Six Breaker Rule/Disconnect

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Old 02-02-17, 07:48 PM
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Six Breaker Rule/Disconnect

Some in the past here have posted the 6-breaker rule applies to the actual number of installed breakers other have said no it is the number of circuits a box is rated for even if six breakers or less are installed. Looking on the net it gets very confusing and I know in the end it is the local AHJ's call but just wondering what the pros here think.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-02-17 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 02-02-17, 08:19 PM
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I am on the side of what is installed , not future usages.
 
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Old 02-02-17, 10:06 PM
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Well, even on that other electrical only Forum with the initials MH, they have some lively discussions of the same issue. Most went with what's installed, but a few went with what COULD be installed.

I guess you need to know your inspectors preferences.
 
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Old 02-02-17, 11:05 PM
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Yes, I checked MH before posting this and saw both sides represented.
 
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Old 02-03-17, 05:33 AM
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I have never thought it was the number of breakers in an enclosure,but rather the number of operations to disconnect a service.
Copied from '14 “230.71 Maximum Number of Disconnects.
(A) General. The service disconnecting means for each service permitted by 230.2, or for each set of service-entrance conductors permitted by 230.40, Exception No. 1, 3, 4, or 5, shall consist of not more than six switches or sets of circuit breakers, or a combination of not more than six switches and sets of circuit breakers, mounted in a single enclosure, in a group of separate enclosures, or in or on a switchboard or in switchgear. There shall be not more than six sets of disconnects per service grouped in any one location.”

Excerpt From: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). “NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), 2014 Edition.” NFPA. iBooks.
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Old 02-03-17, 06:54 AM
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I agree that the standard should be applied to what is actually installed. Any future uses would be covered by a new design, permit and inspection which, at that time, would identify any code problems created by the proposed work including service limitations. Further there is no reason a "service" needs to be a factory-built breaker panel other than it's convenient to do it that way. A wiring gutter and collection of fuse holders can be a service per code, and that is infinitely expandable.
 
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Old 02-03-17, 07:14 PM
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I am in the what is "currently installed" camp. Any modifications done to the wiring would be required to follow any codes that apply at that time.
 
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Old 02-04-17, 04:30 AM
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Hi Ray, what is the code rule you are referring to? I thought it was for service disconnects please correct me.
Geo
 
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Old 02-04-17, 05:23 AM
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You sited the correct code reference Geo.
 
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Old 02-04-17, 11:18 AM
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I thought it was for service disconnects please correct me.
Yes and that adds to my confusion. It is often used here including by me referring to subpanels in detached structures and I was trying to find out if I was misinformed.
 
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Old 02-04-17, 11:32 AM
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A means of disconnect is required at detached structures if served by a feeder and not a multiwire or single circuit. Seems that the same rule as as service is applied.
 
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Old 02-04-17, 04:07 PM
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The requirement for a disconnect at other structures supplied by a feeder is covered under NEC 225 II, Sections 225.31, 32, & 33.
 
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Old 02-04-17, 05:41 PM
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225.33 Maximum Number of Disconnects.
(A) General. The disconnecting means for each supply
permitted by 225.30 shall consist of not more than six
switches or six circuit breakers mounted in a single enclo-
sure, in a group of separate enclosures, or in or on a switch-board. There shall be no more than six disconnects per
supply grouped in any one location.
Strict interpretation I would say is at the time of inspection and means even if more than six breakers can be used you are limited to six breakers till you add another means of disconnect. I use to write it that way in answers but was occasionally "corrected". I will just make myself more clear in the future. Such as:
You will be limited to six circuits if you don't use a disconnect for the feed to the panel even if there is room for more circuits.
 
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Old 02-05-17, 06:44 AM
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You will be limited to six circuits if you don't use a disconnect for the feed to the panel even if there is room for more circuits.
I would not say circuits because someone could use multibranch circuits and have 12 circuits with using only 6 double pole beakers. A double pole or two singles with a handle tie is considered one switch. I'd say "Breakers".
 
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Old 02-05-17, 08:22 AM
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Thanks. I originally wrote breakers but then I thought some would think two handle tied breakers were counted as two breakers. Trying to keep the explanation as simple ans short as possible for newbies but breakers has a good ring to it.
 
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Old 02-05-17, 09:44 AM
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I am in the what is "currently installed" camp. Any modifications done to the wiring would be required to follow any codes that apply at that time.
The several jurisdictions I am familiar with interpret the code just the opposite and go by the number of breakers that "COULD" be installed and not what actually is installed at time of final inspection. That could perhaps be what they viewed as the intent of the code. I believe they were also always afraid someone would come along and install more circuits without a permit/inspection. Let's face it, a ton of electrical work is installed every day with no permit/inspection. For that reason, I have always gone that way, but I will agree that the code doesn't specifically say that the enclosure must not be able to accept more than 6 breakers.
 
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