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  1. #1
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    Default Main disconnect breakers

    I saw a configuration on a main electrical service panel that I haven't seen before. The main disconnect breakers were red and were 125 Amp breakers. They were positioned verticaly one over the other with no pole between the breakers to connect them. Is this a 125 or 250 Amp service? The size of the service wire leads me to believe it is a 250 Amp Service.
    Is there a code issue with the breakers not being connected? What brand are the red breakers, I don't take covers off main service panels at the meter which contain only the main disconects.


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    Last edited by Tom Rees; 04-26-2008 at 09:40 AM. Reason: Verbage
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    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Main disconnect breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rees View Post
    I don't take covers off main service panels at the meter which contain only the main disconects.
    Why not?

    That would have answered your question, or at least have given us more information to help answer it.

    However, yes, the main service disconnect is required to be configured such that all power from all service entrance conductors are removed (disconnected) simultaneously. That is usually done with an internal common trip mechanism, however, proper and approved handle ties are also used, typically, on the mains, they are either factor installed ties, or internal common trip.

    With two separate breakers installed as you described them, there would be no internal common trip and on external tie, plus, one of them would be operating 'backward', i.e., one would be 'on' in the up position (which is right) and one would be 'on' in the down position (which is not allowed).

    No photo even with the dead front cover on?

    Again, though, why do you not remove those covers? Just wondering what your reason is. You could be missing so many things in there.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Main disconnect breakers

    Jerry, I don't know how things are in your area but here the power company puts wire tags on these so they cannot be opened. Let me clarify- I'm not talking about a main service panel with all the breakers to the house in it or a sub-panel, I'm talking about the exterior main panel adjacent to the meter.which contains only the main disconnects. I am not going to cut off the power company's tag.

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Main disconnect breakers

    It is allowable to have up to 6 breakers in a Service Panel before a central disconnect is required. The 6 or less are not required to be tied together so long as the operator can shut off all power with no more than 6 hand motions.

    Since you did not mention any more than the two breakers or fuses in the panel and there is no photo, that is all I can add at this time for you about that.

    I elect to remove Service Panel dead front covers because there is almost always issues inside but some around here use the lame argument that unless one is licensed as an electrician there is some regulation that does not allow them to do that. They have yet to produce the regulation however.

    The covers on the meter panel boxes around here are sealed by the utility and not open able. These are separate from the Service Panel box.

    Are you sure about that the disconnects being in the meter panel? Service Disconnects need to be readily accessible so cannot be in a sealed, blocked or locked panel, for emergency access reasons.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Main disconnect breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rees View Post
    I'm talking about the exterior main panel adjacent to the meter.which contains only the main disconnects.
    Tom,

    Would you post a photo of one of those?

    I've never seen one in which the meter was not separately enclosed (and sealed off as you state) from the main disconnect section which is not sealed off and has a removable cover.

    I've seen many(thousands) of ones like you describe with the meter and main disconnect in the same enclosure, just not one which did not have the two sections separated with the main disconnect part accessible - would be interesting to see a photo of what you are describing in which the main disconnect section is not accessible.

    Thanks.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Main disconnect breakers

    The next time I make a new thread I will include a picture and describe situation as best I can. I am not getting the situation across properly.

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Main disconnect breakers

    Jerry I think I agree with you on this one I think he was seeing though there were no potos or the age? What he might have seen was a home wired with a three phase system with one disconnect going to the 110v system and the other going to the 220v system.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Main disconnect breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rees View Post
    I am not getting the situation across properly.
    Not to worry, Tom, I'm easily confused.

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes the right few words make all the difference, no need for the other 990 words.

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Main disconnect breakers

    Jerry, I will take picture of what I mean and post it. Thanks for trying to help.

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

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