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Thread: Water heater service disconnect question

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member turnsouth's Avatar
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    Default Water heater service disconnect question

    I've upgraded my water heater,and had a question on a service disconnect. I have a separate meter, with a different rate, for the water heater, with a dedicated line that goes from the meter to a breaker box, then to the heater.

    The problem is that the wiring and breaker box are decades old, with cloth covered wires in cloth covered romex. When I upgrade I am going to run 8/2 with ground to the box, and then 10/2 with ground to the heater. But I need a small service disconnect with a double 30 amp breaker.

    Anyone know of a brand, and place to get one?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Electrical Contractor jbfan74's Avatar
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    Does it require a breaker, or just a disconnect switch?

    Look into an ac disconnect for a switch, or a 2 circuit panel for a breaker.
    Yes I am A Pirate-Jimmy Buffett

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member turnsouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbfan74 View Post
    Does it require a breaker, or just a disconnect switch?

    Look into an ac disconnect for a switch, or a 2 circuit panel for a breaker.
    It just needs to be a double breaker, not an actual disconnect switch.

    I've been searching, but can't seem to find a small 2 circuit panel online.

  4. #4
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Aisle 19, home depot. Online, don't search for panel, search for pull out disconnect.

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    Electrical Contractor Jim Port's Avatar
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    The pull out air conditioner disconnect will be the cheapest route to take. Should be $10 or less.

    You could install a double pole switch at more cost too.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member turnsouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    Aisle 19, home depot. Online, don't search for panel, search for pull out disconnect.
    I really wanted to go with a small breaker load center, instead of a pull out.

    I think I found what I'm looking for in a Square D model QO2L30SCP.

    I'll be at Home Depot tomorrow, and I'll poke around there, and see what they have.

    Thanks.

  7. #7
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    They should have small 2, 4, and 6 device subpanels.

  8. #8
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Make sure you understand about the separation of ground and neutral in a sub-panel.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member turnsouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    They should have small 2, 4, and 6 device subpanels.
    I took a look at Home Depot and the Square D model QO2L30SCP would work really nice, 30 amp rated, two circuit breaker slots, nice and compact, and has a lock-out tab for the off position (in keeping with the hard-wire appliance code).

    The only problem would be that it takes QO breakers, which are twice the price of standard Square D breakers. They do seem to be better built though, and the double 30 amp one that I would need has a single external throw, instead of 2 tied together with a bar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    The pull out air conditioner disconnect will be the cheapest route to take. Should be $10 or less.
    I looked a one of these with the fused pull-out, and they are quite inexpensive. I'm just not sure if I want to have to worry about having to replace a fuse every time a heating element shorts out (which happens here more often than not, mostly due to our water being about 50% calcium...).

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    Make sure you understand about the separation of ground and neutral in a sub-panel.
    There isn't any neutral in the circuit, its just 240 with ground from the water heater meter. And I'll be installing a ground bar in the panel, so the neutral bar will be unused.

  10. #10
    Electrical Contractor Jim Port's Avatar
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    You don't need a fused disconnect. There are pullouts without fuses. They just act like a switch.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member turnsouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    You don't need a fused disconnect. There are pullouts without fuses. They just act like a switch.
    I have a dedicated meter for the water heater, and this would be the only panel between the meter and the water heater, so it has to have some sort of circuit protection.

  12. #12
    Engineer Furd's Avatar
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    If this is the first (or only) overcurrent protection device off of the meter then it MUST be labeled as Suitable for Service Entrance. You may need to go to a 60 ampere panel to get this listing.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member turnsouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Furd View Post
    If this is the first (or only) overcurrent protection device off of the meter then it MUST be labeled as Suitable for Service Entrance. You may need to go to a 60 ampere panel to get this listing.
    Yea, it looks like the QO2L30SCP is not qualified for service entrance. The 70 amp series panels seem to be all service entrance rated, and they are only 5 to 10 dollars more. I'll probably go with one that has a locking lid to stay in code.

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