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Old 12-29-2011, 03:37 PM   #1
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Add switch to furnace?


Is there a code reason I can't add a switch to the 120v supply to my furnace?

It is a horizontal gas unit under the house. Split level. To go from the furnace to the breaker you go from under the house duck walking, to the basement, out front door, to car port, to storeroom, then you are at the breaker panel. Real PITA when working in it, as I am now, just to power it on and off.

I'd mount the switch to a floor joist above the unit.

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Old 12-29-2011, 03:58 PM   #2
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Add switch to furnace?


By code... there should be a "means of disconnect" at the furnace already.
Absolutely put a switch in and while you have the box open add a (gfci) convenience receptacle out there at the same time too.


Last edited by TarheelTerp; 12-29-2011 at 04:32 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:07 PM   #3
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Add switch to furnace?


we don't hookup or plug furnaces into gfci receptacles as they work with grounding and the furnace is ground sensitive. may have the gfi trip intermittently and leave the house w/o heat. gfi's are more for plugging in power tools or outdoors where there is wet grass or hazard of electrocution from water contact.

adding the switch is a good idea.
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
By code... there should be a "means of disconnect" at the furnace already.
Absolutely put a switch in and while you have the box open add a (gfci) convenience receptacle out there at the same time too.
Apparently that wasn't code prior to the 80s.

I already put in an outlet under the house in the same area 15 years ago or so when I had to cut out the kitchen steel drain lines and replace it with PVC.

I was hoping the furnace could be ignored till this summer of 12 or 13. But now maybe not.
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:33 PM   #5
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Add switch to furnace?


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Originally Posted by raleighthings View Post
Apparently that wasn't code prior to the 80s.
I'm pretty sure that the "means of disconnect" rules were in effect LONG before the 80's.
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:41 PM   #6
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Add switch to furnace?


The main thrust of the code is to enable someone to disable the furnace in an emergency without putting that person in harms way. If you locate that on/off switch somewhere between the furnace and the furnace access entry, it will also work for what ever replacement furnace you eventually choose.
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:03 PM   #7
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Add switch to furnace?


Ie: if the furnace is smoking or very noisy the code wants the switch to be B4 you get close to it to keep U safe. I always add a switch at or on the furnace for the tech to use.
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Last edited by yuri; 12-29-2011 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:04 PM   #8
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Add switch to furnace?


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I'm pretty sure that the "means of disconnect" rules were in effect LONG before the 80's.
House was wired when built in 61. Furnace may be original. AC and other things that have never worked since I moved here in 91 were added between 61 and 91. Based on the two different brands of 120V wire I'm guessing in at least two steps. And each by someone in a big hurry. Wiring job was very sloppy.

I'm going to add the switch and clean up the 24v and 120v wiring so I can figure out why the main burners have quit firing. Pilot is OK.

I can see putting a "turn it off NOW" switch in a more accessible place. I'll add that to the to do list for when I toss this one out.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:13 PM   #9
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Add switch to furnace?


need to have shut off near furnace for emergency and service use...
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:15 PM   #10
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Add switch to furnace?


Quote:
Originally Posted by yuri View Post
we don't hookup or plug furnaces into gfci receptacles as they work with grounding and the furnace is ground sensitive. may have the gfi trip intermittently and leave the house w/o heat. gfi's are more for plugging in power tools or outdoors where there is wet grass or hazard of electrocution from water contact.

adding the switch is a good idea.
Yuri, I think that the OP suggested to have the GFCI there for use when cleaning the squirrel cage, plugging in a light, etc, not to plug the furnace into it.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:27 PM   #11
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Add switch to furnace?


True, but I have seen pics of people plugging furnaces into wall sockets etc etc and don't want any other readers to think that is a good idea. GFIs have their place but they can nuisance trip a lot.
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:03 AM   #12
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Found the problem. Thermocouple attached to pilot not allowing main gas valve to open.

But what a wiring mess. Old original fan control switch was not being used but still installed. Removed it.

Various 24 volt lines looked like they were wired with scrap and there was no way to test anything without taking things apart.

120 wiring was over around and through plus connections were, well, crap.

Current fan control relay box with 24 volt transformer was wired up with 14/2 w/g but whoever did it was using the black and white 14 gauge to switch the hot to the fan. And using the ground wire to feed the neutral to the transformer. And tied to the frame.

Put power feed on a switch. Replaced all 120 with new. Ditto 24 volt. Plus all 24 now goes to a termination strip mount where you can get to it.
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Yuri, I think that the OP suggested to have the GFCI there for use when cleaning the squirrel cage, plugging in a light, etc, not to plug the furnace into it.
I agree that's what I took from that statement.

All the time during a change out of systems I will install an additional switch right on the side of the heater with a utility box and a red switch plate even if there's a emergency switch at the top of the steps. (house with basement). House with out basement still install switch.

Last edited by COLDIRON; 12-30-2011 at 06:34 AM. Reason: text addition
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:37 AM   #14
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Add switch to furnace?


you should break the 120Vs with an red plated emergency switch where your in the house just outside the furnace room and make it a reach for youself keep it high..so traffic carrying stuff don't randomly shut it down or near a light switch feeling for a darkened room and hitting the furnace off.
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:49 AM   #15
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Add switch to furnace?


Quote:
Originally Posted by raleighthings View Post
Found the problem. Thermocouple attached to pilot not allowing main gas valve to open.

But what a wiring mess. Old original fan control switch was not being used but still installed. Removed it.

Various 24 volt lines looked like they were wired with scrap and there was no way to test anything without taking things apart.

120 wiring was over around and through plus connections were, well, crap.
That is nothing. The bubba that wired mine, that worked for the company that installed it, took the #12 wrapped a couple of turns around the NG black iron, installed a jb in the middle of the run. At the switch, they had backstabbed one wire, never twisted or cut the extra off of the leads from the furnace. Finally got it straightened out, but shows that you should always double check technicians work.

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