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  1. #1
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
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    Default water heater / dryer plug

    Inspection today - a first for me.
    Water heater connection to power supply via dryer plug and receptacle.
    Correct me if I'm wrong - Flexible cords are not allowed for this application. sorry, no pic. IRC E3809.1

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Stanley View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong - Flexible cords are not allowed for this application. sorry, no pic. IRC E3809.1
    Richard,

    No correction needed.

    You are right, that is wrong. Which is likely (hopefully) 'why' you have not seen it before.

    Not allowed for furnaces, air handler, etc. either.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    it's right if it is factory installed! wrong in your situation. never ceases to amaze me what inspectors find compliments of hacks.


  4. #4
    Peter J Ruddick's Avatar
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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Found this about two months ago....5th hot water heater in 15 years..all rusted out. I said plumber plans on coming back!!! I had never seen this before, however.

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  5. #5
    M Kelekci's Avatar
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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter J Ruddick View Post
    Found this about two months ago....5th hot water heater in 15 years..all rusted out. I said plumber plans on coming back!!! I had never seen this before, however.
    What am I missing in the picture? What caused 5 water heaters to rust?
    Thanks,


  6. #6
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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Matt,

    I assume that the crawlspace in that pic above has a moisture problem. Looks like moisture on the CMU wall in the background.

    The picture does not show the location very well for example if it is maybe sitting too close to the ground.

    5 replacements, you'd think they learn to relocate the water heater by now.

    rick


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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Why would the plumber put the water heater anywhere else? It's good for business right where it is.

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    Bruce Breedlove
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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Rick,

    I've known of new construction 300k 3500 sq ft homes and 1 1/2 to 3 years till water heaters burst. Construction grade steel tanks. No more of the cast iron or Glass lined 20-30 year service. Another casualty to our throw away society.pdf. Example of Confidence of One's Product

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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Regardless how often the plumber plans on coming back, that is not allowed.

    The only water heaters I've seen which would meet Brian's "it's right if it is factory installed!" are those installed in RV (which are typically gas/120v ac/sometimes 12v dc (they have either two or three sources of energy), or, those little 6 gallon or so small ones which come with a cord and plug and are 120 v units. Get up into the larger ones and the 240 volt ones and I've never seen one come with a cord and plug. And there are no cord and plug sets rated for that use.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  10. #10
    M Kelekci's Avatar
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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Matt,

    I assume that the crawlspace in that pic above has a moisture problem. Looks like moisture on the CMU wall in the background.

    The picture does not show the location very well for example if it is maybe sitting too close to the ground.

    5 replacements, you'd think they learn to relocate the water heater by now.

    rick
    Thanks, I was looking at the water heater, not paying attention to the surroundings.


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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Bruce,

    I agree that in a basement would be more ideal than say in an attic.

    With 5 tanks having to be replaced though I'd say that the problem is not the water heaters but some type of moisture problem. Is it leaking connections, poor ventilation, poor drainage on the exterior, all of which needs to be considered.

    rick


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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    I will beg to differ with the pack here.

    There is a lot of regional differences in practice, as well as code distinctions between 'commercial' and 'residential' locations.

    Lively discussions in various 'professional electrician' forums has failed to come up with a solid code case against using a cord and plug on a water heater.

    Whether required by code or not, it is certainly desirable that there be a means at the water heater to disconnect it. A cord and plug can serve as the disconnecting means.
    Indeed, many 'point of use' heaters are manufactured with the cords attached.

    An argument can also be made that using a cord and plug means that the plumber will not ever have to work on the electrical system. That's a worthy goal.

    Flexible cords are also suitable where there is vibration, movement, or to facilitate the replacement or maintenance of the appliance.

    All that aside .... the devil is still in the details.

    The cord and plug must be suitable for the voltage and amperage involved. The cord needs a proper connection to the water heater, with both strain relief and protection from sharp edges. The receptacle must be securely anchored to the wall.


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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    Lively discussions in various 'professional electrician' forums has failed to come up with a solid code case against using a cord and plug on a water heater.
    No 'professional electricians' I've ever know think that a cord and plug (as in the photo and the one under discussion) have any difficulty at all finding code which provides a solid core case against using a cord and plug on a water heater.

    [quote]Whether required by code or not, it is certainly desirable that there be a means at the water heater to disconnect it.[quote]

    That's what properly rated switches and disconnects are for.

    A cord and plug can serve as the disconnecting means.
    Not for, as stated previously and in other posts, for the one under discussion and in that photo.

    Indeed, many 'point of use' heaters are manufactured with the cords attached.
    Which has already been pointed out, but that is not applicable to, once again, the one under discussion and the one in that photo.

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Sorry to leave anyone hanging about why 5 water heaters rusted out. Photo of bottom of new heater. Yes there is a moisture problem besides the "Hungry Plumber" syndrome.

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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Bruce,


    With 5 tanks having to be replaced though I'd say that the problem is not the water heaters but some type of moisture problem. Is it leaking connections, poor ventilation, poor drainage on the exterior, all of which needs to be considered.

    rick
    RICK! RICK! RICK! YEAH RICK!!!


    All that video watching Paying off.

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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    When I first moved to this area the well water had a high concentration of manganese in it and electric water heaters would last only about 5 years. Just about every garbage day there would be a water heater out at the curb some place. After the city built a filtration plant that removes most of the manganese the water heaters now go to the average life span.


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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Stanley View Post
    Inspection today - a first for me.
    Water heater connection to power supply via dryer plug and receptacle.
    Correct me if I'm wrong - Flexible cords are not allowed for this application. sorry, no pic. IRC E3809.1
    OK, I'll bite.

    Why is this wrong? Is it because flex cords aren't 10g?

    I just read the 2003 IRC3809.1 (thanks for making it easy for me). Then I looked elsewhere in the code for other water heater references. It "appears" to me that a water heater would be acceptable and meets the qualifications as listed in 3809.1 (permit ready removal for maint, repair or frequent interchange and the appliance is listed). I looked on the AO Smith website and it does not mention flex cords.

    As a matter of fact, I did a house today that had 3 water heaters all wired this way. So you got me thinking.

    Now don't scream and holler at me, I'm just asking a question.

    Bruce

    PS Thanks to Richard for bringing this up.


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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Back on the dryer cord subject, I found three in one house today!
    One to supply the W/H, and two to supply the electric furnace!

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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    Why is this wrong? Is it because flex cords aren't 10g?

    I just read the 2003 IRC3809.1 (thanks for making it easy for me). Then I looked elsewhere in the code for other water heater references. It "appears" to me that a water heater would be acceptable and meets the qualifications as listed in 3809.1 (permit ready removal for maint, repair or frequent interchange and the appliance is listed). I looked on the AO Smith website and it does not mention flex cords.
    Okay, JB,

    Here are the IRC and NEC requirements for appliances which are allowed to use flexible cords. To make it easy for you (that is what you asked), if an appliance 'does not' meet the requirements, the use of a flexible cord (cord and plug) is not allowed - agreed? Yes. (I will start with the assumption that you also said 'Yes. Unless an appliance meets the requirements, using a cord and plug is not allowed.'

    IRC. (highlighting with bold and underlining are mine)
    E3809.1 Where permitted.
    Flexible cords shall be used only for the connection of appliances where the fastening means and mechanical connections of such appliances are designed to permit ready removal for maintenance, repair or frequent interchange and the appliance is listed for flexible cord connection. Flexible cords shall not be installed as a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure; shall not be run through holes in walls, structural ceilings, suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings or floors; shall not be concealed behind walls, floors, ceilings or located above suspended or dropped ceilings.


    Okay, first with the IRC.

    Water heaters are NOT:
    1) connected where the fastening means and mechanical connections are designed to permit ready removal
    2) AND (that was an "and" in there)
    3) are not listed for flexible cords (for the ones we are referring to, there are some, such as what John and I mentioned, small and point of use, which "are" listed for use with cord and plug, and, which come with a cord and plug)

    Thus, the water heaters under discussion do not meet the allowed uses for cord and plug connection, thus, cord and plug connection is not allowed.

    From the NEC. (highlighting with bold and underlining are mine)
    400.7 Uses Permitted.
    (A) Uses. Flexible cords and cables shall be used only for the following:
    (1) Pendants (Jerry's note: not applicable)
    (2) Wiring of luminaires (fixtures) (Jerry's note: not applicable)
    (3) Connection of portable lamps, portable and mobile signs, or appliances (Jerry's note: while the water heater is a appliance, this is not applicable based on not meeting (8) below)
    (4) Elevator cables (Jerry's note: not applicable)
    (5) Wiring of cranes and hoists (Jerry's note: not applicable)
    (6) Connection of utilization equipment to facilitate frequent interchange (Jerry's note: water heater installations are not designed to facilitate frequent interchange of the water heater, thus this is not applicable)
    (7) Prevention of the transmission of noise or vibration (Jerry's note: not applicable)
    (8) Appliances where the fastening means and mechanical connections are specifically designed to permit ready removal for maintenance and repair, and the appliance is intended or identified for flexible cord connection (Jerry's note: see note at (6) also, water heater installations are not fastened or designed to permit ready removal. nor is the water heater identified, "listed", for use with flexible cord and plug, this this is not applicable)
    (9) Connection of moving parts (Jerry's note: not applicable)
    (10) Where specifically permitted elsewhere in the Code (Jerry's note: not applicable)

    The IRC condensed the NEC down to those sections which reflect one- and two- family dwellings.

    No matter how you look at it, the water heaters under discussion are not designed or listed for use with cord and plug connection.

    In fact, on the small and point-of-use water heaters mentioned which are listed for cord and plug connection - I had a startling realization a couple of posts back, one which I am sure John will disagree with:

    From the IRC (highlighting with bold and underlining are mine, as is the ALL CAPS)
    E3809.1 Where permitted. Flexible cords shall be used only for the connection of appliances where the fastening means and mechanical connections of such appliances are designed to permit ready removal for maintenance, repair or frequent interchange AND the appliance is listed for flexible cord connection.

    If your area is going by the IRC, those which ARE cord and plug connected MUST ALSO BE connected such that the design of the connection is to facilitate ready removal ...

    That means that all piping must have shut off valves and unions and non-permanent fasteners which are designed for re-use multiple times. The water heater T&P relief valve and discharge line must have a union if the discharge line does not end right there and/or is too long to make handling it easy, but no valve is needed (or allowed) as once the hot out and cold in valves are closed and the pressure released, the T&P discharge line is now non-pressurized and has no flow, other than water draining out if the T&P is operated.

    I must admit, though, that all of the non-storage water heaters I've seen (hot water on demand type), none were plumbed with unions like would be required. One more thing to try to remember and write up.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: water heater / dryer plug

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it.


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