210.63 Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Outlet

Article 210 specifies provisions for all branch circuits except for branch circuits supplying only motor loads, which are covered in Article 430. Branch circuits with combination loads (motor and non-motor) must be installed in accordance with Articles 210 and 430. Specific-purpose branch circuits must meet the provisions in Article 210 and also any applicable provisions in other articles. Table 210.2 provides a directory of specific equipment, as well as the applicable article or section(s). This directory includes 27 categories of equipment, from air-conditioning to X-ray. The requirements in Table 210.2 amend (or supplement) the requirements in Article 210. For example, branch circuits supplying air-conditioning and refrigerating equipment must be installed in accordance with the provisions in Article 210 as well as the provisions in 440.6, 440.31 and 440.32.

Requirements pertaining to heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment are located in various sections and articles throughout the Code. While fixed electric space-heating equipment has its own article (Article 424), central heating equipment does not. Electric-motor-driven air-conditioning and refrigerating equipment provisions are covered in Article 440. Besides the articles and sections listed in Table 210.2 and Article 210, heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment must be installed in accordance with other provisions. For example, the size of conductor must be selected from Tables 310.16 through 310.19. The installation of the raceway (or cable) supplying the equipment must meet all applicable provisions in Chapter 3. With the new organization of Chapter 3 in the 2002 edition, all cable articles are grouped together and all conduit (and tubing) articles are grouped together. While cable articles are 320 through 340, circular raceway articles are 342 through 362.

Provisions stipulating the placement of receptacle outlets are covered in 210.52 through 210.63. The only remaining section in Article 210 (not discussed in this series) contains receptacle placement requirements for heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HACR) equipment. A 125V, single-phase, 15 or 20A-rated receptacle outlet must be installed at an accessible location for the servicing of HACR equipment. This provision not only applies to all locations, it applies to all occupancies. The required receptacle must be located on the same level and within 25 feet (7.5 m) of the equipment. (See Figure 1.)

This section contains some significant changes from previous editions of the Code. Before, this requirement only pertained to rooftops, attics and crawl spaces. Now, regardless of the equipment’s location, an accessible receptacle is required. It must be on the same level and located within 25 feet (7.5 m) of the HACR equipment. For example, an air-conditioning unit is located on the side of a one-family dwelling. The required outdoor receptacles on the front and back of the house are more than 25 feet from the air-conditioning unit. While the requirements in 210.52(E) for outdoor outlets have been satisfied, the air-conditioning equipment outlet provision has not. Therefore, another receptacle outlet must be installed. (See Figure 2.)

If the required outlet installed on the front or back of the house is on the same level and within 25 feet (7.5 m) of the air-conditioning (or heating) equipment, no additional outlet is required. For example, an air-conditioning unit is located on the side of a one-family dwelling. The required outdoor receptacles are at the front and back of the dwelling. The receptacle on the back of the house is on the same level and within 25 feet of the equipment. Therefore, no additional receptacle outlet is required. (See Figure 3.) Section 210.63 does not require a dedicated receptacle outlet just for servicing HACR equipment. As shown by this example, a 125V, single-phase, 15 or 20A receptacle outlet can satisfy more than one Code requirement.

If a receptacle is within 25 feet of the equipment, but not on the same level, it cannot be counted as the required equipment outlet. For example, an air-conditioning unit is located on the back of a one-family dwelling adjacent to the deck. The dwelling’s back entrance, located on the deck, is accessible from ground level. The deck is four feet above ground level. The required receptacle on the back of the house is on the wall by the back door. Although the receptacle is within 25 feet of the air-conditioner, it is not on the same level. To comply with 210.63, a receptacle must be installed on the same level as the equipment. (See Figure 4.)

In previous editions of the Code, this section contained an exception. No receptacle was required if the heating, air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment was located on the rooftop of a one- or two-family dwelling. In the 2002 edition, this exception was removed. Since the exception was deleted, a receptacle outlet must now be installed at an accessible location for the servicing of rooftop equipment on one- and two-family dwellings. (See Figure 5.)

If the HACR equipment outlet is installed outdoors in a wet location, the enclosure must be weatherproof at all times. As stipulated in 406.8(B)(1), all 15 and 20A, 125 and 250V receptacles installed outdoors in a wet location must have an enclosure that is weatherproof whether the attachment plug cap is inserted or not. This was another change in the 2002 edition. In the previous Code edition, a receptacle installed in a wet location where the product intended to be plugged into it was attended while in use (e.g., portable tools, etc.) required an enclosure that was weatherproof only when the attachment plug was removed. Since receptacles installed for equipment servicing were only in use while attended, bubble-type outlet covers were not required. Now, regardless of the receptacle’s intended purpose, if located outdoors in a wet location, it must be equipped with a cover that is weatherproof whether the attachment plug is inserted or removed. (See Figure 6.)

One receptacle can serve more than one unit because it is not required to locate a receptacle at each unit. One receptacle outlet can serve all the HACR equipment located within its 25-foot (7.5-meter) radius. For example, a commercial occupancy has five units located on the roof. One receptacle has been installed on the air-conditioner unit in the center. The other four units are within 25 feet of the receptacle installed on the center unit. Since a receptacle is within the required distance of each unit, no additional receptacles are required. (See Figure 7.) While it is possible to connect this receptacle outlet to various sources, it is not permissible to connect it to the load side of the disconnecting means supplying the equipment.

Next month’s In Focus will start a new series on required lighting outlets. EC

MILLER, owner of Lighthouse Educational Services, teaches classes and seminars on the electrical industry. He is the author of “Illustrated Guide to the National Electrical Code” and NFPA’s “Electrical Reference.” He can be reached at 615.333-3336, charles@charlesRmiller.com or www.charlesRmiller.com.