Does the National Electrical Code (NEC) recognize reconditioned electrical equipment, and is such equipment safe? There are many different considerations in this question, and the acceptance of reconditioned electrical equipment often depends on who is providing the answers. For example, a facility owner may have outdated equipment that is no longer being manufactured and may be facing total replacement at high cost. Replacing the electrical equipment with used equipment might be a less costly alternative.
An electrical contractor may have electrical equipment left over from a project or equipment that has been recovered from another building. Would using reconditioned electrical equipment be acceptable to the facility owner, or would the electrical inspector approve the installation? An inspector may determine the use of reconditioned electrical equipment as unacceptable, since the inspector doesn’t know where the equipment originated and whether it has been damaged internally.
At times, used electrical equipment has been installed with all the people involved having full knowledge; at other times, one or more of the parties may have no knowledge. The 2017 NEC has finally recognized “reconditioned, refurbished, or remanufactured” electrical equipment in a number of sections, and it provides some guidelines for equipment identification. The title of 110.3 has been changed to “Examination, Identification, Installation, Use, and Listing (Product Certification) of Equipment.”
In addition, a new informational note in 110.3(A)(1) states, “equipment may be new, reconditioned, refurbished, or remanufactured.” Reconditioning, refurbishing or remanufacturing can be completed by the original manufacturer but often is performed by a company other than the manufacturer. In addition, reconditioned, refurbished or remanufactured equipment must be appropriately marked to show the equipment is not original.
Marking of electrical equipment is required by 110.21(A) and a new subsection, 110.21(B), which covers marking of reconditioned electrical equipment. The general requirement for marking states the manufacturer’s name, trademark or other descriptive marking must be on the product so the organization responsible for the product can be identified. Other markings also are required on the equipment to indicate voltage, current, wattage and other pertinent data as the NEC requires. For example, Section 430.7 requires marking on motor nameplate applications, and 430.8 requires marking on motor controllers.
New Section 110.21(A)(2) requires reconditioned electrical equipment to be marked with the name, trademark or other descriptive marking by which the organization responsible for reconditioning the electrical equipment can be identified, along with the date of the reconditioning. In addition, reconditioned electrical equipment must be identified as “reconditioned,” and approval of the reconditioned equipment must not be based solely on the equipment’s original listing. Also, a new exception dealing with reconditioned equipment states, “in industrial occupancies, where conditions of maintenance and supervision ensure that only qualified persons service the equipment, the markings indicated in 110.21(A)(2) shall not be required.”
An electrical inspector may or may not be involved in the replacement of parts within an industrial facility, depending on the rules, regulations or laws of the municipality. Some municipalities may require industrial facilities to have inspections on all replacement of electrical equipment; others may not.
In Article 517 for healthcare facilities, X-ray equipment installations in 517.75 states all equipment for new X-ray installations and all used or reconditioned X-ray equipment that is moved to and reinstalled at a new location must be of an approved type. For industrial X-ray applications, 660.10 is the same text as stated in 517.75.
Be extremely careful with X-ray equipment, since both 517.70 for healthcare facility X-ray equipment installation and 660.1 for industrial and other nonmedical or dental usage warn that there is nothing in either article that can be construed as specifying safeguards against the useful beam or stray X-ray radiation. In both articles 517 and 660, informational notes state “radiation safety and performance requirements of several classes of X-ray equipment are regulated under Public Law 90-602 and are enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services.”
To get reports published by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement, contact NCRP Publications at 301.657.2652, Ext. 15 or NCRPpubs@NCRPonline.org.
See Electrical Contractor’s November 2017 issue for more articles on reconditioned equipment.