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Old 03-09-2009, 10:57 AM   #1
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Service Disconnect Height


At a local store (Menards West) in Appleton, WI. I noticed that there are 3 large (about 16"x24") panels with large knife disconnects on the side of them. They appear to feed some HVAC equipment.

The panels are about 20 feet about the ground. There is no walk way or areal work platform. To access the disconnects, you would need a lift or a long extension ladder.

I know the guy that works there in electrical, and we were talking about if it was legal and safe, I said I thought the service disconnects had to be accessible from the ground without a ladder (5'7") or accessible from a upper floor / permanent work platform.

Is that legal to have a disconnect so high and inaccessible?

Thanks
Jamie

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Old 03-09-2009, 11:48 AM   #2
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Service Disconnect Height


If the equipment that it disconnects is mounted up in the ceiling it is probably a good place to have the disconenct, right next to the equipment.

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Old 03-09-2009, 12:26 PM   #3
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Service Disconnect Height


The height requirement is 6'7", but like joed said, if it is adjacent to the equipment it serves, it is legal.
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:31 PM   #4
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Service Disconnect Height


Take note of the exceptions:


404.8 Accessibility and Grouping.

(A) Location.
All switches and circuit breakers used as switches shall be located so that they may be operated from a readily accessible place. They shall be installed such 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.

Exception No. 1: On busway installations, fused switches and circuit breakers shall be permitted to be located at the same level as the busway. Suitable means shall be provided to operate the handle of the device from the floor.

Exception No. 2: Switches and circuit breakers installed adjacent to motors, appliances, or other equipment that they supply shall be permitted to be located higher than 2.0 m (6 ft 7 in.) and to be accessible by portable means.

Exception No. 3: Hookstick operable isolating switches shall be permitted at greater heights.
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:46 AM   #5
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Service Disconnect Height


Quote:
Originally Posted by InPhase277 View Post
The height requirement is 6'7", but like joed said, if it is adjacent to the equipment it serves, it is legal.
Yes, it is fairly close to the piece of equipment that it presumable serves. Glad to know it is ok. It seemed a bit weird that you would have to go get a lift if there was an emergency and they (Hvac / blower) needed to be turned off.

I've noticed other things that I know are violations, like, lots of exposed Flex conduit. I can't see how it meets the Protected from physical damage requirement when I find that stuff down low just hanging around... It's kind of fun looking for electrical violations and really stupid stuff people have done. It is a good learning tool for me.

Thanks guys
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:44 AM   #6
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Service Disconnect Height


Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
Yes, it is fairly close to the piece of equipment that it presumable serves. Glad to know it is ok. It seemed a bit weird that you would have to go get a lift if there was an emergency and they (Hvac / blower) needed to be turned off.

I've noticed other things that I know are violations, like, lots of exposed Flex conduit. I can't see how it meets the Protected from physical damage requirement when I find that stuff down low just hanging around... It's kind of fun looking for electrical violations and really stupid stuff people have done. It is a good learning tool for me.

Thanks guys
Jamie
I am the same way. After 35 years in the trade, I nit pick every electrical installation I come across. Some for their beauty and compliance and some for the hack jobs they are.
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:07 PM   #7
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Service Disconnect Height


Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
Yes, it is fairly close to the piece of equipment that it presumable serves. Glad to know it is ok. It seemed a bit weird that you would have to go get a lift if there was an emergency and they (Hvac / blower) needed to be turned off.
Thing is, it is not an emergency shutoff. It is a service disconnect.

In an emergency you can go to the service equipment or MDP and shut off the breaker.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:44 PM   #8
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Service Disconnect Height


Why do some people think that in an actual emergency someone is actually going to shut a piece of equipment OFF? They are just going to run like hell.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:47 PM   #9
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Service Disconnect Height


Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post

I've noticed other things that I know are violations, like, lots of exposed Flex conduit. I can't see how it meets the Protected from physical damage requirement when I find that stuff down low just hanging around...

Thanks guys
Jamie

Well Jamie, if you want to define protected from physical damage for me, then we can argue all night long what you think should be protected.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:50 PM   #10
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Service Disconnect Height


What about flex conduit whips exposed near furnaces? Its not like I'm going to back a truck up into a furnace....

Lol, yeah, most people would get out of there...
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:56 PM   #11
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Service Disconnect Height


Quote:
They shall be installed such 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.


Is there a "lowest" position for the main? I have never seen anything on the NEC about this but I have not read the entire NEC book yet. Thanks for your time.
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:42 AM   #12
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Service Disconnect Height


Quote:
Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
Well Jamie, if you want to define protected from physical damage for me, then we can argue all night long what you think should be protected.
I'll make sure to take photos of some of the worst offenders next time I spot them. Just one example: I submit that bx / fmc whips dangling near a cash register is exposed to physical damage.

Jamie
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:44 AM   #13
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Service Disconnect Height


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bocolo View Post

Is there a "lowest" position for the main? I have never seen anything on the NEC about this but I have not read the entire NEC book yet. Thanks for your time.
My understanding is that there is none in a home. But there are in moblie homes.
Jamie
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Old 03-11-2009, 05:30 AM   #14
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Service Disconnect Height


Thanks Jamie.

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