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Thread: 1 pole, 2 wire or 2 pole 3 wire switch for water heater?

  1. #1

    Default 1 pole, 2 wire or 2 pole 3 wire switch for water heater?

    This is probably a dumb question, but...I am installing a disconnect on the water heater to turn it off when I am gone, which is about ALL the time. I thought I knew what I needed, a 30 amp switch. Sounds simple enough. The problem is this, I found a website that has 2 different 30A indoor switches. One is a 2 pole 3 wire and the other is single pole, 2 wire. Both with solid neutrals. The single pole, 2 wire is only 19.99 and the other is 31.99. They both say they are for water heaters. So which do I need???

    Could someone also explain the difference? I am sure once its explained to me it will make sense, but right now its driving me insane! Thanks!!!

  2. #2


    I don't understand the 'solid neutral.' It is a code violation to switch neutrals (unless you are wiring a gas station).

    What you need is a 2-pole 30a switch. Another term for it is a Double-pole single-throw.

    Can you provide a link to this website your found?
    Just my 2 worth.

  3. #3



    I was looking at the 30A non-fused indoor square D switches about half way down.

  4. #4


    The 19.99 one is fine.

    wait...it's not

    Although I have never seen one, it implies that it's a single pole (120v) switch.

    The one next to it says unfused but the description says "cartrige fuses".

    A pullout style is only 15 bucks but you can only enter it from the bottom portion.

    Top left..AC disco

    Last edited by Alectrician; 11-04-2007 at 02:03 PM.

  5. #5


    Their descriptions don't make sense. They say it's a 1-pole, but it's for 240 volts. 240 requires two poles in order to be a disconnect.

    By the time you figure out what you want with an online store, plus pay shipping & handling, you could have it done if you buy locally. I'd say just head down to your local hardware store or home center and pick one off the shelf.
    Just my 2 worth.

  6. #6


    I almost bought a 30A pullout style from my local hardware, but a switch style seems like the better way to go. No pullout thingy to lose. Sure you shouldn't lose it, but ya never know. The last thing I want to do is not be able to take a shower because the pullout I swore I left on top of the water heater has suddenly "walked off!"

  7. #7


    Most pull-out style disconnects are made to accept the 'loose part' in an 'off' position. You just pull it out, turn it 180, and reinsert it.

    BTW, is turning off the breaker not an option? If you can do that, you'll save yourself the time & money to do this.
    Just my 2 worth.

  8. #8


    Turning off the breaker is totally an option, its what I have been doing. I just remember reading on another forum that breakers are not meant to be used as switches and you will wear them out, etc. Not sure how true this is, its just what some internet "expert" said.

  9. #9


    Some breakers are rated to be used as switches. Can you provide the details on the brand and such? If nothing else, you may be able to replace the breaker with one that is switch rated.
    Just my 2 worth.

  10. #10


    The breakers are square D homeline.

  11. #11


    Square D Homeline breakers are rated SWD for use as switches. If you can find those letters on the breaker, it's made to be switched. If not, just purchase a new on that is so marked.
    Just my 2 worth.

  12. #12


    They sure are marked "SWD", I just ran down and checked. Thats what I will do then, just keep turning it off there. Thanks so much, saved money and learned something new. Thats a good day.


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