Inspection Training

How to Inspect the AC Electrical Disconnect

When the inspector is at the air conditioning unit the electrical disconnect needs to be evaluated. This disconnect needs to be within sight and not more than 50 feet away from the air conditioning unit. Please review the complete procedure below.



International Standards of Practice for Performing a General Home Inspection


3.5. Cooling


I. The inspector shall inspect:



II. The inspector shall describe:



III. The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

B. If the cooling system was deemed inaccessible.


IV. The inspector is not required to:


Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector will check the electrical disconnect for the air conditioner at the exterior of the home to make sure it is secure and within sight.


Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the AC Electrical Disconnect.


  • While inspecting the air conditioner you want to look for the AC Electrical Disconnect. It should be within sight and not more than 50 feet away. It needs to have its own panel box or be located in the electrical panel.
    • Disconnecting Means:

      Article 440 requires you to locate the disconnecting means within sight of, and readily accessible from, the air-conditioning or refrigerating equipment (Figure 440-2). “Within sight” means visible from, and not more than 50 ft from, each other [Article 100] (Figure 440-4). You can install the disconnecting means on or within the air-conditioning or refrigerating equipment-but not on the access panels (Figure 440-3).

      This requirement has two exceptions:

      1. You can lock the switch open if the equipment is essential to an industrial process and the installation meets certain requirements.
      2. Where a plug and receptacle serve as the disconnecting means, they must be accessible. But they need not be readily accessible.


  • You will want to make sure the electrical lines that go from the unit to the disconnect are secure and not damaged.
  • Next you will want to lift the cover up of the electrical disconnect. Make sure to be very careful when opening this up in the Summer because you can run into wasp nests.
  • At this point, if everything looks good you will take a picture of the AC Electrical Disconnect with the panel cover open.

Common Defects

  • The electrical disconnect has a damaged panel, exposed wires, is loose, not present, or is not within the line of sight from the air conditioner.


Common Mistakes

  • Not lifting the cover of the electrical disconnect to check the inside and take picture.
  • Not checking the electrical lines to make sure that they are secured.


Report / Software


  • The electrical disconnect was located [word 1]. Although it was not operated, it appeared to be in serviceable condition at the time of the inspection.
    • Location:
      • Condensing Unit
      • Electrical Panel


  • N/A


  • There was no electrical disconnect at the air- conditioner condenser cabinet. A disconnect is required unless the condenser is within 50 feet of and within the line of sight of the main electrical panel. The inspector recommends installation of an electrical disconnect by a qualified contractor.


  • The electrical disconnect for the air conditioning condenser [word 1]. A qualified contractor should evaluate and repair or replace as necessary.
    • Damaged Panel
    • Exposed Wires
    • Loose
    • Loose Panel
    • Not Present
    • Not Within Line of Sight