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Thread: Electrical supplying water heater

  1. #1

    Default Electrical supplying water heater

    Small apt complex in Huntington Beach, Ca. consists of 8 individual units. The gas water heater for 4 units resides in the small laundry room where there is a single duplex outlet that the washer and dryer is plugged into. The rather large water heater, in the opposite side of the small room needs 120 Volts to power it's solid state goodies. What is the best way to get from the Receptacle behind the washer/dryer to the water heater about 12 feet away. The water heater has no pig-tail or any-thing, just 3 stranded wires (black, white and green) at it's own electrical enclosure. Can I do this externally some-way along the inside walls and be "LEGAL" Thanx in advance.
    Last edited by sidecutter; April 13th, 2016 at 01:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    8,515

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    You can run conduit on the surface of the wall without issue. You can run cable (romex, MC, or other types) on the surface of the wall, but it has to be protected from damage. What is sufficient protection varies by each inspector. A guard board above and below is usually OK. Sometimes running on the surface at 8' or higher is considered protected. If the room is tight and it isn't easy to store stuff on the walls or knock/abrade the cable, you may be able to just run it on the surface with no other protection. Having a whip from the wall to the water heater is also common. Typically, people use flex conduit for that, but NM (romex) cable is also legal.

    You best code compliant solution is to put a box extension on the outlet and use a knock out in the extension box for the conduit to the heater electronics. Then, put the receptacle in the box extension so you still have the required receptacle. If that receptacle circuit is the "laundry appliance" circuit, it is only supposed to have laundry loads. You could possibly argue that hot water is needed for laundry, so it is serving a laundry purpose. It sounds like its current needs are small, so it shouldn't be much load burden.

    Also note that all hard wired appliances require a disconnect. The circuit breaker can be the disconnecting means IF that breaker is visible from that laundry room from the water heater location and it is less than 50 feet away. A breaker lock can also be the disconnect if the locking means (padlock hasp over the breaker handle) is attached to the panelboard at the time of inspection. Otherwise (and most convenient for the service tech), put a switch box on the wall as your disconnect, and that box makes a good transition point for the whip to the heater.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3

    Question water heater

    Because of the very small load might it be legal to just cut of the end of an extension chord, (female end) insert it into a romex connector and make the connections inside the Water Heater electrical enclosure? hhhmm certainly would simplify everything. Some-how I doubt it but thought I'd ask anyway. Thanx as always suemarkp for the generosity of your valuable time. Of course the chord would be have to supported against the walls kn some fashion. It would look tacky but might it be legal. hhhmmmm.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    8,515

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    I have put cords on devices with hard wire boxes before. Generally, I think it is OK to do that, but it helps to have the install instructions or listing restrictions. There are only certain cord types you can use (SO, SJ, a few others) and it must have 3 conductors. Do not use the twin brown lamp or extension cord (cord type SP or ST). Buy some cord, and a plug (120V 15A 3 prong) to install on one end. There are proper cord grips available to install into a knock out opening. I've used romex clamps, but there are better cord clamps (you need to know the cord diameter when you buy it, as there are probably 2 or 3 for a given knockout class and cord diameters vary).

    I don't believe there are any cord securing requirements either -- just make it long enough for the job with perhaps 6 to 12 inches of extra length.

    Being a laundry area, you may need GFCI protection on all receptacles in there too.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

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