Water Heater Disconnect

Having a discussion with spouse about the disconnect for an elec water heater. (No breaker panel in line-of-sight)

Power was supplied thru a toggle switch in a junction box on the wall. He feels the WH needs a breaker to disconnect service, that the switch could possibly still feed power and be unsafe.

Comments ?

Is the switch rated for 30 amps?

Chris beat me to it. It may very well be a double pole, 30 amp toggle switch.

If it is rated for 30 Amp, double pole service –
Would that be sufficient to work on electrical connections to WH ?
Does a this type of switch truly break all circuits, or only the hot ones ?

I would think so.

The switch must be rated for the Voltage of the water heater ( 120 , 240 etc) and the amperage drawn by the water heater -2008 NEC 404.14

If the water heater is 240 volt you must use a 2 pole switch to disconnect all ungrounded conductors - 2008 NEC 404.15(B)

*The switch must be indicating ( must state on / off on it ) as per *
2008 NEC 422.35 and 404.7

NEC article 422.31(B)

(B) Appliances Rated Over 300 Volt-Amperes or 1/8 Horsepower. For permanently connected appliances rated over 300 volt-amperes or 1/8 hp, the branch-circuit 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. 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.

Double pole throw switch.
The one pictured looks like a single throw.

The holes in the ceiling need to be sealed.

Wiring in conduit.

What if its rated for a 20 amp breaker and its 110V they still do make those…Need to see the wattage requirement and the data plate.

Last time I installed a double pole switch it looked just like a single pole when the cover was on.

Linda, the WH is only served by one circuit. The question you meant to ask was does the switch break all the hot conductors. The answer is dependant on whether the correct switch type was installled. A single pole switch would only interrupt one of the 120 volt legs and would not qualify as a disconnect. You would need to install a 250 volt 30 amp rated double pole switch.

Although not properly secured, what justification would you make you call for the wiring to be protected by conduit?

Do you have X-ray vision. :roll:

It’s a judgment call. In my judgment, it’s subject to damage, being installed in a storage closet.

Russell - the unit was rated for 240 service, total of 4,500 watts
Jim - Thank you, I understand what you are saying !!

As far as the conduit for protection, if in a closed, dedicated closet area, I usually don’t call for conduit.

Home had 2 water heaters, different locations, each was switched. Second unit was wired with 12-2 +g at the unit. Breaker found with this type wiring (same plastic cover, labeling) was connected to 20 Amp breaker. whew

Houdini wired this one. Older home built in late 1960’s. Remodeled several times, I am sure. Main panel plus 6 small panels in different areas.

Thanks to all !

The switch may or may not be suitable as a disconnect depending on it’s voltage and type ( single pole vs. two pole). The cable is certainly required to be strapped within 12" of the box.

I make the same call here Joe. :smiley:

Needs to be protected from physical damage.

:wink: thanks all