Outside service disconnect required?

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bobd

Member
Location
Hurst, TX
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?
 

rwreuter

Senior Member
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
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
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.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
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.
 

Rewire

Senior Member
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.
 

Cavie

Senior Member
Location
SW Florida
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.
 

resistance

Senior Member
Location
WA
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!!!!!!
 

bobd

Member
Location
Hurst, TX
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
 

Santee

Member
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.
 

macmikeman

Senior Member
For me the disco is built into the meter can and it goes on the outside. If the customer doesn't want it outside...... he is allowed to not have electrical wiring in his home if he insists...........:cool:
 
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