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  1. #1
    Ken Bates's Avatar
    Ken Bates Guest

    Default Water heater switch

    I regret telling my client an FYI opinion and actually transcribing it in my report (essentially to CMA as he would be hiring an electrician to correct defects and deficiencies if he purchased.)

    I said, "that technically there should be a cut-off switch next to the 80 gal water heater as is was out of sight of it's overcurrent protection breaker that is located in the abutting room. It is less than 50 feet from the panel and there is no other means to get to the panel and you have to pass the water heater bay to get to the panel and there is no locking mechanism on the dedicated water heater breaker."

    Lo and behold my client tries to use this as a bargaining chip and includes this in his punch list.

    My client then sends me an email copy of the seller's response which stated,
    "while a local switch would be nice it is not necessary."

    So, I checked the NEC and was confused by the term Volt-Amperes.

    422.31 Disconnection of Permanently Connected Appliances.
    (A) Rated at Not Over 300 Volt-Amperes or 1⁄8 Horsepower.
    For permanently connected appliances rated at not
    over 300 volt-amperes or 1⁄8 hp, the branch-circuit overcurrent
    device shall be permitted to serve as the disconnecting means.
    (B) Appliances Rated Over 300 Volt-Amperes or
    1⁄8 Horsepower. For permanently connected appliances
    rated over 300 volt-amperes or 1⁄8 hp, the branch-circuit
    switch or circuit breaker shall be permitted to serve as the
    disconnecting means where the switch or circuit breaker is
    within sight from the appliance or is capable of being
    locked in the open position. The provision for locking or
    adding a lock to the disconnecting means shall be installed
    on or at the switch or circuit breaker used as the disconnecting
    means and shall remain in place with or without the
    lock installed.
    FPN: For appliances employing unit switches, see 422.34.

    So,does this common 80 gal. water heater (two-4500 resistance elements on 240V AC) have to have a local switch as STRICTLY DEFINED by the NEC??

    Bottom line--- What the h*ll doesVolt-Amperes mean???

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,300

    Default Re: Water heater switch

    Volt-ampers is the same as Watts. volts times amps equal watt or power.
    The water heater has two 4,500 watt elements (only one on at a time) so, yes it is over 300 w.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    25,436

    Default Re: Water heater switch

    I would not (*not*) say "switch", I would say "disconnect".

    Yes, it needs to have a disconnect at the water heater (given the conditions you describe).

    UNLESS ... (and I never tell the electrician this, if he is not smart enough to know this, then great) ... a lock-out at the breaker can be installed instead of installing a disconnect at the water heater.

    Keep in mind, though, many of the "lock-outs" on the market *are not approved for use* because they can be removed (with the dead front cover on) or can simply fall off.

    In my opinion, the "disconnect at the water heater" is much safer, so let them do that ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Ken Bates's Avatar
    Ken Bates Guest

    Default Re: Water heater switch

    Many thanks for quick and thoughtful replies.

    Ken Bates


  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Water heater switch

    I was wondering how often other inspectors ever see a disconnect at a water heater. I cannot remember the last time I saw one. Or a lock out at the breaker


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,317

    Default Re: Water heater switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I was wondering how often other inspectors ever see a disconnect at a water heater. I cannot remember the last time I saw one. Or a lock out at the breaker
    Ted,

    Once in a while I will see a timer device similar to those used for pool pumps. I suppose that this could be used as a disconnect, but it just might turn back on as the clock ticks away. I am with you, I almost never see one.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  7. #7
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Water heater switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Ted,

    Once in a while I will see a timer device similar to those used for pool pumps. I suppose that this could be used as a disconnect, but it just might turn back on as the clock ticks away. I am with you, I almost never see one.
    I use to see timers hooked up to the water heaters but I am not sure if they were really a money saver or not. Instead of clicking on briefly to keep the water hot it had to heat the whole tank up again. It might have maybe saved a few bucks a month. Funny we are talking water heaters. They installed a new element in mine today.

    I guess I can add this in here. Looks like Obama is more than likely president elect. I feel sorry for him. Shoot I would have felt sorry for anyone becoming pres at this time.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,317

    Default Re: Water heater switch

    Ted,

    I would have to agree. I would not want the job. A president does not make little mistakes. When he does something wrong, it affects millions of people and costs billions of dollars. What a drag.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  9. #9
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Water heater switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Ted,

    I would have to agree. I would not want the job. A president does not make little mistakes. When he does something wrong, it affects millions of people and costs billions of dollars. What a drag.
    I am winding up for a good week after some pretty bad ones. As long as he keeps me busy, I'll have him over for Thaksgiving next year.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    25,436

    Default Re: Water heater switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Once in a while I will see a timer device similar to those used for pool pumps. I suppose that this could be used as a disconnect, but it just might turn back on as the clock ticks away. I am with you, I almost never see one.
    A timer is not suitable for a disconnect as it could come back on without the person knowing it (I know, there are electronic timers which have 'OFF' positions, still, that would not be a suitable "disconnect" for any of the electrical inspectors I know).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
    Richard Stanley Guest

    Default Re: Water heater switch

    "I'll have him over for Thaksgiving next year."
    You may need a larger oven.


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