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  1. #1
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    Default Shut off for water heater

    I am running into this alot lately. A light switch used as a line of sight shut off for an electric water heater. Is it OK?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    That seems odd. It looks like a 120 volt device used to shut off a 240 volt appliance.
    It is not required where I am, but may be a new California thing.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    It's kind of odd. I guess if the switch was rated for 30 amps/240V it might be OK.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    What's that set up suppose to do? Open just one leg of the 220 line?

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    Yeah you are right Eric. It just doesn't make sense. I called it out. There is a lot of investor flips here in the Sacramento area and some of the things the investors do really makes you scratch your head.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    It's kind of odd. I guess if the switch was rated for 30 amps/240V it might be OK.
    Agreed, however the flex should have been secured to the wall.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Agreed, however the flex should have been secured to the wall.
    Also, it needs to be a double pole device, it needs to open both feeders, otherwise it presents a shock hazard.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    In that first picture it looks like the switch housing might be green - although it could also just be chromatic aberration in the photo. Leviton makes a 30A 120/277V DPST toggle switch like that with a green housing.


  9. #9
    Lou Romano's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    It is a requirement for the hot water heater to have a means of disconnect and the switch pictured appears to be a 30-amp DPST switch which is correct for the application. However something doesn't look right about how the switch box is connected to the flush mounted box behind it? Is that a round ceiling ring with half of it uncovered?

    Here in Miami, some municipalities enforce this means of disconnect and/or they require a lock-out device be installed on the breaker.

    A hot water heater is an appliance just like an AC unit is and it is required to have a disconnecting means at the unit or be within sight of the breaker that feeds it.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Romano View Post
    A hot water heater is an appliance just like an AC unit is and it is required to have a disconnecting means at the unit or be within sight of the breaker that feeds it.
    The water heater is required to have a disconnect within 50 feet straight line sight of the appliance, or ... or the disconnect can have a lockout device installed which is always in place, whether the breaker is locked out or not.

    An A/C, on the other hand, is required to have a disconnect within 50 feet straight line sight of the A/C, a lockout device on the breaker is not allowed, unless the air conditioner or refrigeration equipment is part of an essential process at an industrial plant - which does not allow installing lockout devices for air conditioning equipment installed in dwelling units.

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

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The water heater is required to have a disconnect within 50 feet straight line sight of the appliance, or ... or the disconnect can have a lockout device installed which is always in place, whether the breaker is locked out or not.

    An A/C, on the other hand, is required to have a disconnect within 50 feet straight line sight of the A/C, a lockout device on the breaker is not allowed, unless the air conditioner or refrigeration equipment is part of an essential process at an industrial plant - which does not allow installing lockout devices for air conditioning equipment installed in dwelling units.
    Jerry, I realize this post is over a year old, but I've got a question or two.

    I've been reading the 2009 IRC all morning and cannot find the 50 ft straight line comment you referenced.

    I did find this in Table 4101.5
    Branch circuit breaker or switch located within sight of appliance or such
    devices in any location that are 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.


    But this refers to permanently installed appliances over 300 volts.

    Am I missing something? Water heaters are 240 volts generally.

    Of course, common sense says you would want the disconnect within sight in case you're working on it (unless it's locked out), but I can't find the reference to 50 ft. and now I'm questioning my thinking on the line of sight thing b/c that's what I've always said (though I thought it was 25 feet).

    Curious to know your thoughts,
    Bruce

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    But this refers to permanently installed appliances over 300 volts.

    Am I missing something? Water heaters are 240 volts generally.
    Bruce,

    What you are missing is that table refers to 300 "volt-amperes", not 300 volts.

    A 240 volt water heater operating at 4500 watts is drawing 18.75 amps, however, the better term to use is that the water heater is 18.75 amps x 240 volts = 4500 volt-amperes (watts = volts x amps).

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    Within sight is defined in the NEC in Article 100, definitions. That's where you will find the 50' reference.
    From the NEC.
    In Sight From (Within Sight From, Within Sight). Where this Code specifies that one equipment shall be “in sight from,” “within sight from,” or “within sight of,” and so forth, another equipment, the specified equipment is to be visible and not more than 15 m (50 ft) distant from the other.

    Also if that box contains #10 AWG conductors it's too small.
    Huh? I must have missed something, maybe in the older posts?

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

  14. #14
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    Mar 2009
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    Looks like an extension box to me - mounted either on a mud ring or another device box. IF there is a box behind the one that appears to be on the surface the wire fill will be fine

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  15. #15
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    May 2007
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    Default Re: Shut off for water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Bruce,

    What you are missing is that table refers to 300 "volt-amperes", not 300 volts.

    A 240 volt water heater operating at 4500 watts is drawing 18.75 amps, however, the better term to use is that the water heater is 18.75 amps x 240 volts = 4500 volt-amperes (watts = volts x amps).
    Thanks for responding. Sufficed to say, I figured I was missing something.

    I do this occasionally. I'll learn some fact that corrects my way of thinking and then several months or years later, I'll forget why I call out things a particular way.

    Thx to Robert for NEC reference.

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

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