Electrical Question

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When my house was being built, I asked that the electic hot water heater be put on a plug so that I could easily unplug it and plug in my welder, which is only used once in a while.
I was told that this was not allowed and the electric water heater was hard wired to the feed.
I'm Ok with that, obviously, but I wonder the reason that the code wouldn't allow the hot water heater on a plug disconnect, like the electric clothes dryer.
Does anyone here have a suggestion as to what the problem would be that the code has to mandate a hardwired connection ?
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Dumb code, probably because of nearby water. But electric stoves use plugs and have lots of water boiling on them when canning so why can't a water heater use the same code??
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On Tue, 14 May 2013 05:41:46 -0700 (PDT), Robert

It is simply because the manufacturer did not have the water heater listed for cord and plug connection. They cite 110.3(B) "Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling."
I used my welder on the dryer plug for many years. It still has a dryer plug on it, so does my big pressure cleaner. That makes it handy if I go to someone elses house.
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It would have to have the cord installed with proper strain relief. Special order, special cost, or something like that
Greg
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wrote:

If I saw a "dryer cord" with the proper connector, I would keep walking. A plug cobbled onto a piece of Romex, not so much.
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Same code for furnaces. I'm not sure why. . Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org . .
When my house was being built, I asked that the electic hot water heater be put on a plug so that I could easily unplug it and plug in my welder, which is only used once in a while.
I was told that this was not allowed and the electric water heater was hard wired to the feed.
I'm Ok with that, obviously, but I wonder the reason that the code wouldn't allow the hot water heater on a plug disconnect, like the electric clothes dryer.
Does anyone here have a suggestion as to what the problem would be that the code has to mandate a hardwired connection ?
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If you're having a new house built, why not install a separate outlet for the welder? It's a minimal expense that would save a lot of hassle in the future.

I wonder if that's a local requirement? I looked in my Code Check Electrical book and don't see any mention of a hard wire connection. In fact, many small water heaters come from the factory with corded plugs.
As long as the plug and wire are rated for the load, I don't see what difference it makes. It's not like you'll be tripping on the cord or anything.
I installed water heaters at my house and my in-laws house with a 60A range cords and recepticles. We live in two different counties in Washington state, and both were inspected installations. Neither inspector made any mention of it.
In my opinion, it is a safer installation if you need to work on the water heater (replace an element, or whatever). You can simply unplug the heater instead of worrying whether the breaker is turned off on the other side of the house (I believe breaker lockouts are now required for hard wired appliances for just that reason).
An electric water heater is usually put on a 30A circuit, the same as an electric clothes dryer. The dryer could potentially pull more current as the motor starts up, so the same setup should be more than adequate for a water heater. I chose the 60A cord and recepticle because I preferred the heavier cable, but a standard dryer cord would have been sufficient.
I would be interested to hear the code reference that prevents corded installations. Unless things have changed, I thought corded installations were standard practice in places like Florida.
Anthony Watson www.mountain-software.com/about.htm
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****** That's what we did and I'm quite satisfied with it. I also had a separate 120V/ 30A outside outlet to plug in a motorhome or camper, and at least one 120V/ 15A GFI outside outlet on each side of the house..... Minimal expense, and very handy for electrical tools and trimmers.... ...
I was just thinking about this water heater thing, and couldn't think of a good reason the water heater disconnect wasn't allowed. I think if I have to replace the water heater in the future, I might put in a disconnect like is used for the outside air conditioner, just on general principle.....
Thanks to all who answered...
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On Tue, 14 May 2013 14:44:22 +0000 (UTC), HerHusband

All power vent gas water heaters and 115 volt electric water heaters have plugs. NO 240 volt water heaters in North America come with plugs. Now, if you want to become a "manufacturer of record" you can buy an "incomplete" water heater and a cord, and produce a corded water heater with you as the final manufacturer - and get special electrical inspection or CSA / UL approval for it - which makes it lagal to plug in.

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On Tuesday, May 14, 2013 8:41:46 AM UTC-4, Robert wrote:

ich is only used once in a while. I was told that this was not allowed and the electric water heater was hard wired to the feed. I'm Ok with that, obv iously, but I wonder the reason that the code wouldn't allow the hot water heater on a plug disconnect, like the electric clothes dryer. Does anyone h ere have a suggestion as to what the problem would be that the code has to mandate a hardwired connection ?
Code around here requires a disconnect at the appliance for hardwired thing s like AC and water heaters. A locking breaker might get past that but I s uspect a lot of residential inspectors would still fail you for not having a disconnect.
I'm partial to the dryer plug idea as well for your welder. The main downs ide is a lot of dryer outlets are on the floor or too low on the wall to ge t at without moving the dryer.
I have seen more examples of cords installed on garbage disposers and dishw ashers in recent times. Those used to usually be hardwired. So I'm not su re if the inspector can really fail you for putting a plug on your water he ater. But I'd ask first as if they do fail you there is not a lot you can do. Going over their head just means they will nitpick you from that day o n.
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Years ago stoves and dryers were all hard wired, then, with some wisdom they mandated cord and plugs, which I welcomed. I have always installed dishwashers and garbage disposers via a cord and plug. The last appliance I installed was a high efficiency gas water heater, which uses a small electrical burner motor that generates the flame and a computer to control it, both low amperage. I installed it with a cord and plug as well.
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Oh, man, someone in the USA still practices freedom? My hope for humanity is restored. . Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org . .
The last appliance I installed was a high efficiency gas water heater, which uses a small electrical burner motor that generates the flame and a computer to control it, both low amperage. I installed it with a cord and plug as well.
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On Tue, 14 May 2013 16:16:36 -0400, "EXT"

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On 5/14/2013 6:41 AM, Robert wrote:

The NEC covers allowed cord connections in 400.7. Permitted uses that are relevant are: 6. Connection of utilization equipment to facilitate frequent interchange. 8. Appliances where the fastening means and mechanical connections are specifically designed to permit ready removal for maintenance and repair, and the appliance is intended or identified for flexible cord connection.
Number 8 applies to electric stoves and clothes dryers.
Neither apply to water heaters (or furnaces).
Uses not permitted are in 400.8 1. As a substitute for fixed wiring of a structure.
Can you cord an plug connect an outside air conditioning compressor/condenser?
Someone looked up requirements in UL standards for cords and romex. A lot of the tests for cords were for flexibility, much different from romex.
A possible 'compromise' might be a disconnect at the water heater with a receptacle wired before the disconnect.
------------------------------ Regarding a similar recent thread, on furnaces if I remember right, the NEC explicitly allows garbage disposers to be cord and plug connected.
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On 5/14/2013 6:38 PM, bud-- wrote:

I use an electric water heater that is cord and plug connected. The manufacturer didn't intend it to require periodic disconnection and removal, but my particular installation required it. I only use it for summer hot water. I kill my boiler and indirect domestic hot water tank, and connect the electric with stainless steel flex hoses, flip a couple of valves and plug it in. Clearly, the manufacturer didn't intend it to be connected in this fashion, but it works for me. Some times you just gotta cheat.
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On 5/14/2013 5:15 PM, RBM wrote:

If you are not moving the electric water heater you could do the same thing with a disconnect at the water heater, maybe with a padlock-off.
Moving it seems like a lot of work. Would think you could find a permanent home with permanent plumbing and valves.
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On 5/15/2013 1:20 PM, bud-- wrote:

problem moving it once I drain it. I like to have all the orifices open so it can dry out during the winter months
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Uh, you weld inside your house?
Just saying.
Fire hazard, fumes, complaints from the spouse, etc.
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TimR wrote:

Plus, danger, complaints from neighbors, kids wanting to help...
Doesn't get much bettter!
Reminds me of the project involving molten aluminum! This project required a 1-gallon steel food can, a one-pint steel soup can, some charcoal briquettes, a hair-dryer, and some cut up pieces of aluminum beer cans. Plus, of course, some tongs and stuff.
You'll also need a mold for your aluminum casting.
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On Tue, 14 May 2013 05:41:46 -0700 (PDT), Robert

Safety.
What if you were welding and the water heater had a catastrophic failure and you were suddenly standing in a couple inches of water while using the electric welder.
Not only would you be electrocuted, your homeowners insurance would not pay for the damages and the town would fine you for not having a permit. And not only that, your wife would be pissed at you for making a mess.
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