Emergency Disconnect Requirements For The NEC 2020: What To Know

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Emergency Disconnect Requirements For The NEC 2020: What To Know

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.


200amp Meter Disconnect (Source: homedepot.com)


Emergency Disconnect Requirements For The NEC 2020

For the NEC 2020, there’s an added article titled 230.85 Emergency Disconnects. It states:

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).


Explanation Of Section 230.85 Emergency Disconnects

To put this simply, this new section of the NEC says that there should 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 don’t 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 is suitable for use as service equipment with the required markings (EMERGENCY DISCONNECT. SERVICE DISCONNECT)


Why Did The NEC Require An Emergency Disconnect Be Located Outside A Dwelling Unit?

The NEC is always making revisions and additions to provide the utmost safety for everyone. In regards to the additional article detailing emergency disconnect requirements for the NEC 2020, it is mainly to keep first responders and utility personnel safe. First responders of emergencies like house fires need to be able to disconnect power from a home safely to avoid electrical hazards before entering. 


What Does This Mean For Me As A Homeowner?

As a current homeowner, it is not mandatory to do anything right now for compliance with the emergency disconnect requirements for the NEC 2020, UNLESS you are

Building a new home*Undergoing home renovation*Having your service replaced**Note that these requirements only hold true for townships and boroughs that implement the 2020 NEC. Some townships and boroughs are still only implementing earlier years for code requirements. Please contact your township for more information on which NEC needs to be implemented for new construction, renovations, and electrical equipment replacements. It is always still a good idea to keep your home up to the latest NEC standards for safety and compliance.


Hire KB Electric LLC For Emergency Disconnect Installation!

The licensed and insured electricians at KB Electric LLC know the NEC requirements for any electrical installation. We can help you determine what NEC year your township 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! (267) 467-3178


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