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  1. #1
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    Default main service breaker not accessable

    hey guys

    long time

    Did an inspection on 1973 home and the main service disconnect was in a panel that the deck would not let me access. An electricians letter from 2010 said because of this he added a panel above with house breakers in it. is this legal--the new panel has neutral and grounds seperated but does it meet the six hand movement--or is it required to have access to main

    thanks

    cvf

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    hey guys

    long time

    Did an inspection on 1973 home and the main service disconnect was in a panel that the deck would not let me access. An electricians letter from 2010 said because of this he added a panel above with house breakers in it. is this legal--the new panel has neutral and grounds seperated but does it meet the six hand movement--or is it required to have access to main

    thanks

    cvf
    Hey there cvf,

    Not trying to be acerbic or snarky (ok, maybe a little bit snarky), but this seems obvious to me. Wouldn't YOU want to get to the main breaker without having to dismantle the deck? I sure would.

    I think the section below from the 2014 NEC pretty much covers it. The 2005 NEC says essentially the same thing. While these are not from the '70s, I can't imagine it has changed.


    110.26 Spaces About Electrical Equipment. Access and working space shall be provided and maintained about all electrical equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment.



    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh, looky here. I found this in the 1897 NEC. Granted, it's more of a suggestion...

    In laying out an installation, except for constant-current systems, the work should, if possible, be started from a center of distribution, and the switches and cut-outs, controlling and connected with the several branches, be grouped together in a safe and easily accessible place, where they can be readily got at for attention or repairs. The load should be divided as evenly as possible among the branches, and all complicated and unnecessary wiring avoided.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Yes sir ... all ... ALL ... overcurrent devices (which includes the main service disconnect and its overcurrent protection, which is usually a single device) are required to be be accessible to the occupants and must meet working space requirements.

    Jerry Peck
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    thanks gunnar and jerry

    Jerry do you know what section that is in--have to go back out tomorrow for radon pick up and seller will be there--and want to hand him section

    thanks

    cvf


  5. #5
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    To clarify what I was saying:

    IF they had left the main service disconnect - the service equipment - where it was (and still is) and had added a second disconnect, the second disconnect would not be "the" "main service disconnect", the disconnect blocked by the deck would still be the main service disconnect.

    The service entrance conductors would still be the service entrance conductors feeding the main service disconnect (the one blocked by the deck), and feeders would be feeding the second disconnect.

    The neutral (grounded conductor) would still be grounded at the main service disconnect (the one blocked by the deck) and the neutral at the second disconnect would be isolated from ground.

    At first thought, all they did was to complicate the issue by adding that breaker panel with all those breakers in it, but in reality, they didn't "complicate" anything ... nor did they solve anything ... they just did a lot of work for nothing (nothing other than convenience as that newer breaker panel does add a convenience factor, but nothing else.

    The electrical contractor who did the work and wrote that letter apparently did not fully understand the issue with the deck blocking the service equipment and main service disconnect.

    Jerry Peck
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Jerry

    here is the letter the electrician wrote to current seller when job was done in 2007--so they told me everything is ok--i wrote it up that main disconnect was not accessible and there are more then six breaker throws in accessible panel and they need a licensed electrician to repair.--am i right in that write up

    thanks cvf

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    i wrote it up that main disconnect was not accessible and there are more then six breaker throws in accessible panel and they need a licensed electrician to repair.--am i right in that write up
    Charlie,

    That letter from the electrical contractor mentions a 'wedge' in the deck floor and that it is 'time consuming' to remove.

    If the 'wedge' was a full size opening which included steps down to the ground so one could stand in front of the service equipment panel, and the level working space was 30" wide by 36" in front of, and the stairs were outside that working space ... that might work ... I say "might work" as that that space down to the ground might be more similar to a manhole, and the requirements for working in a manhole are likely more restrictive (I'd have to look up those requirements - maybe Jim Port will be able to answer that.

    I won't bother saying anything about the newer panel and more than 6 disconnects (unless there are things you found wrong in that panel) as that panel doesn't alter the conditions of the service equipment panel.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 03-30-2019 at 08:02 PM. Reason: Speelin'
    Jerry Peck
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    thanks gunnar and jerry

    Jerry do you know what section that is in--have to go back out tomorrow for radon pick up and seller will be there--and want to hand him section
    What was wrong with the section I posted?

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    What was wrong with the section I posted?
    Charlie,

    Start with what Gunnar posted 110.26, then go into the more specifics of it in 110.26(A), etc., as the details (dimensions) are in there, such as: level working space; with in front of the equipment; depth in front of the equipment; minimum headroom; what is allowed above the equipment; what is allowed below the equipment.

    If you have a copy of the NEC, copy those pages. If you don't have a copy and use the free source online (which they intentionally make NOT user friendly - including not being able to print) ... bring up those sections, use the 'print screen' key to copy what's on your computer screen, paste that into Word, an email, many choices, then print those sections.

    Jerry Peck
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Exactly what is going on here is not clear. You say that an outbuilding is fed with a separate service that also feeds circuits to the main structure, which has its' own meter and (un-accessible) service disconnect. Does this mean the outbuilding has a separate meter and service disconnect that has branch circuits feeding the main structure, or that the service on the structure feeds a panel on the outbuilding that has circuits that run back to the main structure?

    If both structures have a separate meter and disconnect those are separate services serving the same structure and are prohibited by the NEC unless certain exception are met, and by Xcel Energy, the local POCO.

    Or, does the outbuilding have the only meter and service disconnect and it feeds the main structure?

    Where is the 60 AMP breaker?

    Taken literally, the access required for a service disconnect would preclude anything "difficult to remove or open" blocking the access. This includes whatever this "wedge" is.

    A couple more pics and a sketch would really help here.

    Finally, if you guys are going to be doing sparktrickery inspections I'd suggest you invest in a NEC handbook. It includes drawings that sort out a number of things. The electronic version is a PDF document that allows searching. Many POCOs have PDF documents available that outline their service standards which apply up to the "point of service connection" in most jurisdictions.

    Charlie, in your area, Arvada is still on 2014 NEC from what I CAN SEE ON LINE and they have a couple of local amendments to the NEC

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Bill,

    I didn't see anything about an outbuilding, but I may have missed that.

    However, if it is an outbuiling, it is not required (by the NEC) to be fed from the the other structure.

    Jerry Peck
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    bill no outbuilding--and not doing a sparky inspection just vanilla home inspection--but that include service entry inspection--licensed sparky going tomorrow

    cvf


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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Outbuilding was my error- missed the similar thread note. What I get for glossing over stuff.

    But, my concern was that the main structure was being fed by its' own service as well as circuits from the outbuilding, which ain't kosh.

    Which is all a mute point here.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    Which is all a mute point here.
    Moot point.

    A moot point is an issue that is no longer practically applicable.

    A mute point is a point that can't talk.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    A mute point is a point that can't talk.
    Or one that has chosen to exercise its right to remain silent.

    Jerry Peck
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    I hate car correct.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Sparky wrote it up for no access and more then 6 breakers--and obviously no proper permit--he is fixing

    thanks guys for your help


  18. #18
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    Sparky wrote it up for no access and more then 6 breakers--and obviously no proper permit--he is fixing

    thanks guys for your help
    That contractor will do what he will do, but ... for the record (based on the information given in this thread) ... the 'more than six breakers' is not an issue being as there is a main service disconnect down there blocked by the deck.

    The 'no access' issue is a different issue and if that is addressed by making access, then that is what needs to be addressed.

    If the 'more than six breakers' is addressed without addressing the service equipment blocked by the deck, then the same 'no access' issue remains as there two ways to correct that: 1) make proper access; 2) relocate that service equipment elsewhere so that there is access. But if that is done, then there is still no 'more than six breakers' issue.

    But it's that electrical contractor and his license, I have nothing to do with it other to point out the obvious (which it seems the electrical contractor has missed - again, based on the information available here).

    Jerry Peck
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    jerry

    what i was told is that they cut an access door on deck and the sparky was then able to get to main breaker, he was then going to move the 100 amp main up to breaker panel above. the last sparky should have done that to begin with

    thanks

    cvf


  20. #20
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    ... going to move the 100 amp main up to breaker panel above. the last sparky should have done that to begin with
    Charlie,

    Moving the main service disconnect up to the other panel would make that other panel the service equipment panel with the main service disconnect, which would solve the issue, provided they do it correctly (i.e., the conductors from the original service equipment location to the new service equipment are now service entrance conductors and no longer feeder conductors, they need to be treated as service entrance conductors, which should be easy enough to do).

    Sounds like the previous inspector caught it right, but the previous electrical contractor did not address it correctly - you caught it again, and the second electrical contractor sounds like they will be correcting it properly.

    Job well done, Mr. "vanilla home inspection" Inspector.

    Vanilla is a spice ... that adds spice to the home inspection.

    Jerry Peck
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: main service breaker not accessable

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    hey guys

    long time

    Did an inspection on 1973 home and the main service disconnect was in a panel that the deck would not let me access. An electricians letter from 2010 said because of this he added a panel above with house breakers in it. is this legal--the new panel has neutral and grounds seperated but does it meet the six hand movement--or is it required to have access to main

    thanks

    cvf
    The clear working space requirement in front of the panel is infringed upon by the deck and should be addressed. Moving it to a proper location allowing the proper 30"x36" access from top to bottom is needed.


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