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I have had occasion recently to test the wiring of a residential building for damage from a lightning strike. I opened all the breakers, removed all the loads, opened the panel, and meggered each hot circuit to neutral, and 220V circuits from hot to hot. Many of the results maxed out my meter at 275 megaohms, but some did not. I got quite a few results ranging from 20 megaohms to 200 megaohms. I got a few as low as 1 megaohm. Since those were on kitchen circuits, I suspect contamination of the receptacles.

But this leads me to ask: how low is too low? Much below one megaohm I'd start to worry about heating. But I can't find any standard saying "thou shalt". The best I've seen is ANSI/NETA MTS, which I can get an older 2011 copy of. http://www.iemworldwide.com/pdf/ansi-neta-mts-2011.pdf

Table 100.1 recommends a resistance of at least 25 megaohms on circuits of 250 volts. But it also says that there's no consensus standard, or at least there wasn't in 2011.

Is there a better answer than that?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Many times I ask myself the same question. But I do throw away motors with less than 1M (3ph/400V). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 25 '17 at 17:35
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UK perspective: when I trained as an electrician (early 80s) the pass/fail for an insulation test on an installation was 1 megohm. I just checked the 17th Edition and it still is. That's with the proviso that if you get a result that low, or basically not very high, you should check what's causing it. This is also with the proviso that you're testing it at twice the rated voltage, so on 240V (as it was then) that meant using a 500VDC insulation tester. A low voltage test (e.g. with a multimeter) is not considered valid, whatever reading you get.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Great info! What document are you looking at the 17th edition of? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 26 '17 at 0:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Stephen, the 17th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations, which are the official UK electrical code. Sorry for not being clear, once in the trade one gets used to just referring to the Edition number :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Ian Bland
    Aug 26 '17 at 0:42
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I don't have access to the whole DIN norms but I found a document citing DIN VDE 0701 (09.2000) and DIN VDE 0702 (06.2004).

Which contains a table:

Limit value:                    Applicable for:

0,3 MΩ                          class 1 with turned on heating elements

1,0 MΩ                          class 1

2,0 MΩ                          class 2 and non-earthed metal parts on class 1

0,25 MΩ                        class 3

So this is for the devices and not the house installation.


I found a reference to IEC 60364-6 (limits in chapter 61.3.3, table 6A) and IEC 61557-2 in this document which has:

Limit value:                    Test voltage:      Voltage of the circuit:

0,5MΩ                            250 VDC            SELV / PELV

1,0MΩ                            500 VDC            up to 500 V including FELV

1,0MΩ                            1000 VDC          over 500 V

I'm not 100% sure if this also counts for the house installation, but the document made it sound like it does.


For solar panels I also found something in this document which references DIN EN 61646 and DIN IEC 61215:

The insulation resistance has to be larger than 40 MΩm². So a panel with 1 m² has to have at least 40 MΩ, one with 2 m² needs at least 20 MΩ.


This is the stuff I found, everything in German so my translation might not be correct and I certainly take no claim that this information is valid or even applicable outside of Germany.

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In industrial manufacturing environments the rule of thumb is 1 Meg ohm is sufficient insulation per 1000 volts. I currently have a motor with less than 1/2 Meg ohm to ground, that has run 24 hours a day for over 5 years at 300 volts D.C. With no signs of failure.

For home purposes I would megger at the 500 volt scale and would consider anything over 1/2 megohm to be ok.

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