More than 6 hand moves on distribution panels

Are distribution panels subject to the “6 hand moves” disconnect rule? The first photo is of a distribution panel next to a service panel, so even though there were more than 6 breakers, the disconnect was there. The next photo is of a distribution panel in another part of the house (also with more than six breakers). Each distribution panel had a means of disconnect in the main panel.




As long as they are in the same structure no main breaker is required. The breaker in the main is sufficient.

Also, those are not distribution panels. They are “lighting and appliance branch circuit panelboards”. Or more simply, “sub-panels”.
A distribution panel only feeds other panels.

Thanks Pete. I appreciate the reply. I thought that anything downstream was a distribution panel - this is from the Online Electrical Course:

"The panel with the main disconnect is the Service panel, panels down stream (or on the load side) of the service panel are distribution panels.

Or even more appropriately - “load side equipment.” I know, I know, everybody calls them “subpanels.”

The problem comes in the “interpretation” and “definition” of the term - subpanel. The NEC doesn’t recognize the term which makes the interpretation/definition subjective. From what I’ve experienced, with inspectors and electricians, is that there is no real uniformity to what is considered a “main” panel or a “sub” panel.

Just last week, I got a copy of a repair order ($2900) to replace “the main subpanel and meter box with 200 amp disconnect.” This from a licensed EC.

My report recommended replacement of the service equipment :roll:

As I’ve said before, for the HI, it should be “service” equipment or “load side” equipment.

The best wording yet, Thanks Jeff.

Speedy opined…

Personal opinion only,… if the distance is substantial. (i.e.main panel in basement and sub panel in third floor or garage, or shed…) I like to see (persoanally) a sub panel main shut-off. Depending on layout of house/structure I do hesitate to comment on it. One of my pet peeves.

If it was my house and the distance was substantial I would have to agree. What does the NEC have to say?

*Depending on layout of house/structure I do hesitate to comment on it. One of my pet peeves.

*Duh,… I am sorry that should read “I do not hesitate to…”, but you got my meaning. Hic cup, Margiritas be damn… :wink:

Shaken not stirred… :slight_smile:

Actually you should hesitate to comment on it as it is absolutely not code required. By mentioning it you imply there is a problem, or potential problem, that does not exist. I don’t care if the panel is 200’ away in the south wing. As long as it is within the same structure.
This is not fair to the seller who has a completely safe and code compliant installation as it casts doubt on this installation. A personal opinion has no place in a situation like this.

I hear and understand your opinions but they have no basis on code.
An example is; I know a lot of folks who think ALL general circuits in a house should be 20 amp. By stating: 15 is ok for some, but they should really all be 20,… you are implying a problem that is non-existant.

The ESA (Canada) does not say you cannot do it. It is better practice to do it that way. Whether or not the client improves or upgrades is up to him. No it would not be considered to be deal breaker because it optional/discretionary.

It must really twist you up when you understand the service disconnect does not even have to be attached to the house. It can be on a post in the yard as long as it is readily accessible.

The next shoe to drop becomes “is a post a structure”?

I’ve never run into anyone who doesn’t know what a main panel and a subpanel are. Even all the electricians around here talk about main panels and subpanels. There must be a reason.

Therefore, those are the terms that I use in my report. It is up to me as the knowledgable home inspector to determine which panel is the main panel and which panel is the subpanel.

If I were to use “service equipment” and “load side equipment” I’d be getting so many calls for explanations that I wouldn’t have time to do any more home inspections, or my home inspections would run three hours instead of 20 minutes because of all the phone interruptions, or I’d have so many voice mails to listen to and calls to return that I’d never make it to the next inspection on time. Ah, the trials and tribulations of work and life. :margarit:

I personally think that those who fill up their reports with technical jargon are simply trying to justify their fees instead of helping their Clients, but that’s just me. Determine one’s own level of comfort and, along with input from one’s attorneys and insurance providers, decide on an inspection protocol, business protocol, and, of course, report writing protocols.

I personally prefer to not confuse my Clients, so I always try to use words that they understand. If I have to use technical jargon (such as TPR valve), then I also use a photo to show them what it is. Can you imagine me putting a photo of service equipment and load side equipment in the report? There’s two useless photos for you. Client: “Oh, the main panel. Why didn’t he just say ‘main panel’?”

Can’t remember the last time I saw a service shut-off at the pole. I think the last one I saw was a thousand years ago and even then it was a 35 amp service.

My problem has always been just who is it readily accessible for?

When the service disconnect is in a basement utility room 50 floors below me behind several sets of locked doors and accessible only to the maintenance guy who works 8-5 M-F, that’s not what I call readily accessible.

There apparently were so many home inspectors calling out such stupidity in one of our high rises here that the builder came back in and put service disconnects in all the “main panels” in each unit.

Article 100 tries to help you sort this out.

I rest my case.

Not sure what you’re resting, but you probably need the rest. :wink:

I’m quite familiar with Article 100, but as we all know, sometimes even the codes are stupid, which, I believe, is one of the reasons why they change every three years or so.

Individual units don’t have “main” panels. They have “load side equipment” which may be referred to as remote panels or even lighting panels.

You cannot disconnect the “service” from the remote panel located within a unit.

From the NEC

Service. The conductors and equipment for delivering electric energy from the serving utility to the wiring system of the premises served.