This came up over at Bryan's house and I thought it might spark some interest here. Why are some things considered needing full working space, yet a very similar piece of equipment somewhere else doesn't. Example. A/C condenser disconnects vs water heater disconnects or even the disconnect for the A/C air handler.
The rule is the same. The problem is that the electrician puts the disconnect outside and has it inspected. Then the AC guy comes along and puts his equipment in front of it. It happens in factories all the time especially with air compressors and other machinery. It ends up as an electrical violation even though the equipment installer created the violation. Usually this is done after the electrical inspection. So should the inspector penalize the electrician for some other guys mess ?
I've had that happen a few times with hot tub disconnects lately too. You estimate where the edge of the tub will be and plan accordingly, then the customer changes their plan for the yard. Guess what ends up having to be moved? I assure you that it's NOT the hot tub.
It's not the money part; they have been more than willing to pay. It's just that it's sometimes a terrible waste since in at least two instances, the PVC and wire ended up being 20 feet too short. Sure, I got to keep the wire and got paid to replace it, but it's still frustrating.
Same thing happened with a 100 amp furnace disconnect recently when a guy was finishing his basement. The new wall reduced the clearance to 2'-4", more than enough for most people to use. No dice. We had to move it. Again, more money for me, but seemingly senseless.
I guess most of you don't have air handlers in closets or in attics. That is the biggest violations I see (ignored). Water heaters would be a close second. How many people have an extra 30" of wall space in a utility room? How long do you think it remains "extra".
Greg: Usually, as soon as the ink on the CO is dry!
Utility closets/rooms; 'electric/phone' rooms turn into catch-alls probably as soon as I walk down the hall. Maintenance issues are handled (commercial) by the uniformed Fire Dept Inspectors, and it's there cash cow.
Hot line, I only inspect electrical, Building, Plumbing & Mech are all done seperately. On a new house, January with a foot of snow on the ground the electrician wants his final. He has a disconnect outside to an Air Cond. that will be installed in the spring. Breaker sized for the wire, may have to be adjusted for the equipment. He gets his final, and he gets paid. In the spring the AC gets installed and the Mech inspector does his final, including OC size and if fuses only, etc.
I kicked another tar baby over at Bryans house. I asked, why do we really believe the condenser disconnect has to be worked on hot? Isn't this just a safety device for the HVAC tech and all his work should be able to be done in his box, only using the disconnect to disconnect. If he really thinks it is bad (no power on the load end of the whip) why isn't he calling an electrician? Since he should be checking the branch circuit breaker anyway, why not turn it off before he looks in side the disconnect if he must. Why IS this any different than the receptacle behind the fridge? Does the appliance repairman tear into that if he has no power at the face of the receptacle?