There must be a disconnect on an A/C condenser unit always, right? I inspected a home built in 1976 today. There was only one panel for this home with the main breaker and all the subs in the same panel. The panel is located at the exterior wall within 50 feet and sight of the unit. I wanted some re assurance on this. There must be a disconnect, right? It is not proper to go directly to the panel, even in this instance. Is it? There is no sub panel anywhere else. All of the breakers for the home are in this exterior panel.

An OCPD within sight is adequate, per 2003 IRC table E4001.5 at least.

Correct, and the disconnect must be within sight of the appliance.

As Michael pointed out, a breaker in a panel is a disconnect (a means to disconnect power). It can be located in the service panel or any other panel, so long as it is in sight (line-of-sight) from the appliance.

The appliance does not require its own box (panel) with a disconnect unless there are no other means within sight.

Thank you. I was not sure but that makes sense. Appreciate the help.