Scorched Outlet and Plug from Furnace Blower Motor

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In a rental I own the tenants called because they smelled something burning in the closet where the natural gas furnace is located.
I went there last night and saw that the standard AC plug that comes out of the furnace and plugs into an outlet in the closet was scorched and they likely smelled the burning plastic.
This was not an over-current issue as the blower motor has a fuse in the line inside the furnace (something I put in about 1987 and it has never blown). I think it was just a crappy outlet that was making poor contact on the hot and neutral and it was arcing every time the blower motor turned on.
I thought it rather strange that the AC for the furnace was using a regular cord rather than being directly connected to the AC supply with wires inside flexible conduit, but I replaced the AC socket put in a new cord from the junction box inside the furnace (rather than attaching a new plug to the existing wire).
I'm thinking of going back and directly wiring it into the outlet box, though the current plug/socket arrangement has worked since it was built about 30 years ago.
Is it normal for the AC power for a gas furnace to be connected with a plug/socket? It's not like that in my own house.
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Not normal, but saves putting in a switch. A switch is normal.
Greg
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In typed:

I can pretty much agree with your analysis but what it may have been was a poor connection at the plug/socket resulting in the arccing that was smelled and visible. I've seen it twice in my lifetime but was forwarned of it by my mentor so wasn't terribly surprised when it arose.
As for removing the plug: Check with your local code envorcement office. Around here, there is a rule that there must be a quiick disconnect on a furnace so it can be turned off without getting near it. Around here (upstate NY), most are located in the stairwell to the basement. Your local enforcement people can tell you right off the top of their heads I bet if it's required.
HTH,
Twayne`
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On Sat, 4 Feb 2012 14:31:37 -0500, "Twayne"

In MOST cases, the plug passes as the disconnect if it is reachable from the door
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On 2/4/2012 4:13 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

MOST?? Got a cite for that, or is this just more of the nonsense you pull out of thin air?
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In MOST CASES WHERE IT IS ALLOWED. It is OBVIOUSLY allowed some places, as there are numerous reports of it being "common" in certain areas.
Code requires a way of disconnecting the furnace within sight or reach of the furnace. In most cases a switch is used - BUT WHERE A PLUG-IN CONNECTION IS ALLOWED, the plug IN MOST CASES passes as the disconnect.
Do you try real hard to be an ignorant prick, or does it come naturally??
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On 2/4/2012 11:08 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I just try to deal in fact. Fact I or others can support. Every thing written by you in the above lines is pure conjecture. Not one shred of evidence or documentation.
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On 02/04/2012 04:13 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

but if you want to hardwire, a toggle switch outside the door is usually acceptable. They even make special red cover plates for just this purpose.
nate
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wrote:

Here in Waterloo Region, Ontario, I THINK the requirement is within 6 feet of the furnace and gas shut-off. My furnace was replaced 7 years ago, and the shutoff for both gas and electric is within arm's reach when standing in front of the furnace service access door. (the furnace, not the furnace room) and within 3 feet of each other.
In my old house 30 years ago I switched from oil to gas and they installed a shutoff switch within about 3 feet of the furnace, on the floor joist above. Cannot remember where the shutoff was for the oil furnace but I THINK it was over by the oil tank, which was in what was originally the coal room. About 6 feet from the BOTTOM of the cellar stairs.It was eliminated (wires wire-nutted together and blank plate installed).
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wrote:

arguement is "does it or does it not meet code"
A good plug and outlet should be fine for another 30 years or so.
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As I understand, that's a violation of the National Electrical Code. But, of course, you should consult with your own town's code officer. If you're really concerned.
Socket and plug makes it a lot more convenient during power cuts, to power the furnace from a generaor. Maybe just easier to leave it be.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
In a rental I own the tenants called because they smelled something burning in the closet where the natural gas furnace is located.
I went there last night and saw that the standard AC plug that comes out of the furnace and plugs into an outlet in the closet was scorched and they likely smelled the burning plastic.
This was not an over-current issue as the blower motor has a fuse in the line inside the furnace (something I put in about 1987 and it has never blown). I think it was just a crappy outlet that was making poor contact on the hot and neutral and it was arcing every time the blower motor turned on.
I thought it rather strange that the AC for the furnace was using a regular cord rather than being directly connected to the AC supply with wires inside flexible conduit, but I replaced the AC socket put in a new cord from the junction box inside the furnace (rather than attaching a new plug to the existing wire).
I'm thinking of going back and directly wiring it into the outlet box, though the current plug/socket arrangement has worked since it was built about 30 years ago.
Is it normal for the AC power for a gas furnace to be connected with a plug/socket? It's not like that in my own house.
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On 2/4/2012 4:26 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Personally, I'd put in a new receptacle and plug but it would be best to check with your local electrical inspector.
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In

As has been mentioned, it pretty much depends on where you live and what the code enforcement for that area has specced for it. I don't know of any such places, but I suppose there could even be areas where no more than the NEC requirements are needed and local codes say nothing except it must be to NEC specs. Here, a plug/socket is not the only method allowed. A bar-operated pull switch could also be used. It will last longer, by decades, than a switch, has a wiping action on the contacts when it's opened/closed and some of them even have fuse holders for specific furnace-fusing. The How-to... site has some pretty good information on this aspect of it all.
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SMS wrote:

That may be against code or it is possibly risk factor. All the houses I had built and lived in, furnaces had a cut off switch(like a wall plate sw.) near the furnace. Back at the main house panel there is also breaker dedicated to the furnace. After all major current drawer in the furnace is blower motor.
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wrote:

In a house I have that was built in 1971 it has a wall receptacle in the gas furnace closet and the furnace has a cord and plug on it just like yours.
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Not sure if it's in all cases. Any device using a plug and cord is your own stuff, to do whatever. But, a furnace might be classed differently.
Greg
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Not True Greg plug/socket is for a Lock-out Tag-out
Written procedures detailing the lock-out tag-out procedure are required for equipment having two or more energy sources.
Written procedures communicate important information to persons performing lock-out tag-out.
They identify energy sources, provide step-by-step instruction for locking or tagging out energy sources, releasing stored energy, and verifying the equipment cannot be re-started after lockout is applied.
Group lock-out tag-out procedures must also be clearly documented. Procedures must be kept up-to-date, and changes must be communicated to everyone who may possibly be affected by them. They are only useful if all the information they contain is correct.
for more info on the lock-out tag-out....... < http://ehs.ucsc.edu/safety/lockout_tagout.php
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Do not going back with directly wiring, For it was setup with a plug/socket for a Lock out and Tab Out system,
The lock-out tag-out standard requires that hazardous energy sources be "isolated and rendered inoperative" before maintenance or servicing work can begin.

Yes For: OSHA requires three basic elements in a lock-out tag-out program. These are training, written procedures, and inspections. Training is required for two types of people; "authorized employees" and "affected employees." Authorized employees are people who do the maintenance or servicing work. They are the people who actually perform the lock-out tag-out. Affected employees are people who may be affected by or work near equipment which is locked or tagged out. Affected employees are not permitted to perform servicing or maintenance work which requires a lock-out or tag-out.
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wrote:

I've seen plugs on furnaces in Trailer homes, but not in regular houses. You probably had a loose connection, or corrosion, it was arcing, got hot, and burned. You were smart replacing the whole cord, plug, and outlet. I see no advantage to using a plug. If you want a shut off, install a switch. Then wire it direct. The breaker to the furnace should be dedicated for only the furnace, so that's a shut off too, but if the breaker box is far from the furnace, add a switch for convenience.
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On Mon, 06 Feb 2012 10:21:25 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

I don't know about the code specifically but last time I had a professional do work where he replaced my air handler for the AC he said the current code required him to install a pull-fuse connection box on the wall (it used to be direct connection). This is in addition to the regular breaker in the main panel. Presumably there is a code requirement that there be a way to positively disconnect the equipment within reasonable reach of the equipment. I don't know if a switch would be considered equivalent but it seems to me a switch of the type usually used in houses would be too difficult to "lock out", too easy to accidentally flip back on. All my AC units (the outside part) have pull-fuse boxes on or adjacent to the unit.
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