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Water heater electrical disconnect


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Anybody know off the top of their head when the requirement for an electrical disconnect, at the electric water heater, when not in sight of the panel, went into effect?

Well, just off the top of my head:

As far back as 1940, the switch or circuit breaker needed to be "readily accessible to the operator of the appliance."

The 1990 NEC was the first to say that the 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."

Note that pretty much any circuit breaker is "capable of being locked in the open position."

The 2005 edition added the requirement that, "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."

So, really, the answer to your question is 2005.

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Every time I come to this site I end up with another project on my list. As I have two water heaters in the crawl space, can I just add switches? Double pole single throw?

I guess I'm asking does a switch meet the definition of "capable of being locked in the open position."

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Every time I come to this site I end up with another project on my list. As I have two water heaters in the crawl space, can I just add switches? Double pole single throw?

I guess I'm asking does a switch meet the definition of "capable of being locked in the open position."

Can you elaborate on the situation with your water heaters and describe what you want to do?

Marc

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Every time I come to this site I end up with another project on my list. As I have two water heaters in the crawl space, can I just add switches? Double pole single throw?

I guess I'm asking does a switch meet the definition of "capable of being locked in the open position."

Can you elaborate on the situation with your water heaters and describe what you want to do?

Marc

Just looking to add an electrical disconnect, at the electric water heaters, when not in sight of the panel. The heaters are in the crawl and are not within sight of the panel
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Do other inspectors find that this provision is commonly not enforced? With the exception of some old installations with a 240-volt plug fuse disconnect adjacent to the water heater, I don't think I have ever seen an installation that complies with this (excluding cases where the water heater and service panel are both in the basement or in a utility room).

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Every time I come to this site I end up with another project on my list. As I have two water heaters in the crawl space, can I just add switches? Double pole single throw?

I guess I'm asking does a switch meet the definition of "capable of being locked in the open position."

If you install a switch in sight of the water heater, then it doesn't need to be lockable.

A double pole single throw switch would be fine.

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Every time I come to this site I end up with another project on my list. As I have two water heaters in the crawl space, can I just add switches? Double pole single throw?

I guess I'm asking does a switch meet the definition of "capable of being locked in the open position."

If you install a switch in sight of the water heater, then it doesn't need to be lockable.

A double pole single throw switch would be fine.

Perfect, Thanks Jim.

It's funny, I just helped a friend out who was having problems with two three way switches. Turns out when he changed the color of switches for the wife he bought two double pole single throw switches instead of three ways.... I have two switches.

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It's funny, I just helped a friend out who was having problems with two three way switches. Turns out when he changed the color of switches for the wife he bought two double pole single throw switches instead of three ways.... I have two switches.

They're not 15-amp, are they?

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It's funny, I just helped a friend out who was having problems with two three way switches. Turns out when he changed the color of switches for the wife he bought two double pole single throw switches instead of three ways.... I have two switches.

They're not 15-amp, are they?

See, there you go asking pertinent questions. Now I have to look, but I'm going to guess they are[:-yuck]

Guess a trip to Lowes will be involved in this project.

Thanks for keeping me straight Jim!

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Do other inspectors find that this provision is commonly not enforced? With the exception of some old installations with a 240-volt plug fuse disconnect adjacent to the water heater, I don't think I have ever seen an installation that complies with this (excluding cases where the water heater and service panel are both in the basement or in a utility room).

Correct. I almost NEVER see a disconnect for electric water heaters.
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An AC pullout disconnect would be cheaper than the switch.

Wouldn't a 'plug and cord' arrangement be even cheaper?

Marc

A cord and plug is going to be way more than $10 pullout disconnect. Also as JK says the WH is not listed for use with flex cord.

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