The switch has a red plate with the words EMERGENCY SWITCH on it. There
are 3 gas appliances in the room: a gas heater, a gas water heater, and
a gas dryer.
Is the switch for a particular one of the appliances in the room, or is
it for the whole room? Under what circumstances should the switch be used?
offer a WAG that it cuts all power to circuits within the room, to reduce
chances of sparking in case of a gas leak? (You don't wanna flip switches if
you smell gas.) Either that or it sets off the alarms, and puts the room
under negative pressure to outside the building?
If I smelled gas, I'd be more inclined to pop the main breaker, unless it
was within the smelly zone, and shut the gas off at the meter, and call the
fire department from my cell outside or from the neighbors. FD and Gas
Company respond very quickly to gas leak reports. I've seen the aftermath of
basements filled with gas lighting off. Usually no fire, since the fumes
burn so quick, but when you pick the entire house up a foot or so and then
drop it, it is pretty much a writeoff.
I would guess, if it is a push button, it shuts down all gas usage
in the room. These are typically required in commercial code
settings. It is a bit unusual for the heater and hot water tank,
as I would think they are a bit unusual in a typical setting. The
buttons are seen most often in kitchens, school science labs, etc.
A live Singing Valentine quartet,
As others have pointed out, the purpose of the switch is to have an
obvious and easily accessible shut off switch in case the furnace or
boiler is malfunctioning. I don't know the specific code that
requires it, but as RBM pointed out, they are required here in NJ for
a furnace/boiler, regardless of fuel. They have a red plate that
says Emergency Furnace Shut Off. I've seen them in homes in NY state
for sure as well. They only shut off the electric to the furnace.
And I don't know what code says about where they have to be located,
but everyone I've seen has been in a location well away from the
furnace. Typical is in the stairwell leading to the basement, just
inside the door. The essential idea is, if the furnace goes nuts
and is rumbling, smoking and making strange noises, you want a way to
shut it off without having to go near it.
If what you're calling a "gas heater" is in fact a furnace or boiler, and it
is enclosed in a room(as opposed to sitting in the middle of a basement),
it's typical to have an emergency switch on the unit as well as outside the
door in case of a malfunction
Well, we can't see it. You can. _Find_out_ what it's connected to, for Pete's
sake. Nobody can possibly tell you what it's for, or when and how it should be
used, without knowing what it's connected to.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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