Exterior Service Disconnect Clearances?

I know the correct clearance for an interior panel is 30” on each side and 36” in front, but is the same clearances required for an exterior main disconnect. As you can see by the picture the main disconnect is under the meter base and is partially behind the ac unit. I could not open the cover to the main disconnect and access the breaker normally, as the cover had the screws missing at the top where it hinged, so the cover would fall straight down instead of flipping up like normal. I guess they did this so there would be access to the breaker. If the AC unit was to be moved about three inches to the right, the cover could open normally. Are any other clearances required? This is a brand new home.

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If the acess cover is unable to be accessed, I would simply recommend moving the condenser for adequate access to electrical SE panel. There must be 36 inches of unobstructed space in front of the meter and there must be at least 2 inches of space on both sides of the meter.

Hey David,

Yes that would be the simple choice, but the condenser can not be moved due to the basement windows. ( See Pic.) my question is are there and required clearances other than being able to open the cover normally.

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As I stated, 36" in front and 2" to the sides is required at a meter.

I’ve never seen bracketry attached to a building in order to support condensers.

Is that a norm in your area?

We use simple pads under our condensers.

Thanks David

Yep, brackets have become the norm, we use pads too, but in new construction brackets have become very popular.

Can you tell me why?

  1. Security, in our area there have been a rash of thefts of new units. When mounted on the brackets the units can easily be thru bolted and deturs thefts.

  2. Helps keep the unit from being damaged due to lawn mowing debris.

  3. Better air circulation.

110.26 of the NEC gives the clearances for electrical equipment.

Table 110.26(A)(1) gives the depth. In this table for voltages of 150 to ground we must have 36 inches of depth.

110.26(A) (2) Width of Working Space. The width of the working space in front of the electric equipment shall be the width of the equipment or 750 mm (30 in.), whichever is greater. In all cases, the work space shall permit at least a 90 degree opening of equipment doors or hinged panels.

These 30 inches can start on the edge of one side of the panel and move toward the other side or from the center of the panel 15 inches in either direction as long as there is 30 inches total.

In my area the gas meter can be no closer than 36 inches of the electrical panel. This is not an electrical rule but a gas company rule.

Good call

Thanks Mike, good info…

Hi Dave, we see them alot down here on new construction, it keeps them above the snow line :wink:

But seriously, they run more efficiently off the ground, don’t rust as fast as they drain better, plus down here we need to install with hurricane strapping which is easier to do on a purpose built mount.



I forgot…You do get some serious blizzards in Florida.

Take a walk down some of the back alleys in the financial district/China Town/Bay Village in Boston… during the day of course.:wink:

I know , I know your reference to brackets was for residential use … but I couldn’t resist commenting. :mrgreen:

Yeah, I’ve been there many times and I know exactly what you’re referring to.

I really like those rugged metal shelves and I’d like to see them come to my area. I’m just surprised that they’re not here today.

Forget about the DVD players and grandmas jewelry.

What derelicts will do for a few extra bucks.

I just did a foreclosure property yesterday and when I got to the basement, I seen that all of the copper piping was stripped clean. Not a single supply pipe in sight except for a 3 to 4 inch crimped nipple at all the mechanical connections.

My fine friend MIKE covered this already I think and answered all your questions. I just wanted to make it clear again that it is not 30" on each side of the interior panel…it is 30" or width of the panel…which ever is greater and in most all cases 30" is greater…:slight_smile:

Just needed to make sure that was CLEAR…

If you are in a flood area FEMA rules say the AC must be above the flood plane, at the same height as the finished floor. I am sure that is what Gerry is thinking about in Clearwater. The water heater needs to be up there too. That is important when it is in a garage in a stemwall house where the garage floor is below “flood”. Usually we see a blocked up pad with a concrete poured surface. It happens when they build the house.