spdt switch/outlet?

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That would certainly be simplest, but it seems like it is begging for an overload. No code requirement that a waterheater have a dedicated circuit?
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wrote:

How ? If the water heater is not an overload in and of itself, how would an unused outlet create one?

Not that I'm aware of. However, I think you said the water heater draws 13 amps. A water heater of 120 gallons or less is considered a "continuous load" by the Code, which means that the circuit supplying it is limited to 80% of its rated capacity, or 12 amps for a 15A circuit -- which means that a 13A water heater requires a 20A circuit.
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From the 2002 NEC:
210.23(A)(2) "Utilization Equipment Fastened in Place." The total rating of utilization equipment fastened in place, other than luminaires (lighting fixtures), shall not exceed 50 percent of the branch-circuit ampere rating where lighting units, cord-and-plug- connected utilization equipment not fastened in place, or both, are also supplied."
So if you have a 13 amp water heater on a 20 amp branch circuit, this section prohibits you from having a general-purpose receptacle on that circuit.
Just add a new circuit for your water heater.
Cheers, Wayne
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Your reluctance to make a simple hole for a new circuit is puzzling. Punches for this purpose can be had at Lowes, HD, and the other box stores at little cost. Tradesmen do this often and don't break into a rash about it. It is quick, neat, precise, and your friends would all be impressed. And of then there's all the time saved.
Joe
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A Unibit is probably cheaper and does the same job. But I agree with your point.
nate
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also wouldn't want anything else on the circuit that could put me with no hot water.
If a bolt on breaker makes you nervous, kill the main before working on it.
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It wouldn't be "like" a 3-way switch, you can use a 3-way switch for this application. feed goes to the black terminal and the two traveler terminals can go to your two loads. I'd probably go for a 20A switch just for insurance, it only costs a couple bucks extra.
nate
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