New Year, New NEC: Three Big Changes Coming In National Electric Code
The Changes In National Electirc Code (NEC), adopted by all 50 states, establishes the minimum standards to protect people and property from electrical hazards in cases of design, installation, and inspection, and every three years revises its codes. The time has come again for revisions to the NEC, and the 2020 standards present some significant Changes In National Electric Code of which you should be aware.
Surge Protection Devices By Changes In National Electirc Code
Studies estimate that “the average home has $15,000 worth of equipment that can be damaged by surges,” which means the 2020 NEC has focused significant attention on the use of surge protection devices (SPD). For new and replaced service equipment, the revised NEC requires Type 1 or Type 2 SPDs be used in dwellings to protect devices and appliances not covered by point-of-use SPDs.
Type 1 SPD: A permanent SPD to be installed between the secondary winding of the transformer that delivers changed voltage to the load and the line side of service disconnect overcurrent devices, such as Magnetic circuit breakers, fuses and overcurrent relays.
Type 2 SPD: Also a permanent SPD, the Type 2 is intended for installation on the load side of the service disconnect overcurrent device. This includes SPDs located at the brand panel.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
Several documented cases of children killed in home electrical accidents, such as a child in Oklahoma who was electrocuted while trying to retrieve a pet from behind a clothes dryer, have drawn attention to the need for expanded use of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI), the safety devices that trip electrical circuits when they detect ground faults or leakage currents.
The revised 2020 NEC now requires the use of GFCIs in all 125-volt through 250-volt receptacles supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150-volts or less to ground 11 locations in the house, including bathrooms, garages, outdoor receptacles, crawl spaces, basements, kitchens and anything within six feet of a sink or water source. (Please see NEC section 210.8(A)(1) through (A)(11) for a complete list of locations.)
Outdoor Emergency Disconnects for Dwelling Units
First responders and utility workers have not previously been able to safely shut down power to dwellings in times of crisis, so the 2020 NEC has added new code requiring emergency power disconnects be installed in easily accessible areas outside dwellings. Whether the disconnect is newly installed or existed previously, it must be clearly marked as both an emergency disconnect and a service disconnect.
Emergency disconnects can be of three types: 1. an actual service disconnect; 2. a meter disconnect (installation must meet standards outline in 230.82(3) of NEC); or 3. other NEC approved disconnect switches or circuit breakers on the supply side of each service disconnect that are suitable for use as service equipment.
As you plan your next project, keep in mind these Changes In National Electirc Code in code and come to the job site prepared with the equipment you need and armed with the awareness of what will be required of you to meet code.