National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

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Monday, September 6, 2021

Question:

Good Day CQD,

I have a HVAC technician telling me that if the circuit breaker is close to the condensing unit, he doesn’t have to install a disconnect. It is my understanding that all newly installed condensers should have a disconnect readily available.

Christopher Young

A

Answer:

Hello Christopher,

Thanks for the question. The response is based on the information provided in the question. The NEC requirements for a disconnecting means for HVAC equipment (that contains a  hermetic motor compressor) are found in Section 440.14 which indicates that a disconnecting means shall be located within sight from, and readily accessible from the air-conditioning or refrigerating equipment. The disconnecting means shall be permitted to be installed on or within the air-conditioning or refrigerating equipment. The disconnecting means shall not be located on panels that are designed to allow access to the air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment or to obscure the equipment nameplate(s). See the exceptions to this general rule. If a panelboard is located readily accessible from and within sight from the HVAC equipment, a circuit breaker contained in the panelboard could serve as the required disconnecting means. Note that the term readily available used in the question appears as readily accessible in the Code, which is a defined term in Article 100. 

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