Water heater service disconnect question

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by turnsouth, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. turnsouth

    turnsouth New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    I've upgraded my water heater,and had a question on a service disconnect. I have a separate meter, with a different rate, for the water heater, with a dedicated line that goes from the meter to a breaker box, then to the heater.

    The problem is that the wiring and breaker box are decades old, with cloth covered wires in cloth covered romex. When I upgrade I am going to run 8/2 with ground to the box, and then 10/2 with ground to the heater. But I need a small service disconnect with a double 30 amp breaker.

    Anyone know of a brand, and place to get one?

    Thanks
  2. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    Does it require a breaker, or just a disconnect switch?

    Look into an ac disconnect for a switch, or a 2 circuit panel for a breaker.
  3. turnsouth

    turnsouth New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    It just needs to be a double breaker, not an actual disconnect switch.

    I've been searching, but can't seem to find a small 2 circuit panel online.
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Aisle 19, home depot. Online, don't search for panel, search for pull out disconnect.
  5. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    The pull out air conditioner disconnect will be the cheapest route to take. Should be $10 or less.

    You could install a double pole switch at more cost too.
  6. turnsouth

    turnsouth New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    I really wanted to go with a small breaker load center, instead of a pull out.

    I think I found what I'm looking for in a Square D model QO2L30SCP.

    I'll be at Home Depot tomorrow, and I'll poke around there, and see what they have.

    Thanks.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,026
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    They should have small 2, 4, and 6 device subpanels.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Make sure you understand about the separation of ground and neutral in a sub-panel.
  9. turnsouth

    turnsouth New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    I took a look at Home Depot and the Square D model QO2L30SCP would work really nice, 30 amp rated, two circuit breaker slots, nice and compact, and has a lock-out tab for the off position (in keeping with the hard-wire appliance code).

    The only problem would be that it takes QO breakers, which are twice the price of standard Square D breakers. They do seem to be better built though, and the double 30 amp one that I would need has a single external throw, instead of 2 tied together with a bar.

    I looked a one of these with the fused pull-out, and they are quite inexpensive. I'm just not sure if I want to have to worry about having to replace a fuse every time a heating element shorts out (which happens here more often than not, mostly due to our water being about 50% calcium...).

    There isn't any neutral in the circuit, its just 240 with ground from the water heater meter. And I'll be installing a ground bar in the panel, so the neutral bar will be unused.
  10. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    You don't need a fused disconnect. There are pullouts without fuses. They just act like a switch.
  11. turnsouth

    turnsouth New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    I have a dedicated meter for the water heater, and this would be the only panel between the meter and the water heater, so it has to have some sort of circuit protection.
  12. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    If this is the first (or only) overcurrent protection device off of the meter then it MUST be labeled as Suitable for Service Entrance. You may need to go to a 60 ampere panel to get this listing.
  13. turnsouth

    turnsouth New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    Yea, it looks like the QO2L30SCP is not qualified for service entrance. The 70 amp series panels seem to be all service entrance rated, and they are only 5 to 10 dollars more. I'll probably go with one that has a locking lid to stay in code.
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