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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Montreal
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    Default Light switch on gas furnace !

    Hi everyone,

    Is it normal to have a light switch to shut off a natural gas furnace ? Shouldn't there be a breaker instead ?

    Is the air intake exhaust ok, it looks like a poor installation to me but I'm not too familiar with gas furnaces. The flue exhaust is on the opposite side of the house and looks ok.

    Thank you for your help

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
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    3,746

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Tag View Post
    Hi everyone,

    Is it normal to have a light switch to shut off a natural gas furnace ? Shouldn't there be a breaker instead ?

    Is the air intake exhaust ok, it looks like a poor installation to me but I'm not too familiar with gas furnaces. The flue exhaust is on the opposite side of the house and looks ok.

    Thank you for your help
    Having a switch is what I always see, it's fine.
    As for the intake/exhaust, I cannot say.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
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    2,303

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Tag View Post
    Hi everyone,

    Is it normal to have a light switch to shut off a natural gas furnace ? Shouldn't there be a breaker instead ?

    Is the air intake exhaust ok, it looks like a poor installation to me but I'm not too familiar with gas furnaces. The flue exhaust is on the opposite side of the house and looks ok.

    Thank you for your help
    The short piece of plastic vent pipe pictured, appears to slope away from the furnace. If it does then that part is wrong. Water should run back to the furnace, not drip from the end of the pipe.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
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    2,446

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    Light switch is fine for shut off. There should be a breaker controlling this circuit.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    Ideally the furnace service switch should be on the furnace or higher up on the wall so as not to be mistaken for a light switch or prone to accidentally being shut off by something hitting it. Rocker switches are easily switched. Not much resistance. I like the toggle type switch that use to be the norm before decorator type switches came out.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    It ought to have "furnace" written on it and it should have "on" or "off" written on it, but the switch itself is not a defect.

    Exhaust normally should slope back to the furnace. Not so for the intake of a high efficiency furnace, AFAIK. I don't see a defect.

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    St Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,628

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    No problem with either of them.

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    Something looks funny in the photos to me.

    Are we looking at the exhaust pipe in one photo and the intake in the other? Looks like it is going from 1-1/2 inch pipe to 3 inch, and then to 1-1/2" out the wall. Hard to tell if that is 2-1/4 inch tall brick, if it is that puts the pipe around 1-1/2". Either way they increased the pipe size (due to the run, or # of elbows???) and should not be reducing it again, unless there are two sets of pipes??? But, then, the intake and exhaust are usually the same size pipe.

    The switch is fine, but the furnace should be on its own breaker in the panel.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
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    5,005

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    Ontario Electrical Code - Canadian Electrical Code

    Loomex supply cable should run in 7/16" flexible conduit for the last few feet near furnace where it is less than 59" (1.5 metre) above the floor or where it is subject to mechanical damage.

    Further from the Canadian Electrical Code -
    16. Rule 26-806 of the Code is amended
    (a) by the revocation of Subrule (5) and the substitution of the
    following:
    (5) Oil or gas fired heating equipment
    (a) that is located in a furnace or boiler room, shall have the
    disconnecting means located on the outside wall of the room,
    adjacent to the door; and
    (b) that is not located in a furnace or boiler room, shall have the
    disconnecting means located near the entrance to the area in which
    the heating unit is located.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
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    2,446

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    There is not requirement that I know of that the switch has to be labeled "furnace". Its really just a service disconnect.
    Most I see are mounted on the side of the unit, or close by on the wall.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
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    4,311

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    There is not requirement that I know of that the switch has to be labeled "furnace". Its really just a service disconnect.
    Most I see are mounted on the side of the unit, or close by on the wall.
    OP and Respondent are Canadian.
    *could be?

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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
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    885

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    I believe I have seen somewhere in the codes there is a requirement that a furnace cut off switch has to be located such that a person does not have to stand or cross in front of the furnace to turn it off. Is this correct? Makes sense to me.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  13. #13
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    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
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    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    Stuart you are correct. It does mention that fact in the Cdn code.

    Thanks for the reminder.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
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    885

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Stuart you are correct. It does mention that fact in the Cdn code.

    Thanks for the reminder.
    I'm thinking it is in the IBC set somewhere or the NEC because I don't know anything about Canadian codes.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  15. #15
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    Southern Vancouver Island
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    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    There is not requirement that I know of that the switch has to be labeled "furnace". Its really just a service disconnect.
    Most I see are mounted on the side of the unit, or close by on the wall.
    That's why I said "ought to be", not "required"
    Looking at the pic, it might just as easy be a light switch. I don't see a feed to the furnace from that switch.

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

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: Light switch on gas furnace !

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Tag View Post
    Is the air intake exhaust ok, it looks like a poor installation to me but I'm not too familiar with gas furnaces. The flue exhaust is on the opposite side of the house and looks ok.
    I am a little confused. As I understand from what you have said, it is a high-efficiency gas fired furnace with the combustion air intake on one side of the house and the exhaust on the other.

    If this is so, it may not be in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions. They usually require the intake and exhaust, if exiting the house, to be within three to four feet of each other (with other location stipulations). This is to prevent localized atmospheric conditions affecting combustion.

    As for the pipes in the pictures. Many contractors up the size of the pipe so that they don't need to do any calculations regarding the length and number of direction changes, to remain within installation requirements.

    As previously pointed out, moisture from the exhaust should return to the furnace, and screens should be installed to prevent things from finding a new home.

    My last comment is location. As you are up North, are the pipes above the normal snow drift height+ for the area?


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