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Old 03-27-2013, 12:21 PM   #1
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UF Wire Acceptable for Aboveground Use


Short run from the disconnect to a condensing unit in a residence. Cable is noted as UF and Sunlight Resistant. Is this code acceptable (I'm in Virginia)? If not, what is an acceptable alternative? I'm going to have to rewire from my panel to this disconnect anyway, so it would not be a big deal to correct it. As far as I know, has been there 20+ years and shows no deterioration.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:18 PM   #2
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UF Wire Acceptable for Aboveground Use


Looks fine to me. UF is not to be installed where subject to physical damage. That's a judgement call for an inspector. But after 20 years that location has a pretty good track record.

Look on the nameplate of the condenser. That UF wire size has to comply with the Minimum Circuit Ampacity listing.

Design considerations:
Air conditioner guys like to see upsized wires for long power feeds. It's easier on the unit at start up, reduces the need for soft start kits.

I prefer to mount disconnects at least 18" above grade. It has to do with ground hugging humidity.

Now could someone tell me why working clearance is not enforced in front of AC disconnects?

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Old 03-27-2013, 02:41 PM   #3
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UF Wire Acceptable for Aboveground Use


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Originally Posted by Glennsparky View Post
Looks fine to me. UF is not to be installed where subject to physical damage. That's a judgement call for an inspector. But after 20 years that location has a pretty good track record.

Look on the nameplate of the condenser. That UF wire size has to comply with the Minimum Circuit Ampacity listing.

Design considerations:
Air conditioner guys like to see upsized wires for long power feeds. It's easier on the unit at start up, reduces the need for soft start kits.

I prefer to mount disconnects at least 18" above grade. It has to do with ground hugging humidity.

Now could someone tell me why working clearance is not enforced in front of AC disconnects?

It has to do with me not being able to get that far down anymore!
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:49 PM   #4
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UF Wire Acceptable for Aboveground Use


Getting down that far shouldn't be a problem.
It's getting back up again. :-)
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:16 PM   #5
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UF Wire Acceptable for Aboveground Use


If I was going to run a new line I think I would have use a flexable water tight whip instead.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:28 PM   #6
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UF Wire Acceptable for Aboveground Use


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That UF wire size has to comply with the Minimum Circuit Ampacity listing.
Wouldn't it just have to comply with the FLA / running current listing? MCA may be quite a bit larger.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:53 PM   #7
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UF Wire Acceptable for Aboveground Use


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Wouldn't it just have to comply with the FLA / running current listing?...
Nope. MCA is exactly what it says. The circuit size has to be able to carry a minimum of that many amps. It's some d^mn formula, like, 125% of the largest motor plus the draw of all the other bits and pieces added up.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:55 PM   #8
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UF Wire Acceptable for Aboveground Use


The disconnect is under a bank of windows and I had considered moving it when I re-do the run, a plan that is still in development. My real problem is that part of the run is frayed wiring (1959 vintage) sitting on the floor in my laundry room! I had never really taken a good look at it and no one who should have pointed it out did (i.e. inspector 20 years ago when I bought the house, HVAC guy who replaced my furnace and condensing unit 5 years ago).
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:28 PM   #9
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UF Wire Acceptable for Aboveground Use


I agree with joecaption on the whip. I'm much more comfortable with Carflex (Liquidtight Flexible NonMetallic Conduit) and individual conductors than UF.

If your happy with this unit (cold enough/humidity is right), I could run some numbers. I'd need: MCA, LRA, one way distance in feet, and confirm the unit is 240V only - two hots and a ground.

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