Water Heater


I think your wish is to keep your client safe......if the local governing bodies dont enforce the safety aspect of the disconnection means or lock outs.....since they have adopted the IRC 2003....direct them to Table E4001.5 and they can see the requirement.

Beyond that however…I think you care about the clients safety and the potential safety of service people…so as you know not to quote code but I am sure you have geniune concern for the client if they have a waterheater in the crawl and no way to shut it down and/or lock it out…when being serviced.

That is correct. However, I once educated a county inspector about certain roofing aspects giving him URLs to study and showed him the IRC designation. He said, “Wow, I didn’t know that – I’ll have to take this to the county”. I talked with him later and the commissioners had informed him that the roofers who do the work know more than a home inspector (probably very true) and the people who write books (?).

So, what’s a fellow to do?? I still inform my clients of the way it should be done – they make up their own mind.

And, for what it’s worth, it really wasn’t “the county” – it was “Township Trustees” – we have this township thing in Ohio. The county and the township govern the same areas, but assign various duties to each other.
That way we get even more politicians to support with our tax dollars…

About all you can do my brother…atleast YOU sleep good at night knowing you tried to make a difference and let them know the hazards they are buying into…

You call em as you see em…and thats whats so great about atleast knowing the code ( not quoting it ) is that you can relate to them the safety aspects of the requirements…but cater it on the safety side.

AHHH…i see…one of those township things…Wil told me about one of those in his area…that grouped together and got all GFCI’s thrown out of a community…simply because they did not want them…called CORUPTION !

Called “idiocy”…


This water heater looks relatively new. Can you give us a time frame for this corrosion to occur? [apprx.]
Just curious as I have never seen a water heater in a crawl space.



Good advice. Safety first.

For central a/c units do you require disconnect switches? [re- code]

This is someone’s photo of what they’ll do to make it fit!

It appears to be on plastic, though. Some foresight by installer.

That is a good one Joe, now maybe we can appreciate the fact that water heaters should not be in a crawl space to begin with and be installed in a more comfortable environment like the climatized first floor, right?

I installed a Commercial Dishwasher on a job a couple of years ago for a School Commercial kitchen and there was no way to install or room I should say to mount this huge 150 amp disconnect on the wall, so I asked an electrician working for me as a sub, that had originnally been a Electrical Code Enforcement Officer for 15 years if there was an exception to this rule of within site. He said yes, the disconnect could be mounted in the electrical room and the Main Breaker on the switch gear would have to have a lockable breaker.

Was he right?

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Yes. Pretty much any time that you’re required to have a disconnect within sight, you can substitute a lockable overcurrent device at another location. Some installers of water heaters, air conditioning units, wall ovens, and other such equipment that require a disconnect within sight will substitute a breaker lockoff at the service panel as a matter of preference or economy.


I have never seen anything close to this Barry, and now makes me wonder, does a water heater work in that position?
Would it have been more loggical to install two 20 gal. units and have them upright? Where in Gods name do you find this kind of work?


Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

OMG…JOE…now that to be is a violation of the IRC …simply not enough access for it…and it’s proper installation…Nice PIC Joe…LOVE IT !

Mario- If the AC unit is the indoor model…if it is not within sight of the service panel then it requires a disconnection means…now it can be the breakers in the unit…or a stand alone beside the unit.or a lock out as Marc desribed…but I like to see it at the unit personally… code or no code.

On the outside units…always will need a service disconnection means at the unit…in all cases it is just safe policy.

As I recall it worked just fine, somehow.

When did logic start playing a part in repair work?

I think logic must be a regional thing that hasn’t caught on here, yet.

I believe I was given permission to use the photo by one of the guys on http://inspectionnews.com/

OMG…you are SO right Barry…makes you wonder sometimes WHERE logic even plays a role in some of the things we see…people do the most outragous things…

It was a '93 model. Water heaters are very common around here in crawls. Usually a 40 gallon model is about all you can fit in a crawl.

And when they do not fit you lay them side ways as Barry just showed us, right?
ha. ha.

Always fun on this BB. Interesting subjects.

Take care Joe.

Marcel :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue:

I saw a 40 gallon water heater in a crawl one time. It wouldn’t fit either. So, they dug a pit and put the water heater in the pit. When I saw it, the water heater was 1/3 submerged, as all the water ran to the pit.

Besides making this a dangerous watering hole for the rodents and bugs, won’t that amount of water submerged the bottom element of the heater.?

Thank God I am not a big fan of crawl spaces. Now I know why they call them crawl spaces, anything in them has to crawl including water heaters. ha. ha.

Marcel :slight_smile: :wink:


This was definitely not done by an licensed Plumber. More than likely a homeowner [handy man].

Common sense is not that common I guess.:smiley:

Happy New Year Barry and to all my fellow NACHI members!!!