How to install on/off switch for H2o Heater?

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  #1  
Old 01-20-06, 01:03 PM
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How to install on/off switch for H2o Heater?

I travel a lot and would like to install a switch to turn off the power to my water heater(220V). I am told that if I keep flipping the breaker(s) they will wear out because they are not designerd for regular use.I looked in Home Depot and all I saw were 15 or 20 amp 120 volt switches. Does anyone know if this type of switch will work??
 
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  #2  
Old 01-20-06, 02:33 PM
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You should use a double pole switch if you use a switch but I think it would be less expensive if you just replaced the breaker when it fails in 5 or 10 years.

Ken
 
  #3  
Old 01-20-06, 02:41 PM
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Switch

I could tell you how to do this, but I am a plumber. I will bow to the electric forum; thats where you have to go. Luck.
 
  #4  
Old 01-20-06, 03:36 PM
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Good point shacko. I will move the thread over there.

Ken
 
  #5  
Old 01-21-06, 06:46 AM
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Yes, it would work. You would need to install a box somewhere (where ever you want to run the 10/2 cable to) and a switch rated for 30 amps, available at an electrical supply house. I do not believe that the NEC would prohibit you from switching just one leg, but I would strongly suggest running the two cables and making it a two pole, single throw switch. I believe that the switch would cost just under $15, if I recall correctly.
If the breaker is not that inconvenient to use, I agree with KField. Use the breaker. A new one will be about the same as the cost of a switch.
 
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Old 01-21-06, 07:12 AM
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I'll add my aggreement to just use the breaker.
A two-pole 30 amp toggle switch is about $20, with another $10 in related parts. A two-pole breaker is generally under $10.
So if you need to replace the breaker twice in 20 years you'll breaker even with a lot less work. Besides, many breakers are rated for use as a switch.

A switch can breaker just one leg for control purposes, as long as the switch does not have to function as the means of disconnect.
 
  #7  
Old 01-21-06, 07:57 AM
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You could install a timer, some have an off switch built in.

I'd just use the breaker, I use the breaker that serves the outlet my air compressor is plugged into to turn it on and off about once a week. Been doing that for 6 or 7 years, breaker shows no signs of wear as far as the handle becoming loose, etc.
 
  #8  
Old 01-21-06, 08:26 AM
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Loose breaker

I have never seen a breaker wear out from using it as a switch, however I have seen them freeze in place by having stayed in the on position for years. Also, if you go the timer route, it needs to be a double pole timer to use it as a disconnect to disconnect all ungrounded conductors.
 
  #9  
Old 01-22-06, 08:32 AM
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Thanks very much for all the replies. My breaker box is hard to get to which is the reason I was investigating the switch route.I looked on ebay and found a timer which has an on/off switch for under $20!! So that is what I am going to do. It should be here by next weekend.
Thanks again!
 
  #10  
Old 01-22-06, 09:11 AM
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Raleighnc,

A word of caution about using the timer as a disconnect.
Timers are made with switches but are not usually meant as a disconnect means.
If you do use a timer as a switch you will need to remove the trip levers or pins or deactivate the attached trip mechanism.
You have to be carefull in that many timers have a separate cover to isolate the electrical connections and in my experience are often missing.
You also need to be sure that the timer motor is rated for 220 volts.

Unless you need the timer portion you would do better with a switch.
 
  #11  
Old 01-22-06, 10:06 AM
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422.30 requires all ungrounded conductors to be open. you cant use a single pole switch. to all who said just use the breaker. article 422says the breaker must be within sight and be able to be locked in the open position. it also matters the va or hp and wether the appliance is permanently connected motor driven or cord and plug. you just cant say use the breaker, there is the nec, nfpa 70. to those who said breakers dont go bad from using as a switch your wrong. there are many different types of disconnects and breakers with different ratings. in addition 422.47 deals with controls. must have a temp limit switch in addition to a control thermostat to disconnect all ungrounded conductors. lastly, 422.34 permits a unit switch thats part of the aplliance and disconnects all ungrounded conductors to act as a disconnect.
 

Last edited by tach; 01-22-06 at 10:20 AM.
  #12  
Old 01-22-06, 11:23 AM
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Sorry to pick apart your post but...

-Read back, we are saying IF the switch is not the required means of disconnect you can use a single pole switch. In this case the switch is merely a control.

-If the breaker is within sight it can be used as the means of disconnect.
It doesn't have to be within sight or lockable. If it is not then you need another form of disconnect.

-"it also matters the va or hp and wether the appliance is permanently connected motor driven or cord and plug. you just cant say use the breaker, there is the nec, nfpa 70."
This one I don't get at all. First I have never seen a cord connected full size water heater. Second, what is the relavance if it is?
Of course there is the NEC, this is why folks like myself, racraft, John Nelson, joed, and all the others I've missed, are here!

-There are breakers rated as SWD, they can be used as a switch every day,as much as you want. A regular breaker, being used to shut off a water heater every few weeks will fail NO sooner than one that never gets thrown!

-"in addition 422.47 deals with controls. must have a temp limit switch in addition to a control thermostat to disconnect all ungrounded conductors. lastly, 422.34 permits a unit switch thats part of the aplliance and disconnects all ungrounded conductors to act as a disconnect."
Again, I'm not sure of how this is relavant.
Did you know that water heater thermostats do NOT break both ungrounded conductors.
 
  #13  
Old 01-22-06, 11:49 AM
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petey please, a therm must break all ungrounded conductors 422.47. i said if the breaker is used it must be within sight and lockable, are you disputing this fact that a breaker as a disconnect does not have to be within sight and lockable. youve never seen a cord and plug electric water heater. that dont mean it does not exist. then the cord can serve as the disconnect. if the unit has a sw that can serve as the disconnect. i said some breakers are rated as a sw and others are not in so many words. you can pick a part any and all of my posts all you want. we can even play semantics. a line voltage therm will brake any and all ungrounded conductors. you did not do such a great job picking at the post but good try. you dont get 422.30 which is disconnecting means for aplliances. its pretty clear and simple. petey you dont understand 422.34? a unit switch part of the aplliance can serve as the disconnect. whats not to understand? b/c you dont think something is relevant it may be anyway. Petey you dont see where 422.31 is relevant the type of disconnect is based on the va or hp. 422.31(A),(B) lets just throw 422.35 in, sw and cb as a disconnect means shall be of the indicating type. is that relevant? how can yuo not get 422.31? the difference in hp is the difference in dis. means. this particular unit may not be motor driven, but if it is then 422.32 is relevant.
 

Last edited by tach; 01-22-06 at 12:12 PM.
  #14  
Old 01-22-06, 11:56 AM
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disconnect

just use a 30 amp 3 wire cord and 3 wire receptical to use as a disconnect and that will solve this issue. it will be in site, disconnect all ungrounded conductors and will be obvious to anyone that goes near it that it is the disconnect.
 
  #15  
Old 01-22-06, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nfsus
just use a 30 amp 3 wire cord and 3 wire receptical to use as a disconnect and that will solve this issue. it will be in site, disconnect all ungrounded conductors and will be obvious to anyone that goes near it that it is the disconnect.
I'm not sure that is the perfect solution. Unplugging these size cords sometimes results in getting your fingertips on the energized male plug prongs. People tend to get their fingertips under the plug body in an effort to increase leverage. Since the plug is usually at 90 degrees, there is a reduced tendency to pull on the cord.
 
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Old 01-22-06, 01:11 PM
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"a therm must break all ungrounded conductors 422.47"
The thermal overload does, not the thermostat.There is a difference.


"i said if the breaker is used it must be within sight and lockable, are you disputing this fact that a breaker as a disconnect does not have to be within sight and lockable."
You did not. You said:
"to all who said just use the breaker. article 422says the breaker must be within sight and be able to be locked in the open position."
This is obviously a case of not saying everything you meant. I see now what you meant to say.


"you dont get 422.30 which is disconnecting means for aplliances."
On the contrary, I really do. And I know the section.


"petey you dont understand 422.34?"
I do. No one ever said anything about a unit switch except you. Do you see a lot of storage type water heaters with switches on them? I don't.

422.31 merely states the disconnect must be within sight or lockable. This is all well and good. We are NOT talking about a means of disconnect with regard to the OP. He wants to switch a water heater. You are the one who came on and started to go into disconnecting means.

Your last post has a few more details than the first. I think that is a better way to go.
 
  #17  
Old 01-22-06, 01:11 PM
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disconnect

You can not protect everyone. Not to be mean or anything. There are those that will get hit off of using a cord like that, but the danger also lies in dryers, ranges and really any other attatchment plug. It is too bad that some do and I hate it, but even if it was completly housed there is still a risk. Some people like to open the timers to see how they work. Honestly, turn the breaker off, then plug it in. It should be that way for anything that could have a heavy load. Didnt momma ever tell you not to plug it in with it turned on? Same thing here.
 
  #18  
Old 01-22-06, 01:12 PM
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Back to the original post.
I still feel simply using the breaker every few weeks or months is the easiest thing to do.
 
  #19  
Old 01-22-06, 01:36 PM
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a line voltage thermostat should open all ungrounded conductors. you still feel switching the breaker is the way to go, thats all well and good. it sounds like this water heater does not have a code compliant disconnect according to the nec art. 422. i came on here and started talking about disconnects b/c it is code. if this heater is fed from a breaker right to the unit he can use the breaker as a switch, that is fine. there is no code compliant disconnect unless that breaker is in sight. yes he was asking about switching and i went 1 step further to talk about a code compliant disconnect as per the nec nfpa 70. so your advising the author of this thread to use a cb as a switch which is fine, but are you intrested in the fact that there may not be a code compliant disconnect. you can put 10 switches in for convenience all over the house, but something has to qualify as a code compliant disconnect. you telling him to use the cb is great but that may not satisfy the nec.
 
  #20  
Old 01-22-06, 01:42 PM
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http://www.hotwater.com/lit/wiring/A7070.pdf
Diagram C2 or A6
Typical storage type water heater.
The thermal overload breaks both ungrounded conductors. The thermostat breaks only one leg.
 
  #21  
Old 01-22-06, 01:47 PM
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Sorry, I replied before you edited your post.

Originally Posted by tach
it sounds like this water heater does not have a code compliant disconnect according to the nec art. 422.
If you say so. I think the OP is the only one who can say.
 
  #22  
Old 01-22-06, 01:51 PM
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422.47 a temp limit shall disconnect ALL ungrounded conductors. this is in addition to a control therm. nice picture. i am saying there is no disconnect based on the authors post of this thread. to use a cb is fine if thats what you what to do, but that cb may not be a code disconnect. a 120 volt therm will break one leg, a 240 volt therm will break two legs. it must break all ungrounded conductors.
 

Last edited by tach; 01-22-06 at 02:24 PM.
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