inspection woes

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  #1  
Old 04-06-04, 06:00 AM
bpotter
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Question inspection woes

I just had a visit from the inspector for my feeder service to my detached garage. He had two objections: 1) "Need SUSE panel with main per article 225." 2) "No circuits (switch legs, travelers, etc.) can pass thru without disconnection."

My Questions:
The panel I am using has a max of 6 circuits - I am only using 4. I understood that 6 or fewer circuits does not require a main disconnect. Why is he saying I need one?

I had visited previously with the chief inspector, who told me to make wire nut connections in the panel for the 3-way switch wires. I specifically asked him if it was okay to use the panel as a "junction box" for these connections and he said it was. So why is this new inspector objecting?

Any thoughts appreciated.

BCP
 
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Old 04-06-04, 06:41 AM
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Take some pictures and go see the Chief Inspector. It's fairly common for different inspectors to have different interpretations of the code. It's also possible that there was a misunderstanding between you and the Chief Inspector.
 
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Old 04-06-04, 07:15 AM
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Inspectors are human, and make mistakes. They are also in a position of power, so you have to be diplomatic in pointing out their mistakes.

First the appropriate articles:
225.31 Disconnecting Means. Means shall be provided for disconnecting all ungrounded conductors that supply or pass through the building or structure.

225.33 Maximum Number of Disconnects.
(A) General. The disconnecting means for each supply permitted by 225.30 shall consist of not more than six switches or six circuit breakers mounted in a single enclosure...there shall be no more than six disconnects per supply grouped in any one location.

You need to reply back that your four breakers _are_ the required disconnecting means, as specified in 225.33.

On point 2: double check your circuit setup. Is the switched light setup supplied from the sub panel in the detached garage, or from your main panel? If the latter, then it _is_ a violation because you now have a circuit going into the garage that doesn't have a disconnect means in the garage. If the circuit is supplied _from_ the garage, then you can identify that particular circuit breaker as the disconnect means for that circuit.

-Jon
 
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Old 04-06-04, 07:24 AM
bpotter
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The four circuit breakers are mounted in the same enclosure (panel), and they account for all the circuits in the garage. I have spoken with the head inspector since I posted, and he said that the 6 circuit breaker max only applies to a main panel. He says that a subpanel MUST have a single disconnect, no matter how many circuit breakers there are. He wants me to use a back fed breaker as the single disconnect. Since He's the head honcho, I guess I'll have to go with what he says.

As far as the other issue goes... the 3-way switches are being fed from a circuit in the garage sub pannel.

BCP
 
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Old 04-06-04, 09:25 AM
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The head inspector is wrong, unless the locality has adopted amendments to the National Electric Code. (The NEC itself is _not_ law. Instead local law making authorities pass laws _adopting_ the NEC, and these authorities can make any amendments they want.) Article 225 specifically applies to outside branch circuits and feeders, _not_ main services, and 225.30, 225.33 specifically apply to detached structures.

That said, fighting to _proove_ you are correct may be more trouble then it is worth; if you intend to do future work on your house then you probably want to keep good feelings with the inspection office. So you should first figure out if what the head inspector wants you to do is easier than arguing with the inspector.

Using a backfed breaker is certainly an easy solution if it will work with your panel, however it is only allowed for some panels. In particular, backfed breakers have to be be listed for this, and backfed breakers must anchored into the panel (they can't simply snap in like a regular breaker, but must be screwed down). The reason for this is to prevent the backfed breaker from being pulled out by the (generally large) feed wires going into it. Find out if a backfeed kit is available for your panel; if it is, then I would suggest simply doing that. If a backfed breaker is _not_ available for your panel, then what the inspector is asking you to do is either a) install a backfeed _incorrectly_, or b) change the panel. Changing the panel is lots more work, so at this point I'd suggest asking the inspector to double check his read of 225.33, and asking if there were local amendments.

On the switch travelers, I'd ask the inspector to clarify what sort of disconnect means would be suitable. Does he want those travelers to be in a _different_ conduit, or do they need to go through a disconnecting switch, or is it sufficient to identify that they are fed from the panel that they traverse? The inspector may simply have a problem with the switch wires going through the panel, in which case you may need to install a junction box prior to the panel to pull the wires out of the conduit.

-Jon
 
  #6  
Old 04-06-04, 01:15 PM
bpotter
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I think I am going to end up changing the panel. I have a Square D Homeline panel now - 100A, 6 spaces, up to 12 circuits. I am using 4 spaces now. If I add a 2 pole 60A backfed breaker (as the inspector wants), my panel is full.

I'll be a little upset if they make me pull the switch wires out of the panel into a junction box, because I had it set up that way originally, but the head inspector told me to re-configure and just run them through the panel and connect with my romex there.

Thanks for your input.
 
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