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Old 05-05-2012, 03:29 AM   #1
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Default electric water heater disconnect code question

hello hopefully a quick question

I am suppose to install a disconnect for my aunt on her electric water heater. The inspector asked for a disconnect at the unit. Here's my question, can I install a non-fused 60amp pull out type disconnect that would typically be used on AC unit out doors. I found one at Home D for only $7.50 vs the larger landle switch type for $45. She doesn't have alot of money so would this AC type pull out disconnect meet code in Northern California? Second question can it be mounted above the water heater between the hoses going in and out of the water heater? That's where the installer put a wire junction box and this disconnect would fit nicely there. It is a an outdoor rated box.
I searched high and low on this topic, I always do before I ask questions, google is my best friend . I couldn't find a clear answer anywhere about water heater disconnect types allowed. In fact all I found was a means of way of disconnecting the unit has to be within line of site of the water heater. I placed a call to the inspector for her and he has not called back and it's been 3 days. The guys at HD really didn't know much about typical code requirements for a disconnect. I don't see why it would be ok, it's over rated 60amps, the water heater is only 4500watts or something around there. I have one day off this weekend and would to get this done for her.
thanks in advance
brian

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Old 05-05-2012, 03:34 AM   #2
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sorry for the typo, I ment I don't see why an AC pull type disconnect wouldn't meet code, not why it would work.
this is el dorado county northern California
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:38 AM   #3
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Why not use a double pole 30 Amp rated switch? Article 404.14
I'm going to assume 10 awg wire
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:27 AM   #4
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I don't charge my family for work they need to have done.

Last edited by bobelectric; 05-05-2012 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:29 AM   #5
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Why not use a double pole 30 Amp rated switch? Article 404.14
I'm going to assume 10 awg wire
I agree with that ,That should be all he would need.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:30 AM   #6
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I don't charge my family for work.
You should charge them double..
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:36 AM   #7
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they make a 30A pull out that is a few cents cheaper

I never liked the 30A double pole switch as it costs more & takes longer to install as you need more parts to put it together
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bingles View Post
The inspector asked for a disconnect at the unit. Here's my question, can I install a non-fused 60amp pull out type disconnect that would typically be used on AC unit out doors. I found one at Home D for only $7.50 vs the larger landle switch type for $45.
Yes of course you can use it if its ratings meet or exceed the circuit ratings.



Quote:
Second question can it be mounted above the water heater between the hoses going in and out of the water heater?
It depends on the inspector, if the inspector feels that disconnect switch is likely to require service or testing while energized than 110.26 applies and you would have to have it out in the open.

Are you an electrician?
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:45 AM   #9
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they make a 30A pull out that is a few cents cheaper

I never liked the 30A double pole switch as it costs more & takes longer to install as you need more parts to put it together
Good point,,,I need more coffee...
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:10 AM   #10
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You should charge them double..
And do it on a Saturday so you can get double of the double.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:12 AM   #11
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Are you an electrician?

Sometimes.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:41 AM   #12
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It depends on the inspector, if the inspector feels that disconnect switch is likely to require service or testing while energized than 110.26 applies and you would have to have it out in the open.
Yet that same inspector would probably have no problem if it were a snap switch.

I used to use the 30 amp snap switch as they are neater imo, esp if you wire it in a finished wall at the rough in stage. The problem is the fit in the JB is very tight and a struggle to get the switch seated well.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:45 AM   #13
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Interesting thing is if the water heaters used 4000 watt elements then you would still have to use #10 wire however you could use a 20 amp snap switch.

Last edited by Dennis Alwon; 05-09-2012 at 06:29 PM. Reason: typo--change 4500 to 4000
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:48 PM   #14
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ya I don't charge my family money either ha ha. I am not a lic electrian but I do a lot electrical wiring nothing over 240V thou. I guess I will go ahead and use the pull switch I bought at HD, sounds like it is all I need. In future I may just use a switch as you guys suggested. I calculated that it needs 10awg wire as well, I don't know if that's what he has used I have only seen a picture she sent me of the install. Thanks for the help! I may go ahead and move where the installer placed the junction box to a better location. Again thanks
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by bingles View Post
ya I don't charge my family money either ha ha. I am not a lic electrian but I do a lot electrical wiring nothing over 240V thou. I guess I will go ahead and use the pull switch I bought at HD, sounds like it is all I need. In future I may just use a switch as you guys suggested. I calculated that it needs 10awg wire as well, I don't know if that's what he has used I have only seen a picture she sent me of the install. Thanks for the help! I may go ahead and move where the installer placed the junction box to a better location. Again thanks


Your water heater works on 240 thou ??????

I'll bet you have INSTANT Hot Water!!!!!
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:48 PM   #16
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Yet that same inspector would probably have no problem if it were a snap switch.
I agree with you 100% but I don't see any logic in that.
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Old 05-06-2012, 04:24 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Dennis Alwon View Post
Interesting thing is if the water heaters used 4500 watt elements then you would still have to use #10 wire however you could use a 20 amp snap switch.

Dennis I know you mention 20 amp snap switch but due the water heater circuit rating IMO it pretty much contionous* so therefore it cost little more to get proper 30 amp switch instead of useing 20 amp switch it will become crispy.

Merci,
Marc

* Ya know how it is when you have many family members try to use the shower and used all the hot water pretty fast.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:15 PM   #18
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nevermind

Last edited by MaxFuse; 05-09-2012 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:31 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
Dennis I know you mention 20 amp snap switch but due the water heater circuit rating IMO it pretty much contionous* so therefore it cost little more to get proper 30 amp switch instead of useing 20 amp switch it will become crispy.

Merci,
Marc

* Ya know how it is when you have many family members try to use the shower and used all the hot water pretty fast.
I just realized that I typed the incorrect wattage- I edited my post. I meant if the element was 4000 watt not 4500. 4500 watt element needs a 30 amp switch
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:57 PM   #20
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I'd just rip it out and install a gas water heater. Run a nice B-vent all the way up through the roof. 1" gas line, with a drip. Some earth quake straps, and your done. No need to worry about electrical codes.

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