New single family dwelling. Inspector came for rough-in inspection last week and wrote me up for a violation; "panel too low". My panel measures 6'0" from the floor to the top of the enclosure and 5'4" from the floor to the main breaker. The inspector said it had to be at least 6'6" from the floor to the main. I asked him to show me where in the code that requirement was. He showed me a drawing from a handbook titled "Work space clearances". After explaining what work space clearances meant he tore up the violation notice and left. He said he'd made a dozen electricians move their panels in the last few months.
404.8(A) Address’s circuit breakers used as switches. Article 230 Service Equipment – Disconnecting Means shall be identify as a service disconnect and never is it refer to as being switch rated. Are all circuit breakers listed to interrupt their current rating also switch rated?
Re: New one on me#79884 02/04/0209:57 AM02/04/0209:57 AM
JBD I agree and these breakers are marked “switch rated”. My question, does 404.8(A) apply for the service disconnect (6’7”) or is the service disconnect just required to readily accessible 230.70(A)(1)
Re: New one on me#79886 02/05/0210:44 AM02/05/0210:44 AM
My error, I was replying faster then I was reading.
Short answer, yes the height restrictions apply. In this case the circuit breaker is being used as a "switch" it is intended to disconnect the conductors from their supply(see definition of disconnect switch).
Re: New one on me#79887 02/05/0203:22 PM02/05/0203:22 PM
I could not find a definition for disconnect switches only a disconnecting means. Using the definition for disconnecting means would mean all circuit breakers are switches. 404.8(A) States that “all circuit breakers used as switches” shall meet the requirements of this section. I may seem to be splitting hairs because readily accessible in my opinion would not be over 6’7”. I’m not convinced that 404.8(A) applies with service equipment. Attached is a response from square D. This refers to switch duty to which I believe 404.8(A) applies.
In response to your request, the only breakers that are switch duty rated are the 1P 15A and 20A breakers and they will have the SWD on the label. The article is referring to fluorescent lighting loads. Other breakers can be turned off and on however, they do not have the SWD on the label and the life of the breaker may be reduced depending on how many operations a day you will need. If the breaker does not have the SWD on the label then the breaker does not meet the UL requirements for switch duty.
I believe the issue revolves around the intended function of the device rather than its actual construction. If the intent is to use the circuit breaker as an OCPD then the height restriction would not apply. If the intent is to use the circuit breaker as a manual means of disconnecting conductors/eqipment from their source of supply then the breaker is acting as a switch and the height restrictions apply.
Definitions from the 1999 NEC: Switches.
General-Use Switch. A switch intended for use in general distribution and branch circuits. It is rated in amperes, and it is capable of interrupting its rated current at its rated voltage. ((This is what the SWD rating of a breaker is for))
Isolating Switch. A switch intended for isolating an electric circuit from the source of power. It has no interrupting rating, and it is intended to be operated only after the circuit has been opened by some other means. ((this would apply to a service disconnect device))
Motor-Circuit Switch. A switch rated in horsepower that is capable of interrupting the maximum operating overload current of a motor of the same horsepower rating as the switch at the rated voltage.
Disconnecting Means. A device, or group of devices, or other means by which the conductors of a circuit can be disconnected from their source of supply.
Service Equipment. The necessary equipment, usually consisting of a circuit breaker(s) or switch(es) and fuse(s) and their accessories, connected to the load end of service conductors to a building or other structure, or an otherwise designated area, and intended to constitute the main control and cutoff of the supply.
Re: New one on me#79889 02/06/0207:52 PM02/06/0207:52 PM