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  1. #1
    Joe Nernberg's Avatar
    Joe Nernberg Guest

    Cool Maximum Number of Disconnects

    I want to know if I made an incorrect call. An electrical panel has no main disconnect and exceeds six circuit breakers (switches). A municipal building inspector told the Realtor that this was acceptable under exception 2 of article 408.16 of the NEC. This makes no sense to me. I recommended the panel for replacement. Can somebody help me understand or is the muni inspector wrong?

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  2. #2
    Leslie Stone's Avatar
    Leslie Stone Guest

    Default Re: Maximum Number of Disconnects

    I have never heard of any exception to the max-6 disconnect rule. I think he's wrong, unless its a sub-panel w/ a seperate disconnect in another panel somewhere. Unlesss he could show me in writing clear evidence as to why this particular panel would be an exception, I would stick to my guns and include it in my report as a violation of the NEC. If it means that much to him he can sign his own report and file it with whoever he wants, but you will not be liable.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Maximum Number of Disconnects

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Nernberg View Post
    I want to know if I made an incorrect call. An electrical panel has no main disconnect and exceeds six circuit breakers (switches). A municipal building inspector told the Realtor that this was acceptable under exception 2 of article 408.16 of the NEC. This makes no sense to me. I recommended the panel for replacement. Can somebody help me understand or is the muni inspector wrong?
    While there is an exception to the 'not more than six', that inspector is way off base on his code reference (because the other exceptions do not apply there).

    This is 408.16 from the 2002 NEC (408.16 is different in the 2005, it is now 408.36) states:
    (underlining and bold are mine)
    - 408.16 Overcurrent Protection.
    - - (A) Lighting and Appliance Branch-Circuit Panelboard Individually Protected. Each lighting and appliance branch-circuit panelboard shall be individually protected on the supply side by not more than two main circuit breakers or two sets of fuses having a combined rating not greater than that of the panelboard. (Jerry's note: This *IS NOT* "service equipment", this is "lighting and appliance" circuit panels only. This is saying that "each" lighting and appliance panel is required to have its own main.)
    - - - Exception No. 1: Individual protection for a lighting and appliance panelboard shall not be required if the panelboard feeder has overcurrent protection not greater than the rating of the panelboard. (Jerry's note: This is saying that 'oops, no main is required if the feeders are protected at the rating of the panel', i.e., say you have service equipment which has a 100 amp breaker which feeds the lighting and appliance panel which is rated for 100 amps or more. No harm, no foul, no main required in the panel - the *LIGHTING AND APPLIANCE* panel, that is.)
    - - - Exception No. 2: For existing installations, individual protection for lighting and appliance branch-circuit panelboards shall not be required where such panelboards are used as service equipment in supplying an individual residential occupancy. (Jerry's note: This is saying that if that lighting and appliance panel is used as "service equipment", provided it is rated for use as "service equipment", it might not be rated for that, and, if it is, it will say 'Rated For Use As Service Equipment' on it, and, that no "main" is required for this use - the main part of this section would have required a main for this panel when used for anything, Exception 1 says 'okay, no main is required if you protect the feeders, which is the same thing as protecting the panel, where Exception 2 says 'and you don't even need that feeder protection if this is used for service equipment in *EXISTING* installation.)

    But, nothing in there exempts the lighting and appliance panel from this:

    - 230.71 Maximum Number of Disconnects.
    - - (A) General. The service disconnecting means for each service permitted by 230.2, or for each set of service-entrance conductors permitted by 230.40, Exception Nos. 1, 3, 4, or 5, shall consist of not more than six switches or sets of circuit breakers, or a combination of not more than six switches and sets of circuit breakers, mounted in a single enclosure, in a group of separate enclosures, or in or on a switchboard. There shall be no more than six sets of disconnects per service grouped in any one location. For the purpose of this section, disconnecting means used solely for power monitoring equipment, or the control circuit of the ground-fault protection system or power-operable service disconnecting means, installed as part of the listed equipment, shall not be considered a service disconnecting means.

    Wait, what about that exception to the "not more than six" ... ?

    - - (B) Additional Service Disconnecting Means. The one or more additional service disconnecting means for fire pumps, for legally required standby, or for optional standby services permitted by 230.2 shall be installed remote from the one to six service disconnecting means for normal service to minimize the possibility of simultaneous interruption of supply. (Jerry's note: If you run into this, you would need to review 230.2, and the likelihood is that only the "Optional standby system" is one you would find. If you find this, then you also need to go to 702, Optional Standby Systems.)

    In short, that inspector is wrong.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Maximum Number of Disconnects

    Ask for it in writing with the code cite on the department letterhead. 99.9% chance it won't happen.

    Is that a Zinsco panel??

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
    Leslie Stone's Avatar
    Leslie Stone Guest

    Default Re: Maximum Number of Disconnects

    O.K. jerry...wow! I've been reading code books most of my adult life (I'm 41) and that one really hurt my head. There are so many words there it must be true. Did you get typer's cramp?

    Last edited by Leslie Stone; 10-04-2007 at 03:35 PM. Reason: misspell

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Maximum Number of Disconnects

    Quote Originally Posted by Leslie Stone View Post
    Did you get typer's cramp?
    I think Jerry's more of a copy-and-paste kind of guy. He's got all this stuff digitally stored and at his finger-tips as he sits at his multi-computer command center.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Maximum Number of Disconnects

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Jerry sits at his multi-computer command center.
    CODE HAMMER at the READY.

    Last edited by Billy Stephens; 10-04-2007 at 06:33 PM. Reason: SMILEY ADDED!!!
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Maximum Number of Disconnects

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    as he sits at his multi-computer command center.
    John,

    ... wait a minute John ...

    ... Roger that, Canaveral, I'll advise Houston that Discovery is on Pad 39A and being prepped ...

    ... sorry John, you were saying?



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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