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#222591 07/05/24 01:35 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,955
Likes: 34
G
Member
I was reading an article in EC&M 23 code I believe but they said surge protection is now required on the service. That is a good idea.
Then they started talking about an "Emergency Disconnect"(230.85) and it is an outdoor service disconnect.
Two questions occurred to me
1. If this is a breaker, not a switch, are the load side conductors a "feeder" (4 wire)? I guess you will just install a switch if you don't want to rerun the SEC.
2. It really sounds like they say if you replace the existing service disconnect this rule kicks in. So I replace a bad breaker and I need to redesign the whole service?
They are really leaning toward using meter/mains and 4 wire feeders the way I see it and in new construction or a service upgrade but requiring this when a main breaker is replaced sounds silly to me.
The other new rule says we need short circuit and ground fault protection on service conductors (not just the overload protection provided by the main breaker) so I am guessing it is another push towards the outdoor meter main but ex5 seems to be saying dwellings only need overload protection.

https://www.mikeholt.com/newsletters.php?action=display&letterID=2787


Greg Fretwell
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Joined: Apr 2002
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Greg:

Surge is required in 2020 NEC, as well as the 230.85 Emergency Disconnect.

IF your MOCP is within the 230.85 then you have to run SER, or 4 wire in raceway to the panel.

As replacement of a bad main, that's REHAB here, replace 'like-for-like'


John
Joined: Jan 2005
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Likes: 3
Cat Servant
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You have brought up two separate issues.
Surge protection has been in the code since 2020 — yet when I did a service change a few years ago NOBODY had the $150 device in stock, and there was a long wait. The parts houses even admitted that they had yet to sell one. I wound up getting mine from the internet. Not to worry - the local inspector was completely unaware of the requirement.

As for the disconnects . . .
You’re thinking of 225.41. One and two family units are required to have a marked energy disconnect in a readily accessible location outside the dwelling. While 2020 required an outside disconnect, this new section requires the identification, and is quite specific as to how the identification is made.
I believe there is a similar requirement for detached garages, but I don’t have the 2023 code as yet. I’m sure I’ll bring the topic up again soon smile

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,955
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G
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I read that to say if you replaced the "service disconnect" usually the main breaker in the panel that is probably inside, you needed to bring the service up to the new code (outside disconnect). I agree most electricians I know would just replace the breaker, not pull a permit and maybe do it hot. I saw a guy do a whole panel swap hot but it was not in my arena, just a neighbor. He just pulled off the SE from the main, wrapped it in tape and did it.
I knew about the Surge. a lot of folks here already have some kind of panel protection. It is usually from the POCO. They have a fairly aggressive marketing push to install it and it is usually about what you would have to pay for one anyway.
I have surge protection everywhere. (main panel, sub panel and on most equipment I am worried about).
The GES is as important as the surge device itself. You need a reliable place to send that energy. Also be sure all inputs or protected, using the same ground point. (phone, cable, satellite)


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jan 2005
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Cat Servant
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Just two more general comments:

Surge protectors are a good example of what I might start calling “vendor resistance.” That’s what happens when the manufacturers put out press releases about an “amazing new product.” The electrical press runs glowing articles about the new gizmo. There might even be full-page ads. Factory reps nudge code panels, and codes change to accommodate, even to the point of mandating, their use.
Being the eager Sparky, you go to your local supply house . . . And hit a brick wall. Item isn’t available; massive amounts of ‘engineering consultation’ is called for and the factory plays dumb. Surge protection? Why, our engineers need to know exactly how many Pixies are dancing atop the Foozwhopper at the PoCo substation on Tuesdays before we can prepare a quote. You, of course, are bewildered because you are responding to THEIR marketing. Supply house finally says they can’t get it, factory insists they have no idea what you’re talking about, and UL insists thousands are coming off the production line daily.

The outside disconnect issue illustrates trade practices that I’ve known about for half a century. Even in the Sixties the Chicago code very encouraged an outside disconnect, with severe limitations on indoor disconnects. It seemed pretty obvious to me: of course there ought to be a disconnect where the PoCo met the premises. If nothing else, it made clear where the responsibility of the PoCo ended.
Fast-forward to 2012 and when I bought my house. Much to my surprise, I discover that my entire town (once the largest within 50 miles with a population of 25,000) was built with an extremely lax understanding of the NEC requirement of a disconnect being as close to the point of entry as ‘practical.’ Voila! That meant NO disconnect (or overload) at the meter. Service wires entered the wall (SE cable), snaked up one stud cavity, crossed over the first room, then dropped down another cavity to end in a panel where the six breakers were the first means of disconnection.
There’s a lot of that run that exposed the unprotected SE cable to picture hangers and paneling nails piercing the wall.

Ditto for significant outbuildings. Doesn’t it make sense to have a disconnect on the outside of a shed or garage? It’s just the nature of things that the shed will be stuffed with stuff, lined with shelves, all manner of things that would make access to the panel difficult.

The scope of the NEC is pretty blunt: Don’t confuse ‘code compliance’ with good design. Nor is the NEC a ‘cookbook’ to tell you how to do your job. Yet, that’s exactly how Code is used. It’s reached the point where if you try to do things “right” folks think there’s something wrong with you.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,955
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G
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IBM was offering surge protection packages to our customers in the late 80s. My last 6 years there 90-96 was heavily involved in surge mitigation. This was long before surge protectors were popular consumer products. I am not sure the "new wonder device", whatever it is, is all that great.
I think we solved more with good grounding and bonding practices than the protectors did but you need both. If you can't get as close to a bonding grid as possible the protectors don't have a stable "ground" and you are just getting line to line MOVs. You need a ground path to absorb as much energy as the device can pass. Otherwise you wasted your money on the device. It may burn out too. (the only energy dissipation is through the L/L MOVs). We also worked on bonding. Make sure all the ground paths end up at the same ground potential We sold a lot of copper but our lightning calls dropped from a few a week to a few a year.

As for the outside disconnect, as long as you are not in a place with pranksters, new build? why not? I wouldn't want to have to rebuild my service to get one tho. I am not sure if was just Mike Holt being Mike Holt or if the code really says you need to put in if you replace the main breaker/service disconnect. No I don't have the book, I'm on a fixed income wink

I am not real worried that the fire department would pause long outside my door until someone popped that meter out with their axe.
(a thing of beauty)


Greg Fretwell

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