Mounting height of circuit breakers

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hornetd

Senior Member
Location
Maryland
I hope it is all right to repost archived post that are not fully answered.
In one of the archived postings Doug Munsey;
Email: dmunsey@sunwestelect.com
Location: California
Title: Estimator project manager
In Trade Since: 1997
Registered: Feb. 2003
Total Posts: 1
posted February 17, 2003 at 07:48 PM; Wrote
We have a 350kw stand-by emergency generator set with a 500 gallon skid mounted fuel tank. The main circuit breaker is at seven foot to center above finished floor. Our question is: Does this violate the NEC? If so, should generator set manufacture provided access to said main circuit breaker? Or, does code allow an authorized personal to use a ladder to reset the main circuit breaker?
One of the replies was by
Russel Miller
Email: senergy4@earthlink.net
Location: Illinois
Title: Electrician/Elect Inspector
In Trade Since: 1972
Registered: Jul. 2002
Total Posts: 166
posted February 17, 2003 at 08:33 PM
who Wrote;
This would also apply.

Article 380.8. Accessibility and Grouping.
All switches and circuit breakers used as switches shall be so located that they may be operated from a readily accessible place. They
shall be installed so that the center of the grip of the operating handle of the switch or circuit breaker, when in its highest position, will
not be more than 6 ft 7 in. (2.0 m) above the floor or working platform.
Exception No. 1: Switches installed adjacent to motors, appliances, or other equipment that they supply shall be permitted to be
located higher than specified in the foregoing and to be accessible by portable means.
Exception No. 2: Hookstick operable isolating switches shall be permitted at greater heights.
This issue has come up before for me in other contexts. Am I correct in believing that circuit breakers that are not being used as switches need only be accessible rather than readily accessible? Is it reasonable to say as one inspector did that all circuit breakers are used as switches when servicing the protected wiring? The issue in that case was the addition of an enclosed breaker to a very crowded electrical closet to serve as the feeder OCPD for a panel located elsewhere. An informal appeal to his chief inspector got the job signed off but that does not mean he was wrong.
What do others here think about circuit breaker handles located higher than 6'6".
--
Tom
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
Re: Mounting height of circuit breakers

Tom, I would see a problem if the generator had an E-STOP located this high.

As far as the breaker,( purely for OCP and not a switch) if a condition occured where the breaker opened, I don't think the hieght would be a major concern. I mean there would be some investigating to do anyways. IMHO

Roger
 

Nick

Senior Member
Re: Mounting height of circuit breakers

I have run into this too. It is generally accepted that it applies to all circuit breakers and I plan accordingly to avoid problems. However, the literal text of the code is up to interpretation. Circuit breakers used as switches is the key here. Nowhere in the definition of a circuit breaker does it refer to it as a switch. A circuit breaker does meet the definition of a general use switch. But are they used as a switch? I don?t know the answer.
 

russ

Senior Member
Location
Burbank IL
Re: Mounting height of circuit breakers

The disconnect in this situation, is not for the generator in the sense that it is a shut off.
It would probably be for the conductors going back to the transfer switch. If 7ft is not too high, is 10ft or 20ft. I realize there are exceptions to the 6ft7in rule but I don't think this qualifies.

Russ
 

hornetd

Senior Member
Location
Maryland
Re: Mounting height of circuit breakers

Originally posted by russ:
The disconnect in this situation, is not for the generator in the sense that it is a shut off.
It would probably be for the conductors going back to the transfer switch. If 7ft is not too high, is 10ft or 20ft. I realize there are exceptions to the 6ft7in rule but I don't think this qualifies.

Russ
If that is true then an an HVAC fan coil unit mounted in a ceiling would have to have it's disconnecting means located within 6'6" of the floor below. A breaker installed at those units to comply with the tap rules would also need to be located below the ceiling. Am I missing something here.
--
Tom
 

russ

Senior Member
Location
Burbank IL
Re: Mounting height of circuit breakers

Tom:
The situation your talking about is clearly referd to in 404.8 Exception #2. I don't feel this main that protects the load side conductors, fits the same description. I think this is more like a service disconnecting means, 230.70.

Russ
 

charlie

Senior Member
Location
Indianapolis
Re: Mounting height of circuit breakers

This is a good post and is of great value to me. A proposal (10-67 in italics) has been made as follows:

240.24 Location in or on Premises.
(A) Accessibility.
Overcurrent devices shall be readily accessible and shall be installed so that the center of the grip of the operating handle of the switch or circuit breaker. when in its highest position. is not more than 2.0 m (6 ft 7 in.) above the floor or working platform unless one of the following applies:

From the discussion in this thread, I have decided to change my vote. I am still on the fence a little but will work with the rest of the panel during the comment stage. As proposed, this would apply to all circuit breakers, not just the ones used as switches. After the ROP is available, if you have strong feelings and solid reasons for disagreement, please submit a comment to let the panel know. Instead of just complaining, this makes you part of the Code making process.
 
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