National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


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


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.

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