National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

?
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Question:

Re: CQD answer published Friday, November 8, 2019 -Outdoor Electric Equipment

Hello, I have copied here the new code suggestion for outside disconnects: "There is a new 230.85 in the 2020 NEC for one and two family dwelling units that requires a disconnecting means to be installed outdoors at a readily accessible location so we will be seeing more equipment located outdoors in the future."

It seems to me, you have stated the primary reason that this is a real bad idea because of the temperature extremes that equipment will have to endure.

How about this one: It will give thieves an ideal way to probably prevent security systems from reporting the break-in in progress. It will present an ideal way to harass a neighbor or to make a prank on someone in the area by less than evil kids. I know it is a prime consideration by most people not to have a large ugly piece of electrical gear hanging on their house. That is a stupid idea to force everyone to have a disconnect on the outside of their home and especially in the snow belt where we have extreme temperatures.

Ken Lynes
A

Answer:

Hey Ken thanks for your comment. The original question asked if it was acceptable to locate a "breaker box" on the exterior of a residential property. Our answer was yes, and explained that the contained equipment could be exposed to varying temperatures. We didn't mean to infer that locating electric equipment outdoors should never be done. In many cases electric equipment needs to be located outdoors.

The concerns you express about burglary and mischief can be dealt with by locating the disconnecting means outside and locking it in the on position but locating the panelboard inside the building. The really evil people will find a way to defeat everything. The benefit to having the disconnecting means outside is for emergency responders so they can deenergize the interior wiring before entering the building.

ABOUT CQD: The Code Question of the Day (CQD) is NECA and ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR Magazine’s flagship National Electrical Code (NEC®) public forum for the industry, sponsored by EATON. The daily distribution of Q&A generates a lively dialogue and shares relative Code-based practical responses.

SUBMIT YOUR CODE QUESTION: Click here to submit a question to for inclusion in an upcoming edition of the Code Question of the Day, or email codequestion@necanet.org

CHARLIE TROUT: Charles M. Trout, better known as Charlie, was a nationally known NEC® expert and author. He served on several NEC® technical committees and is past chairman of CMP-12. In 2006 Charlie was awarded the prestigious Coggeshall Award for outstanding contributions to the electrical contracting industry, codes and standards development, and technical training. Even though Charlie passed away in October of 2015, his work continues in spirit. NECA continues to maintain this question forum for its many subscribers in memory and recognition of all his significant contributions to making the NEC what it is today.

NECA STANDARDS: NECA publishes the National Electrical Installation Standards™ (NEIS™), a series of ANSI-approved performance and quality standards for electrical construction. NEIS can be purchased in the NECA Store in three formats: a printed or PDF download of a standard or, as an annual subscription service.

NECA SAFETY PRODUCTS & PUBLICATIONS: NECA produces electrical safety publications and products for the industry including jobsite safety guides, handbooks and resource kits. View a full listing of available resources and products »

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Unless the question requests a response based on a specific edition, all answers are based on the latest edition of NFPA 70® National Electrical Code®.

This correspondence is not a formal interpretation of the NEC® and any responses expressed to the questions are opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of NECA, NFPA, the NEC Correlating Committee any Code-making panel or other electrical technical committee. In addition, this correspondence is neither intended, nor should it be relied upon, to provide professional consultation or services. 

UPDATE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION PREFERENCES: Subscribe or Unsubscribe from this list.