Wire and Protection Changes: Significant Changes in the 2020 NEC, Part 4

Two construction workers working together.

Part 4 of this series focuses on revisions in Chapter 2 of the 2020 NEC, “Wiring and Protection.” This article looks at some significant changes in Articles 210, 215, 230, 240 and 250.

Section 210.8 GFCI Protection for Personnel

Section 210.8 has been significantly revised. The measuring distance from receptacles has been modified and clarified. Doors or doorways do not eliminate ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) requirements.

Section 210.8(C) for boat hoists has been relocated into 555.9, and a new informational note has been added providing that reference to 555.9.

Sections 210.8(D), (E), (F) GFCI Protection for Personnel

Existing 210.8(D) has been deleted, and GFCI requirements for dishwashers are expanded and relocated to Section 422.5. A new 210.8(D) references 422.5 to coordinate GFCI protection for appliances. A new 210.8(E) references 210.63, requiring GFCI protection for receptacles at equipment requiring servicing and new (F) includes general GFCI requirements for outdoor outlets other than those in 210.8(A).

Section 215.10 Exception

New Exception No. 3 permits temporary feeders to be installed without ground-fault protection for equipment but is limited to the time necessary to repair and maintain equipment, which may not exceed 90 days.

Section 230.46 Spliced and Tapped Conductors

The requirement for marking power distribution blocks used on service conductors is moved from 314.28(E)(1) to 230.46. All power distribution blocks, pressure connectors and devices for splices and taps of service conductors must be listed and identified for that use. They shall be marked “suitable for use on the line side of the service equipment or equivalent.” It becomes effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Section 230.62(C) Barriers

The barrier requirements of 408.3(A)(2) are relocated and expanded in new 230.62(C). All service equipment is now required to be provided with barriers to prevent line-side inadvertent contact. This includes, but is not limited to, panelboards, switchboards, switchgear, motor control centers, individual circuit breaker enclosures, transfer switches and fused disconnects that are suitable for use as service equipment.

Section 230.67 Surge Protection

A new Section 230.67 requires services supplying dwelling units to be provided with a surge protective device (SPD). The SPD must be located in or next to the service equipment. An exception permits an alternate location provided an SPD is located at each next-level distribution equipment downstream toward the load. All of the requirements in this new section apply where original existing service equipment is replaced.

Section 230.71(B) Two to Six Service Disconnecting Means

The requirements in 230.71(B) permitting up to six service disconnects are significantly revised to restrict this arrangement from being incorporated into a single enclosure. Panelboards, for example, must be provided with a single main in each enclosure.

Sections 230.71(B)(1)-(4) outline the continued permitted methods for two to six service disconnects.

Sections 240.67(C) and 240.87(C) Performance Testing

Sections 240.67 and 240.87 provide requirements for arc-energy reduction in circuits of 1,200 amperes and greater. New subdivision (C) in both sections requires that arc--energy-reduction methods be -performance-tested when first installed on-site. The testing must be performed by qualified people in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and a written record of this testing must be made available to the authority having jurisdiction.

Section 250.25 Grounding Systems Permitted to Be Connected to the Supply Side of the Service Disconnect

A new section 250.25, “Grounding Systems Permitted to Be Connected on the Supply Side of the Disconnect” has been added in Part II of Article 250. This section references the appropriate rules in Section 250.24. The new section provides rules for grounding of systems connected to the supply side of the service disconnect as permitted in 230.82. The new section address systems supplied by grounded and ungrounded utility sources.

Section 250.104 Bonding of Piping Systems and Exposed Structural Metal

The words “except that it shall not be required to be larger than 3/0 copper or 250 kcmil aluminum or copper-clad aluminum” have been restored within this section. Bonding jumper sizes do not have to exceed 3/0 AWG copper or 250 kcmil aluminum as appeared in the 2014 NEC and prior editions. The informational note references to NFPA 54 and NFPA 780 have been updated.

This series continues next month.

About the Author

Michael Johnston

Executive Director of Standards and Safety, NECA

Michael Johnston is NECA’s executive director of standards and safety. He is chair of the NEC Correlating Committee; chair of the NFPA Electrical Section; and a member of the IBEW, NFPA Education Section and the UL Electrical Council. Reach him at mj...

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