I just bought a new home in NE Pa. It's about 4 years old. Just inside
the kitchen coming in from the door of the attached garage is an
on/off switch with a bright red cover plate. I'm assuming it's the
safety switch for the furnace to turn it off in an emergency. The
furnace is gas/hotwater.
When the furnace is running and I flip the switch, nothing happens.
The furnace keeps running. I checked in the basement and just below
where the switchplate is located, exiting from the corner of the base
stud plate is about 10 feet of coiled 14/2 wire just hanging there. On
it in ink is written "furn safety". But it's not connected to
Was this an oversight on the part of the builder/electrician? Or did
it suddenly become a non-code item? I find it hard to believe than an
inspector would miss it.
If this must be hooked up, how do I go about doing it? Just finish the
run to the power near the furnace and splice it in so that power runs
to the furnace only when the switch is turned on and the circuit is
Or just forget the whole thing?
You do want an emergency switch for the furnace. It may be possible that
another switch was installed at a different location? There should be one on
or at the furnace and another outside of a room that the furnace is enclosed
in or if it's in an open basement, you may find one at an entrance to the
basement. If it needs to be connected , you can break into the circuit at
the disconnect that's near the furnace. It should be connected in series
with the other switch, so both must be on to power the furnace
On Sun, 3 Dec 2006 19:08:15 -0500, "RBM" <rbm2(remove
There is a switch a few feet from the furnace, right at the power
entry point. Aside from that, there is no other switch.
Again, I find it hard that this would be overlooked, especially if
somebody took the time to write on the wire what it was for.
Can't you get hold of the seller? If no longer local, get the real
estate agent stirred up about a possible safety element.
Worst come to worst, is there some kind of municipal oversight
that can help you answer the q?
Wrong approach, I'd say: at this stage of the game, I don't think
stirring up the local authorities and bringing an adverse inspection
situation down on their head is what the O.P. wants or needs.
If anything, the services of an electrician would be helpful. They might
not charge much (or anything) to come out and look at your setup and
tell you what's what. As someone else here says, it's not rocket
surgery. And not likely the house is going to burn down in the meantime.
Just as McDonald\'s is where you go when you\'re hungry but don\'t really
care about the quality of your food, Wikipedia is where you go when
You said 4 years old, so I presume there was a previous owner.
I find it hard to believe the previous owner would have missed that.
Assuming that is what the switch is for, there's no way of knowing that by
the way, unless you could get the previous owner to confirm that.
If it were my furnace, I'd have it inspected thoroughly and ask about the
cost to have the switch installed assuming there isn't another one already
hooked up elsewhere. 14/2 is pretty thin gauge wire, so it sounds right for
a shutoff switch. The builder may have just changed his/her/it mind while
locating the switch and put the functioning one elsewhere.
Mine's right next to the furnace, probably not the best place for it if
there was an emergency.
I too live in Pa, ABE area. I was told that some local communities
want 'emergency' 'service' switches relocated to right next to the
furnaces. One, the NEC requires a in-sight switch, and two, home
owners have blown up their homes flipping the switch. They smell gas,
and rather than leave and call the fire dept, they hit the switch, and
Just saying what I've been told.
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
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