Terminal Insulator kits

So I’ve seen similar to these in Industrial panels and specifically, pretty much any panel in Germany. I’m sure German Safety Law insists on them, but this is the first I’ve run into it on a residential inspection here in the US. Granted I’ve only been in hundreds, not thousands of residential panels.

This home was built in 2021, so it’s fairly recent construction. I have inspected newer homes that don’t have them.

I was just curious if it’s somewhere in the IRC or something. or upcoming NEC versions Looking up this kit, it’s $35 for these insulator boots, so few companies are going to install them unless they have to.

I’m not suggesting they are a bad thing, as they will certainly help prevent any accidental contact with the main lugs. The panel was wired pretty good with only one mistake. The wire on the AC condenser breaker was not cut short enough and stuck out. I don’t understand how they would care enough to put on the insulators, bend everything all nice, label it, and flub it on the breaker.

It has been required for service panelboards since it was added to the 2017 NEC. Now they typically come with the panel for free if it’s a type that is used as service equipment.

408.3(A)(2) Service Panelboards, Switchboards, and Switchgear. Barriers shall be placed in all service panelboards, switchboards, and switchgear such that no uninsulated, ungrounded service busbar or service terminal is exposed to inadvertent contact by persons or maintenance equipment while servicing load terminations.

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Florida adopted the 2017 NEC with the 2020 FBC. So in Florida any home permitted after Dec 31 2020 it required.

Hmm. I’ve done at least 4 11 month inspections and they don’t have the boots. Different AHJ than this one though.

I realize we’re not code enforcers, what’s the call out on this one then? (I did call out all the paint overspray all over by the way, it was all through the panel)

For example…

Here’s a home that was completed in January of 23 on an inspection a few weeks ago. Permitted in 22 I would assume. I just checked the other three 11 month inspections I did in the same area, none have the boots.

If the jurisdiction enforces the NEC then the insulators should be on the line side terminals of the breaker. It’s anyone’s guess as to why this isn’t being enforced. Could just be ignorance.

This was added to the NEC for the safety of someone working on the panel with the main breaker in the off position so that there are no exposed live parts. Even though a home inspection is not a code inspection IMO it should be mentioned in the report.

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I wouldn’t bother calling it out. Not a safety defect for the homeowner and quite likely passed by the AHJ. Be hard to write up, hard to explain, and harder still to convince.

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Robert… Could it just be a misunderstanding of the requirement?
As I understand the OP’s post and question, he is specifically referring to the (Rubber) boots protecting the conductor connections.
As I understand the NEC requirement, and have often observed in (real) life applications… there are (plastic) “shields” placed over the entire connection block.
Does the NEC care HOW protection is provided, as long as it IS protected?

No. The manufacturer can make the insulator any way they choose.

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Did another 11 month today. No insulator kits. Final approval was jan 10, 2023.

It must be not adopted or enforced in The Villages. Maybe the electrical inspecter is Blind Sam The Rubber Stamp man.

So, what did you write?

I didn’t write anything relative to that. I’m not a code inspector. It’s just like the last 100+ panels I’ve been in, except that one.

It’s clearly not being enforced in the area I’m working since I’ve had at least a dozen homes built after 2020.

I have however asked a family member who is on the town council for one of the towns(the largest) in my area to see if I can get clarity from the town inspector. Yes, I could call directly, but they’d probably ignore me. Coming from the council helps.

As far as a home owner goes, the vast majority of my customers are 65+ and wouldn’t open a panel for any reason, so it’s not like it’s a concern for them.

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I just installed two of them today.

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I do happen to like it. Turn off the main breaker and you have to work pretty hard to injure yourself or others.

Does it really improve anything? or Does it simply allow you to be a little less cautious? The number of people out there that aren’t safe to work with simply grows with these little “safety” features.

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For Harry homeowner it does add a margin of safety while he’s poking around in there with the main open. IMO he shouldn’t be working in there in the first place but that’s a different discussion. For a professional electrician probably not so much because he is more than likely not going to shut off the main breaker anyway so the entire bus and breaker load terminals will be hot.

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I have added circuits, like HVAC and all sorts of other mods to panels, residential and commercial. On industrial panels, we worked on panels energized 90% of the time but when we were pulling something fairly thick and stiff along that end of the panel, it was just nice knowing you couldn’t brush a knuckle against it. Gloves worn when we had to, but it really wrecks dexterity.

In industrial, there’s always an upstream disconnect somewhere, but then you’re killing part of the production floor.

In residential, unless you get the utility to pull the meter or something further upstream, not much you can do but avoid it so in cases where you’re at that end of the panel and a service interruption isn’t feasible, I like this. Safety is layers, work habits are one, but if you can put a barrier here and it’s not expensive, why not.

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Exactly, I’ve had more than one buyer tell me that they they’ll turn off the main/disconnect before they remove the cover, I then tell them that the panel will still be energized and I recommend that they call a Sparky for any electrical work that needs to be done, I also tell them that people that think they know what they’re doing when working around the house, keep people like me gainfully employed. :grinning:

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At least they’re thinking about safety which is a good thing. Most homeowners are not qualified to even be in there with the cover off but as I said prior that’s a different discussion.

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This is how we do it in the sticks.
(From inspection today).

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You use what you have. Even if it’s C-4.

Yes… I know. It’s thumb gum.

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