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Thread: HVAC Disconnect

  1. #1
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    Default HVAC Disconnect

    Gentlemen, your opinion matters.

    1972 townhome with condenser sitting on raised platform within 6' of main panel and breaker and easily accessible. The location of the breaker to the condenser would seem to satisfy disconnect requirements. Would recommending installing a separate disconnect between the panel and the condenser - possibly where the conduit connects to the box, be appropriate, not necessary or overkill?

    Thanks

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    Gentlemen, your opinion matters.

    1972 townhome with condenser sitting on raised platform within 6' of main panel and breaker and easily accessible. The location of the breaker to the condenser would seem to satisfy disconnect requirements. Would recommending installing a separate disconnect between the panel and the condenser - possibly where the conduit connects to the box, be appropriate, not necessary or overkill?

    Thanks
    Not required but is allowed. It is required to be clearly labeled and IF what I see is two separate single pole breakers with no handle tie for the condensor unit, that is wrong.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Not required but is allowed. It is required to be clearly labeled and IF what I see is two separate single pole breakers with no handle tie for the condensor unit, that is wrong.
    Actually Jim, it's a single 20amp breaker (upper right in the pic). The compressor is a small, 2 ton unit, installed in 2003ish and the existing breaker complies with the data plate. Are you saying it should be TWO 20 amp cbs tied together?
    Thanks for your input.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Ian,

    There are two 20 amp breakers separated by the water heater breaker.

    The two 20 amp breakers would make a 240 volt double pole breaker if the handles were tied together as required.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ian,

    There are two 20 amp breakers separated by the water heater breaker.

    The two 20 amp breakers would make a 240 volt double pole breaker if the handles were tied together as required.
    Duh, my bad...that's a case of looking and not seeing. Yep...that'll do it.
    What would you recommend re. the disconnect issue?

    Last edited by Ian Page; 07-06-2015 at 06:16 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    I hope you are a stucco inspector or know one. The bottom of the window in the picture may have issues.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Ian,

    If you keep it to a recommendation but not as something 'written up' in the report. HI's can, and should, make 'recommendations' for things they see which could be made better and which are not necessarily wrong at the time of the inspection.

    Is the disconnect for the condenser unit within 50 feet, within straight-line-of-sight, no obstructions?

    Is the disconnect beyond 50 feet, or not within a straight-line-of-sight, or there is an obstruction between the disconnect and the condensers unit - then it is no longer a 'recommendation', it becomes a written up item which needs to be corrected.

    Also, that was an FPE panel (as I recall, I don't have the photo still up), I'm not sure that FPE breakers were HACR rated.

    Jim Port or one of the other electricians may have that answer. The label on the condenser unit would have specified the use of either fuses or HACR breakers.

    If the FPE breakers are not HACR rated, that in itself is a reason to write up installing another disconnect.

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Per the 2012 IRC: Table E4101.5 DISCONNECTING MEANS - Air-conditioning condensing units and heat pump units- ALLOWABLE DISCONNECTING MEANS: A readily accessible disconnect within sight from unit as the only allowable means.

    My interpretation ( ANY disconnecting means be it breaker, pull-out fuse block, non-fused pull out in either a separate enclosure or as part of a panel is acceptable so long as it is readily accessible and within sight of the unit is an allowable method)

    Other parts of the code require it to be labeled as to function unless the function is readily apparent.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  9. #9
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    Gentlemen, your opinion matters.

    1972 townhome with condenser sitting on raised platform within 6' of main panel and breaker and easily accessible. The location of the breaker to the condenser would seem to satisfy disconnect requirements. Would recommending installing a separate disconnect between the panel and the condenser - possibly where the conduit connects to the box, be appropriate, not necessary or overkill?

    Thanks
    Even though it meets the requirements of minimum distance for a disconnect it also needs to be lockable so when serviced it can't accidently be turned on ....


  10. #10
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Belisle View Post
    Even though it meets the requirements of minimum distance for a disconnect it also needs to be lockable so when serviced it can't accidently be turned on ....
    A disconnect which meets the requirements is not also required to be lockable.

    And for condenser units, a lockable disconnect is not permitted to replace a disconnect which meets the requirements

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

  11. #11
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Belisle View Post
    Even though it meets the requirements of minimum distance for a disconnect it also needs to be lockable so when serviced it can't accidently be turned on ....
    This is a new one to me. I've inspected numerous homes where the compressor is near/in plain sight of the main electrical panel. As long as the ac breaker is labeled, the correct type and size I don't make any recommendations. If it is in sight why would it have to be lockable?

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. (Thomas Edison)

  12. #12
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Belisle View Post
    Even though it meets the requirements of minimum distance for a disconnect it also needs to be lockable so when serviced it can't accidently be turned on ....
    Not true.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  13. #13
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Not true.
    The disconnect does have to be lockable - it's not under the NEC but OSHA lock out tag out requirements. I am and all ways will be a huge fan of this, I have had too many clowns turn the power on something I have been working on despite signs. I also know of at least 2 people who were in car crushers when some jerk powered them up (the junk yard business is very profitable but a really dangerous place to work) Same thing goes for residential units - any one who has done service work with a home owner around usually has a story of a home owner turning something on. Despite the fact that the breaker is 6 ft (and there are breaker locks available ) a lockable service switch on the unit or wall would be highly recommended

    code reference 29 CFR 1910.147,


    Another reason for a lockable service switch - unit is out of service needing parts - you have a switch that is not confused with other breakers.

    Breaker locks (IMHO) don't work and I don't like them.



  14. #14
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Doane View Post
    The disconnect does have to be lockable - it's not under the NEC but OSHA lock out tag out requirements. I am and all ways will be a huge fan of this, I have had too many clowns turn the power on something I have been working on despite signs. I also know of at least 2 people who were in car crushers when some jerk powered them up (the junk yard business is very profitable but a really dangerous place to work) Same thing goes for residential units - any one who has done service work with a home owner around usually has a story of a home owner turning something on. Despite the fact that the breaker is 6 ft (and there are breaker locks available ) a lockable service switch on the unit or wall would be highly recommended

    code reference 29 CFR 1910.147,


    Another reason for a lockable service switch - unit is out of service needing parts - you have a switch that is not confused with other breakers.

    Breaker locks (IMHO) don't work and I don't like them.
    Dwight,

    I would offer my glasses to you for your reading pleasure, but I can't reach across the table and hand them to you ... besides, the prescription may be wrong for you ...

    Did you read what that 'does not apply to' and what it 'does apply to"?

    Really is quite limiting as to what it applies to, and very nearly all encompassing of what it does not apply to (with regard to comparison between what it applies to versus what it does not apply to).

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

  15. #15
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Thank you all, Gentlemen. A very enlightening and helpful discussion.
    Appropriate options and recommendations were given based on all the input. Thanks.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ian,



    Also, that was an FPE panel (as I recall, I don't have the photo still up), I'm not sure that FPE breakers were HACR rated.

    Jim Port or one of the other electricians may have that answer. The label on the condenser unit would have specified the use of either fuses or HACR breakers.

    If the FPE breakers are not HACR rated, that in itself is a reason to write up installing another disconnect.
    Is that an FPE panel?


  17. #17
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Also, that was an FPE panel (as I recall, I don't have the photo still up), ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Ruth View Post
    Is that an FPE panel?
    I brought the photo back up and ... nope ... that was not an FPE panel.

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

  18. #18
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I brought the photo back up and ... nope ... that was not an FPE panel.
    looks like a ZINSCO panel just as bad as FPE

    CVF


  19. #19
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    looks like a ZINSCO panel just as bad as FPE

    CVF
    No, not a FPE nor Zinsco. Some other brands have the colored handles so you must look further at the design of the individual breakers.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  20. #20
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Murray panel - looks like to me.
    That little lift tab at the bottom is common to these


  21. #21
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    Default Re: HVAC Disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Weekly View Post
    Murray panel - looks like to me.
    That little lift tab at the bottom is common to these
    Right on Chris.....Murray 👍 Take a bow 👏👏👏👏


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