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NEC Requirements For Reconditioned Power Equipment

Most facilities that install backup power systems do so because the loads they serve are either life-safety or legally required systems or they are vital to the effectiveness of facility operations. Consequently, the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) poses stringent standards for reconditioning electrical equipment. The following sections outline the requirements.

History of Regulation

Prior to the 2017 Edition, the NEC did not specifically regulate the reconditioning of electrical equipment. To address the issue, the 2017 Edition added Article 110.3(A) stating:

In judging equipment, considerations such as the following shall be evaluated: (1) Suitability for installation and use in conformity with this Code
Informational Note No. 1: Equipment may be new, reconditioned, refurbished, or remanufactured.

The term reconditioned was clarified in the 2020 NEC. There, Article 100 defines reconditioned 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.

Informational Note: The term reconditioned is frequently referred to as rebuilt, refurbished, or remanufactured.

Additional Provisions of the 2020 NEC

Additional 2020 NEC requirements relate to the marking of reconditioned equipment. They also specify requirements for reconditioning as well as the types of equipment that are permitted or excluded from reconditioning activities.

Equipment Markings

The 2020 NEC requires that equipment labeling provides clear information about the status of the equipment and the organization that completed the work. Article 110.21 states: 

Reconditioned equipment shall 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.

Reconditioned equipment shall be identified as “reconditioned” and the original listing mark removed. Approval of the reconditioned equipment shall not be based solely on the equipment’s original listing.

Notably, the Article requires removal of the mark of the original listing agency, typically Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Without this mark, the equipment will not pass inspection by an Authority Having Jurisdiction. This requires that the reconditioning organization have the equipment independently relisted by the agency after presumably demonstrating it remains compliant with the provisions of the current version of the standard as well as the original manufacturer’s specifications and ratings.

Reconditioning Requirements

The reconditioning of switchboards, switchgear, and panelboards are addressed by Article 408 of the 2020 NEC. This section allows the reconditioning of switchboards and switchgear but not panelboards. Certain exceptions are made for panelboards inside enclosures. Any reconditioning must be completed in accordance with instructions from the original manufacturer using only design qualified parts. Equipment that has been damaged by water, products of combustion, or fire must be evaluated by its manufacturer or a qualified laboratory before return to service.

Permitted Equipment Types

As noted, switchgear and switchboards are permitted to be reconditioned. However, the code goes to great lengths to exclude transfer switches from reconditioning. The statement, “Automatic transfer switches shall not be permitted to be reconditioned,” is presented for Emergency Systems in Article 700.5 and for Legally Required Systems in Article 701.5. Notably, only automatic transfer switches can satisfy the provisions of these chapters. Reconditioned transfer switches of any type cannot be used elsewhere in regulated facilities – Article 702.5(A) and Article 708.24(A) forbid their use in Optional Systems and Critical Operations Power Systems, respectively.

Supporting Guidance By Other Standards Organizations

Other industry groups support the NEC provisions regarding equipment reconditioning. In particular, the National Equipment Manufacturers Association (NEMA) maintains a position paper regarding this activity. NEMA CS 100-2020 - NEMA Technical Position on Reconditioned Equipment specifically supports the NEC approach. Interestingly, that document notes that reconditioning might be considered for reasons such as sustainability or safeguarding the environment. Nevertheless, the document expands on the NEC lists of equipment that should and should not be reconditioned. Both the NEMA document and a related article by Underwriters Laboratories provide useful material on this topic. Review Reconditioned Electrical Equipment, A 2020 NEC® Guide for further insight.


The inherent criticality of backup power systems demands equipment with only the highest levels of power reliability and availability. Consequently, the NEC prohibits the use of certain reconditioned equipment, and sets a necessarily high standard for reconditioning other equipment types. This approach is supported by NEMA and UL. In particular, NEMA guidance extends this approach to types of equipment not addressed by the NEC. For further information, contact an ASCO Power Technologies representative.


NFPA 70 - National Electrical Code, National Fire Protection Agency, 2020 Edition.

NEMA CS 100-2020 - NEMA Technical Position on Reconditioned Equipment, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, 2020

Reconditioned Electrical Equipment, A 2020 NEC® Guide, Underwriters Laboratories,
August 29, 2019. https://www.ul.com/news/reconditioned-electrical-equipment-2020-nec-guide, viewed October 12, 2020.