member
I actually had that originally but thought otherwise since they used 3 way and 4 ways. If you eliminate the 3 way then I could see someone saying that a 3 way is not a disconnect since someone can turn it on from a remote location. It would simplify it.
With respect to the thread that inspired this Proposal, it was a classic case of unintended consequences and improperly over-ruling defined terms in the Exception's text. As I mentioned in some other thread, this would have been a good application of the true meaning of the “responsibility”clause in Section 90.4 by accepting the installation and issuing a “special permission” if really necessary as granting equivalent safety. However, since some take the Code as nearly “divinely inspired,” even if it gets revised every three years or so, I have the following observations.

The problem is 3-ways and 4-ways ­­aren't disconnecting means within the definition in Article 100. So technically they can’tbe permitted as a disconnecting means even if they were suitable for the intended purpose in the residential property Exception.

What the Exception should do is describe the “intended purpose” for residential applications rather than attempt to list all the acceptable devices. Something like:

Exception: For residential property means shall be provided by which the conductors of the circuit within detached garages and outbuildings can be disconnected from their source of supply.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
However, since some take the Code as nearly ?divinely inspired,? even if it gets revised every three years or so, I have the following observations.
The problem (IMPO) is not that some us think that the code is 'divinely inspired' it is that some of us that have to bid work to get the work, want equal and consistent enforcement from the large number of inspectors we deal with.

It is hardly fair if inspector X gives special permission for something like this and inspector Z does not. Lets just enforce what is written and if it is written wrong lets change it.
 

rbalex

Moderator
Staff member
The problem (IMPO) is not that some us think that the code is 'divinely inspired' it is that some of us that have to bid work to get the work, want equal and consistent enforcement from the large number of inspectors we deal with.

It is hardly fair if inspector X gives special permission for something like this and inspector Z does not. Lets just enforce what is written and if it is written wrong lets change it.
Believe me, I'm sympathetic. But the problem is even more fundamental than that. As I mentioned in my referenced post, English ambiguity will always create the problem you mention. However, an even deeper issue is the common 90.4 mentality that basically comes across as "I can make the Code mean just about anything I want it to mean because I'm the AHJ and unless you're willing to go to court over it - I win." [With general exception to the broad membership of this forum, of course ;) Unfortnately, even if it applied to 100% of the membership, it's a pitifully small percentage of the total.]

Also as I've mentioned before, show me the statute that puts the "A" in AHJ, and I'll show you somewhere in that same statute or a superior one that absolves the AHJ and its representatives from any personal liabilities from any of their activities that are short of being outright illegal.

Having done a healthy number of South American, European, Asian and African projects, I prefer the international model where inspection "inspects and informs" rather than "inspects and enforces." Enforcement is by those parties that actually hold liability in the installation, owners, design professionals, installers, insurers, etc. Those same entities hold liability in the US domestic system too, even to the point of potential incarceration but they have virtually no reasonable ability to override an improper or excessive interpretation. NOTE: I'm fully aware that several of the foreign locations have no inspection at all, but it still doesn't relieve the liability holders.
 

LWFLASH

Member
What's wrong with the breaker in the panel, it disconnects the circuit from the power

What's wrong with the breaker in the panel, it disconnects the circuit from the power

With respect to the thread that inspired this Proposal, it was a classic case of unintended consequences and improperly over-ruling defined terms in the Exception's text. As I mentioned in some other thread, this would have been a good application of the true meaning of the ?responsibility?clause in Section 90.4 by accepting the installation and issuing a ?special permission? if really necessary as granting equivalent safety. However, since some take the Code as nearly ?divinely inspired,? even if it gets revised every three years or so, I have the following observations.

The problem is 3-ways and 4-ways **aren't disconnecting means within the definition in Article 100. So technically they can?tbe permitted as a disconnecting means even if they were suitable for the intended purpose in the residential property Exception.

What the Exception should do is describe the ?intended purpose? for residential applications rather than attempt to list all the acceptable devices. Something like:

Exception: For residential property means shall be provided by which the conductors of the circuit within detached garages and outbuildings can be disconnected from their source of supply.

What's wrong with the breaker in the panel, it disconnects the circuit from the power????? Why is the code, inspectors and people making this complicated it is not that hard.
LWFLASH
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
The difference , from what I understand, between service rated and service rated only is the service rated only is a disconnect with a neutral that is permanently connected to the can. Now what makes a disconnect service rated-- I don't know.

The bigger question is why does the panel need to be service rated.
 

renosteinke

Senior Member
I have no problem with the idea of an ordinary switch being used, within its' ratings, as a disconnection means. Yet, I do have some concerns with a 'carte blanche' acceptance of any switch, anywhere.

My first concern is with using 3 and 4-way switches as a disconnection means. That means you need to lock out ALL switches for the circuit to be safe- not just one. Nor, obviously, do the switches indicate 'off' or 'on' as a rule.

Ordinary snap switches are fine in principle, but we should note that they are quite often rated at far less then the circuit ampacity. It's quite common to find 10-amp switches on 20-amp circuits. Having deliberately placed switches on larger loads, I can categorically state that they are quite able to fail in the 'on' position.

Now, perhaps there is room to allow the use of HVAC disconnects for use as disconnects for detached buildings. These are not considered as 'service equipment,' as there is not usually any termination provisions for the neutral wire. Yet, you can readily find 60-amp disconnects, complete, for about $12. That's quite competitive with an ordinary switch and a Bell box.
 
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