How To Look At A House
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Can the disconnect for an air handler be inside it?
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
The disconnect for an air handler can be inside it (as in photo above), on it, next to it, or within sight—but must be readily accessible wherever it is located. An example of “in sight” would be if there is a panel with the breaker for the air handler in it that is nearby and has a clear sightline to the unit. A lock-out device on a breaker in a panel that is not within sight is not acceptable. The disconnect can be a switch, breaker, or pull-type disconnect box. Theoretically, a cord that could be unplugged from a wall receptacle would also work, although we have never seen it done.
The National Electrical Code (NEC 440.14) states it this way: “Disconnecting means must be located within sight from, and readily accessible from the air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment. The disconnecting means shall be permitted to be installed on or within the air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment. The disconnecting means shall not be located on panels that are designed to allow access to the air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment or to obscure the equipment nameplate(s)."
Also see our blog post When was a disconnect within sight of an air conditioner or heat pump first required?
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To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:
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