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Reconditioned electrical equipment, a 2020 NEC® Guide

The 2017 edition of the NEC added a new informational note to Section 110.3(A)(1) stating “Equipment may be new, reconditioned, refurbished, or remanufactured” while a new subsection was added to Section 110.21(A) that addressed equipment marking for reconditioned equipment.

Electrical Panel
August 29, 2019

Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ’s) are responsible for determining whether an installation, including equipment that may be new or reconditioned, is safe and meets the applicable codes and standards. For many years the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) was relatively silent on the use of rebuilt and reconditioned equipment. The 2017 edition of the NEC added a new informational note to Section 110.3(A)(1) stating “Equipment may be new, reconditioned, refurbished, or remanufactured” while a new subsection was added to Section 110.21(A) that addressed equipment marking for reconditioned equipment. NEC Section 110.21(A)(2) requires reconditioned equipment to be marked with the name, trademark, or other descriptive marking by which the organization responsible for reconditioning the electrical equipment could be identified along with the date of the reconditioning. In addition to the marking requirements, Section 110.21(A)(2) makes it clear that approval of the reconditioned equipment shall not be based solely on the equipment’s original listing. With the addition of these sections to the 2017 NEC questions arose regarding what type of electrical equipment was suitable for rebuilding, reconditioning and remanufacturing as well as a clear understanding of what constitutes “reconditioned”.

During the 2020 NEC development process multiple revisions to the NEC were approved to address the aforementioned issues. One of the key revisions was a definition of “Reconditioned” which is now defined in Article 100 as “Electromechanical systems, equipment, apparatus, or components that are restored to operating conditions. This process differs from normal servicing of equipment that remains within a facility, or replacement of listed equipment on a one-to-one basis. (CMP-10).” This definition clearly differentiates between routine maintenance and servicing of electrical equipment in accordance with any manufacturer’s instructions and electrical equipment that has undergone rebuilding or reconditioning to restore it to operating conditions.

Another significant revision was to Section 110.21(A)(2). This section was revised to require removal of the original listing mark on reconditioned electrical equipment. The Certification (Listing) Mark from UL is the manufacturer’s declaration that the product was manufactured in accordance with the applicable certification requirements and was in compliance with those requirements when it was shipped from a factory. When equipment is modified, rebuilt or reconditioned after it leaves a factory, UL does not know if a product continues to meet the applicable certification requirements unless the modification or reconditioning has been specifically evaluated by UL. Removing the original Certification (Listing) Mark ensures that approval of the reconditioned electrical equipment is not be based on the equipment’s original Certification (Listing), which inherently cannot address the specific reconditioning that later occurs to the equipment. It is also important to understand that this revision does not require that the entire equipment label be removed. The equipment label contains important information such as voltage ratings, short circuit current ratings and other information critical for proper installation of electrical equipment. A new Informational Note No 3. was added to Section 110.21(A)(2) to clarify the distinction between the listing mark and equipment label.

Not all electrical equipment is suitable to be reconditioned, rebuilt or remanufactured due to its design features or critical role in safety. The 2020 NEC has specifically identified the following types of equipment are not permitted to be reconditioned:

  • Equipment that provides ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel (210.15)
  • Equipment that provides arc-fault circuit-interrupter protection (210.15)
  • Equipment that provides branch-circuit ground-fault protection of equipment (210.15)
  • Low-voltage fuseholders and low-voltage nonrenewable fuses (240.62)
  • Molded-case circuit breakers (240.88(A)(1))
  • Low-voltage power circuit breaker electronic trip units (240.88(B))
  • Medium-voltage fuseholders and medium-voltage nonrenewable fuses (240.102)
  • Receptacles (406.3(A))
  • Attachments plugs, cord connectors, and flanged surface devices (406.7)
  • Panelboards (408.8(A))
  • Luminaires, lampholders and retrofit kits (410.7)
  • Listed low-voltage lighting systems or a lighting system assembled from listed parts (411.4)
  • Fire pump controllers (695.10)
  • Transfer switches (695.10, 700.5(C), 701.5(C), 702.5(A), 708.24(A))

Additionally, the 2020 NEC has identified specific types of electrical equipment that can be reconditioned including:

  • Low-and medium-voltage power circuit breakers (240.88(A)(2))
  • High-voltage circuit breakers (240.88(A)(3))
  • Electromechanical protective relays and current transformers (240.88(B)(2))
  • Switchboards and switchgear, or sections of switchboards and switchgear (408.8(B), 490.49)

Reconditioned equipment permitted by Sections 240.88, 408.8(B) and 490.49 must be listed as reconditioned. Switchboards and switchgear or sections of switchboards and switchgear are additionally permitted to be field labeled as reconditioned.

Note that the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, NEMA, has published the NEMA Policy on Reconditioned Electrical Equipment. This document contains important information on industry positions relative to the suitability and safety of reconditioned equipment in the electrical infrastructure, and processes for accomplishing the reconditioning of suitable equipment.

UL has a longstanding rebuilt equipment certification program for specific types of products that are fully evaluated to the same safety requirements used to evaluate newly constructed products. The general guide information for each product category with a rebuilt certification program identifies the applicable requirements and the specific marking for products rebuilt under the program. Only rebuilt products that bear the UL Mark together with the word "Rebuilt," "Refurbished," "Remanufactured," "Reconditioned" or "Renovated" have been investigated by UL to the applicable certification requirements and comply with UL’s factory surveillance requirements for the qualified rebuilder.

To find more information regarding UL’s reconditioned electrical equipment program or to search for Certified (Listed) reconditioned electrical equipment please visit UL Product iQ™. The UL Product iQ database is the next generation of UL’s online certifications database. Access to Product iQ is free, but registration is required. Additionally, UL may be able to provide field evaluations for electrical equipment that has been reconditioned in the field. For more information on UL’s field evaluation services contact UL’s customer service at 877-854-3577 or www.ul.com/field.

Summary

The 2020 NEC has taken multiple steps to address the safe use of reconditioned electrical equipment.  These steps include creating a definition of “reconditioned” and requiring the removal of the original listing mark when equipment undergoes reconditioning to clarify the technical aspects of the approval. There were multiple revisions to identify specific electrical equipment that can and cannot be reconditioned. UL has established a reconditioned (rebuilt) certification program for a multitude of products when it can be demonstrated that the equipment can be reconditioned by qualified parties and continue to meet the requirements of the applicable safety standard. UL can provide field evaluation services for permitted types of electrical equipment that has been reconditioned in the field.

For more information, please contact [email protected].

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