A/C power supply

I have always assumed there is supposed to be a disconnect within reach of the outdoor unit, as a safety issue. On this house I inspected yesterday, there isn’t one, it is hard-wired into the home, and the only breaker is the one inside the panel.
This is the first time I’ve come across this. Isn’t there a requirement for this to have a disconnect close-by? And as this buyer will be financing with FHA, would this be something the FHA inspector would call out? Thanks.


The panel-breaker can be used as the disconnect, as long as it is within sight of the appliance.

Jeff, thanks. However, there is no breaker for it within sight. This is outside, and the panel breaker is inside the garage.

Then it needs to be corrected. There must be a disconnect within sight of the appliance.

It’s very unlikely that the FHA inspector will recognize this issue, but you should report it as a defect.

Thanks Jeff.
I’ve already written it into my report and showed it to the client during the inspection. It’s a bank-owned property, so she’ll pay for it anyway, but I’ll recommend it be repaired immediately.

You assumed right, but you should never assume.

Hi Andrew
I quite often see older A/C units with no disconnect in sight . It wasn’t in the code back then.
If this is an older installation you may want to check that out.

If you look at the picture of the building and the HVAC, it is quite obvious that an HVAC disconnect was required at the time of construction.

It really doesn’t matter if it was building code at any time because it’s not our job to interpret or enforce these building codes.

We are here to simply report there is no disconnect at the outside unit and it can kill your HVAC technician if he can’t turn the power off!

This may be true for Canada - I don’t know Canadian Codes.

Hey Jeff,
I saw your response concerning an ac disconnect. I had the same issue this morning. AC units were hardwired into main disconnect on outside of house. SO if you have to disconnect the ac unit for any reason than you will also shut off ALL power to the home. This doesn’t seem right.

Well, the “required disconnect” is effectively in place, however, there are rarely any instances where the direct tap would be compliant, regardless of the equipment it serves.

It certainly isn’t the most preferred method, however, if wired properly and not double-tapped, it may well be compliant.

Actually, I think I may have given a bit of misinformation.

In your case, the service disconnect for the house must not exceed the maximum circuit rating for the condenser unit(s). So it’s very unlikely that what you had was compliant.

Jeff, you are 100% correct. Why I didn’t think of that I don’t know. This particular builder has done all of the houses in this sub division like this.

The only way I know this would pass would be if the interior disconnecting devise is capable of being locked out by the servicing tech. Hope they never have to replace the sealtite

To help educate me, what makes this so obvious in the picture?

Maybe I just can’t see it, but where’s the copper on this?

It’s a relatively modern appliance. Probably from the 90’s, I would guess. . .

Ahh, yes! :slight_smile:

This house was built in late 2006 - barely 2 years old. Initially, I just expected to see the d/c inside the main disconnect, which is within 10 feet, but it wasn’t there. So, the only way to break the circuit for this unit is to walk inside the garage and flip the breaker there.
Code or not, I called it a safety issue. Even so, as I read it, IRC requires the disconnect be installed “within sight from unit”. My client intends to get it fixed. The main question is if it has to be done before the FHA inspector is scheduled. Would he call this out as an issue affecting FHA loan approval? This is a bank-owned property and she has only a few days to get it done.

It has been a code issue and a safety issue since mobey dick was a minnow I just recently called out two one with metal conduit out of a crawl space hard piped to the unit no disconnect within view and one with a disconnect that did not disconnect power to the unit it was faulty. I was having burner roll out problems on a Gas Pac unit and reached up to turn the disconnect off and whala it just kept on running belching flames everywhere:roll: </IMG>