Outdoor Emergency Disconnects For Dwelling Units

Aug 13, 2021

Every three years, the NEC (National Electrical Code) creates updates to their electrical wiring and equipment installation requirements for the safety of the electrical contractors performing the installations, as well as for homeowners, business owners, first responders, etc. The new 2020 NEC has a newly added article titled: 230.85 Emergency Disconnects. Let’s take a closer look at the emergency disconnect requirements for the NEC 2020.

230.85 Emergency Disconnects

For one- and two-family dwelling units, all service conductors shall terminate in disconnecting means having a short-circuit current rating equal to or greater than the available fault current, installed in a readily accessible outdoor location. If more than one disconnect is provided, they shall be grouped. Each disconnect shall be one of the following:

  1. Service disconnects marked as follows: EMERGENCY DISCONNECT. SERVICE DISCONNECT
  2. Meter disconnects installed per 230.82(3) and marked as follows: EMERGENCY DISCONNECT, METER DISCONNECT, NOT SERVICE EQUIPMENT
  3. Other listed disconnect switches or circuit breakers on the supply side of each service disconnect that are suitable for use as service equipment and marked as follows: EMERGENCY DISCONNECT, NOT SERVICE EQUIPMENT Marking shall comply with 110.21(B).

To make this easy to understand, this new section of the NEC says that there shall be an emergency disconnect on the outside of a home. An emergency disconnect is a switch that will shut off the power coming from the utility power service to the entire house in case of an emergency.

Some homes have a service disconnect inside the house by the nearest point of entry of the service conductors. In some states of the U.S., it is already mandatory that the disconnect be on the exterior of the house (before the 2020 NEC addition). For those states in the U.S. that do not already have an emergency disconnect on the outside of their home, a homeowner can now implement one of these three options to keep their home up-to-code to follow the latest NEC:

  1. Mount the service disconnect outside with the required markings (EMERGENCY DISCONNECT. SERVICE DISCONNECT)
  2. Install a meter disconnect with the required markings (EMERGENCY DISCONNECT, METER DISCONNECT, NOT SERVICE EQUIPMENT)
  3. Other listed disconnect switches or circuit breakers on the supply side of each device disconnect that are suitable for use as service equipment with the required markings (EMERGENCY DISCONNECT. SERVICE DISCONNECT)

Still do not get it?

An outdoor emergency disconnect is now required for new construction, renovations & homes having services replaced, allowing first responders to eliminate some potential electrical hazards when necessary.

Hire Bad Monkey Electric For Your Emergency Disconnect Installation!

The licensed and insured electricians at Bad Monkey Electric know the NEC requirements for any electrical installation. We can help you determine what NEC year your jurisdiction requires to keep your home up-to-code if needed, and we can help you install your new emergency disconnect on the exterior of your house. Call us today!

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