I’ve seen a similar condition twice recently and know 1 to be incorrect but wonder if 2nd one is incorrect OR just unorthodox.
Both times Overhead SE drops into the sealed meter. Then the wires to main panel in basement come out of bottom of meter enclosure and go into basement panel. When you open main panel there is no breaker or wires for AC unit. Outside on the side of the meter enclosure is a short 6’-9’ run of conduit going to the AC disconnect … Then on to the AC. **Obviously wrong / tapped into lugs inside meter somehow.
**2nd way …Overhead SE drops into the sealed meter. Then the wires to main panel in basement come out of bottom of meter enclosure and go into basement panel. Then outside on the side of the meter enclosure is a short 6’-9’ run of conduit going to the AC disconnect … Then on to AC unit. When you open the main panel in the basement there is a breaker for the AC unit AND the AC wires from outside are coming in thru the conduit that your SE.wires are in (the main meter enclosure and conduit is being used as a “Pass-Thru” for the AC wires. Is this unorthodox OR wrong???
I’ve read and reread NEC 230.7 / 230.71 / 230.16 about raceways feeders, etc AND still don’t know. 2 different master sparkies have said definitely YES / NO
Would you happen to have a photo of what you’re describing? Service entrance conductors cannot be in the same raceway as branch circuit or feeder conductors, as you mentioned that’s in 230.7. 230.71 is for the maximum number and grouping of the 1-6 disconnecting means. There is no 230.16 in the 2008, 2011, or 2014 NEC.
Dan, seen it a few times here, mostly in homes built in the 50’s. That is how electricians hooked-up A/C units back then, as home owners decided to install A/C units in their homes. Most homes at that time had small main panels (glass fuses) with no extra slots. When the A/C guys put the exterior cut-off box for the exterior A/C, they used that as an excuse for a breaker. As the main panels got replaced, electrical contractors did not touch the meters, which left the A/C and the cut-off box tapped off the meter, in place.
Just have to write it up, recommend change, have the buyer decide.
I am always amazed the level humans will go sometimes to place themselves in harms way. Sometimes they do it because they are lazy and sometimes they do it because they don’t have a clue. Either way humans sometimes do some stupid things without a full understanding of what they do.
The beauty of electricity is that even when you hook it up wrong…it seems to still work, safe or unsafe most of the time. This leads people to think, well if it works it must be right…which is sadly wrong.