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Old 12-09-2008, 06:30 PM   #1
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New Furnace, Code Compliance?


We just got a new furnace installed today and the install guys said that the furnace needs to be on its own circuit or we will fail the inspection. The furnace circuit has always been "shared" since we moved into the house, I have done a little re-wiring and have removed some stuff from the circuit but not all of it. At this point it would be impossible to remove everything on this circuit since it runs laundry room lights and that ceiling is closed off. Funny thing is this circuit also runs the downstairs bathroom (lights and outlets). I know its not ideal or in any way code-compliant, but I am wondering if this will fail the inspection on something that has been like this since we moved in.

Will the inspector require it to be re-wired before he will pass it? I know there are multiple things in this house I would like to re-wire on their own circuits, but the panel is a small GE panel and is completely full (I even have a 6 circuit sub panel next to it). We have 10 days to call the inspector (or we have to call the inspector after 10 days not sure which).

Should we be worried about running the furnace on its own circuit before its inspected? And what about the bathroom circuit?

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Old 12-09-2008, 07:55 PM   #2
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You need to check with your local department of buildings -- they generally allow a grace period to have a violation in compliance before you get a fine. And yes the furnace should be on its own circuit

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Old 12-09-2008, 09:01 PM   #3
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You need to check with your local department of buildings -- they generally allow a grace period to have a violation in compliance before you get a fine. And yes the furnace should be on its own circuit
A FINE?!?!? Buddy, you are from NYC, it's called a bribe, NOT a fine. They just call it a fine to sound covert.

Who ever heard of getting a fine for a residential code violation?
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Last edited by Speedy Petey; 12-09-2008 at 10:38 PM. Reason: Mis-read the OP
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Old 12-09-2008, 09:10 PM   #4
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New Furnace, Code Compliance?


The defiantly violates code for the furnace install, also for the bathroom circuit. I don't know how inspections go, but your better off fixing it. or if its the end of the run, pretend like you don't know its a shared circuit, and hope the inspector doesn't check.

422.12 Central Heating Equipment.
Central heating equipment other than fixed electric space-heating equipment shall be supplied by an individual branch circuit.

Exception No. 1: Auxiliary equipment such as a pump, valve, humidifier, or electrostatic air cleaner directly associated with the heading equipment, shall be permitted to be connected to the same branch circuit.

Exception No. 2: Permanently connected air-conditioning equipment shall be permitted to be connected to the same branch circuit.

Also

210.11 (C) (3) Bathroom Branch Circuits. In Addition to the number of branch circuits required by other parts if this section, at least one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply bathroom receptacle outlets. such circuits shall have no other outlets

Exception: Where the 20-ampere circuit supplies a single bathroom out lets for other equipment with in the same bathroom shall be permitted to be supplied in accordance with 210.23 (A)(1) and (A)(2).
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Old 12-09-2008, 09:19 PM   #5
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New Furnace, Code Compliance?


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Originally Posted by theatretch85 View Post
We just got a new furnace installed today and the install guys said that the furnace needs to be on its own circuit or we will fail the inspection. The furnace circuit has always been "shared" since we moved into the house, I have done a little re-wiring and have removed some stuff from the circuit but not all of it. At this point it would be impossible to remove everything on this circuit since it runs laundry room lights and that ceiling is closed off. Funny thing is this circuit also runs the downstairs bathroom (lights and outlets). I know its not ideal or in any way code-compliant, but I am wondering if this will fail the inspection on something that has been like this since we moved in.

Will the inspector require it to be re-wired before he will pass it? I know there are multiple things in this house I would like to re-wire on their own circuits, but the panel is a small GE panel and is completely full (I even have a 6 circuit sub panel next to it). We have 10 days to call the inspector (or we have to call the inspector after 10 days not sure which).

Should we be worried about running the furnace on its own circuit before its inspected? And what about the bathroom circuit?

Now that you have modified the circuit, he may have more of a reason to have you change it.

Does your ge support tandem breakers? What about the sub?

Its not really a hazard, but can be a nuisance.
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Old 12-09-2008, 09:25 PM   #6
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New Furnace, Code Compliance?


If you are speaking about an electrical inspector, than no you don't need to have it inspected in Minnesota unless you have added or modified a circuit.

You don't need to bring existing wiring up to code if you are only replacing utilization equipment.

Are you speaking about an electrical inspector?

There is no reason to call an electrical inspector
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Old 12-09-2008, 09:39 PM   #7
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New Furnace, Code Compliance?


I don't in any way want to imply that you should hide something from your inspector, but really, how is he going to know? I mean, I don't know any inspectors that physically trace a circuit to see where it goes, unless it is a service entrance or some such. Sometimes, things just aren't in the budget, and this one will be fine until you get around to changing it. No harm, no foul.
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Old 12-09-2008, 09:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by NYCtinman View Post
You need to check with your local department of buildings -- they generally allow a grace period to have a violation in compliance before you get a fine. And yes the furnace should be on its own circuit

Electrical inspectors in Minnesota have no authority to fine anybody, in fact they have no authority to make you bring it up to NEC compliance. All they can do is to have the Power Company disconnect you if the POCO sees fit too.

In fact, the plant I used to work at refused to allow the electrical inspector on the premises because he didn't have a 2 million dollar insurance policy which was required. Outside of the Metro area they are all independant contractors working for the state.
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:09 PM   #9
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New Furnace, Code Compliance?


It sounds like you had the wrong furnace company do the work.

I am also in MN and had 3 quotes on systems and ALL the slesman looked at the existing before quoting. I chose to go with the one that had the best history and a reasonably good price (Standard Heating, if that makes a difference). They arrived at 8:00 AM and tore out the old (1980) low efficiency gas furnace, replaced with a new Bryant, matching up to the existing AC coil/plenum, reconnected (one technician was certified for gas connections), had a local licensed electrician do the hook-up and left at 1:00 PM after checking out the system. No problems after 3 years and my AC works more efficiently than before.

About a month later, the local inspector showed up, looked for maybe two minutes and left, saying things like that makes his life easier.

A heating system must have a dedicated circuit or you can run around in circles if it is not code equivalent and you have problems. Would you have an AC system on a combined system? - The two must work together and be able to be separated for any possible trouble shoting problems in the future.
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:53 PM   #10
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The GE Panel has 1/2" spaces for up to 24 breakers however not all the spaces will accept the 1/2" breakers and there is a double full size breaker for the sub panel (takes the space of 4 1/2" breakers). I think I added the last possible 1/2" breaker for the "Energy Detective" main unit. None of the breakers in this panel are listed for use with more than 1 wire, and the panel is already crowded enough. The sub panel has a double pole breaker for the A/C circuit (which was moved from the main panel where the sub panel breaker is now), double pole breaker for the whole house surge protector, and 3 single pole breakers for holiday lighting use (yes I realized its actually an 8 breaker panel). The sub is literally less than 1' from the main panel and as far as I understand it the 7-8 breakers is code compliant. This sub panel is also routed through a second meter in the garage, I set it up this way for measuring power consumption with my holiday light display last year and just left it that way all year long. I have an outdoor subpanel down next to the A/C where I tie in more outlets for the holiday lights in the winter time.

Anyway, we were told we needed to call the electrical inspector to inspect the work; they had an electrician come out and "re-connect" the new furnace (even though the furnace guys did it for a temporary basis just to get it going and some heat). As far as hiding that its on a separate circuit, that may be tough since there is a junction box in which the wire runs through on the other side of the furnace room (opposite where it enters the furnace). I guess depends on how much digging he does.

I have a 32 space QO panel i'd love to replace the GE and the sub panels with, but our current GE panel is a 100 amp panel (and yes I have manged to trip the main a few times). This panel is way too small and has very few slots to really wire the house they way it should be. I've tried to fix some of the bad wiring as best I could with the circuits available, and worst yet there are a lot of MWBC and a quick glance I think at least some of them have the possiblity to overload the neutral (breakers on the same buss).

I will be doing some re-wiring work at the main panel this weekend to straighten some things out and make it look nice for when the inspector shows up including fixing any MWBC issues.
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:01 PM   #11
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New Furnace, Code Compliance?


I fully agree its not code compliant to keep it wired the way it is, especially with the bathroom and furnace sharing the same 15 amp circuit along with lights and other outlets. I technically need at least an additional 2 more circuits downstairs just to give the bathroom and furnace their own circuit, then re-mark the old furnace circuit and keep it with the other lights and outlets, water softener, etc.

My main question is whether I should bother fixing it prior to the inspection or if I should be ok with it being the way it is and "grandfathered" in (I think I know the answer to this already).

I might look into what it would take to install a sub panel in the furnace room, I know I have several feet of 6/4 aluminum, would be more than enough to get a good 4 or 5 circuits out of it. Problem would be running the wire and if I have enough of it too...
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Old 12-10-2008, 05:08 AM   #12
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New Furnace, Code Compliance?


If you installed a subpanel, then you need to have that inspected since it is new wiring. If your furnace wiring was existing and you only replaced the furnace, the existing wiring is not part of his juristiction to inspect.

They can't make you rewire your whole house cause you installed a new furnace, that is ridiculous.

The end.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:23 PM   #13
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If you installed a subpanel, then you need to have that inspected since it is new wiring. If your furnace wiring was existing and you only replaced the furnace, the existing wiring is not part of his juristiction to inspect.

They can't make you rewire your whole house cause you installed a new furnace, that is ridiculous.

The end.
Ah good point about the sub panel. So is the general consensus that I should have nothing to worry about if and when the inspector shows up? Since it should be considered grandfathered in? I was hoping this would be the answer, and I do eventually want to get the electrical problems fixed at some point, but I don't see it happening until the main breaker box is replaced to have the room for additional circuits.

>Edit: I just had a look at some of the wiring and noticed the "electrician" backstabbed the wires into the furnace shutoff switch! Looks like they ran the romex through the flex conduit, curious as to how they topped it off on the other end of the flex, it goes up past the duct work so its hard to see.

Last edited by theatretch85; 12-10-2008 at 09:43 PM. Reason: Additional info at ">edit"
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:00 PM   #14
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New Furnace, Code Compliance?


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Ah good point about the sub panel. So is the general consensus that I should have nothing to worry about if and when the inspector shows up? Since it should be considered grandfathered in? I was hoping this would be the answer, and I do eventually want to get the electrical problems fixed at some point, but I don't see it happening until the main breaker box is replaced to have the room for additional circuits.

>Edit: I just had a look at some of the wiring and noticed the "electrician" backstabbed the wires into the furnace shutoff switch! Looks like they ran the romex through the flex conduit, curious as to how they topped it off on the other end of the flex, it goes up past the duct work so its hard to see.

In my area, the inspector just checks the breaker size. If you didn't change out the a/c, I doubt he would even check that. They will be looking at other things and will not be focusing solely on the electrical circuit (flue, gas, combustion, disconnect, etc.). How is he going to know you don't have a dedicated circuit? He isn't going to cut off the breaker and go throughout your house flipping light switches. The only thing that will throw up a red flag is your panel labeling. The breaker should be labeled furnace. It shouldn't have furnace, bathroom lights, etc. With that said, you should definitely get a dedicated circuit for the furnace. HVAC technicians are only supposed to work on anything past the disconnect. Electricians are supposed to do everything before that. This includes changing breakers. This is rarely the case, however. In my area, changing breakers and running attic lights, etc is common.
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:28 PM   #15
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Maybe i'll just change the label for the panel and re-print it. Currently it shows what all it controls, the lights in the furnace room are connected to this same circuit, so if he does shut off the breaker for some reason, the lights in the furnace room will be off as well.

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