Electric water heater wiring code question - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 06-28-2009, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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In yet another “help a friend” project, I am concerned about how the 240v feed was done to their electric water heater. The wire size (10ga) and breaker (2 pole 30amp) are correct per the NEC for the wattage rating of the heater, but the way the feed connection to the heater was done concerns me. The feed wire comes out of the subpanel – goes up into the floor joists, then across to the heater (about 6 feet – all OK so far), but then the wire just drops out of the floor joists, unsupported for 5 feet and is connected to the heater. Should this drop cable be in BX? Can a non-metallic “armored” cable be used? Saw this: http://www.acehardwaresuperstore.com...00.html?ref=42
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post #2 of 23 Old 06-28-2009, 09:03 AM
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what wire type is it?
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post #3 of 23 Old 06-28-2009, 09:40 AM
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I am not code knowledgeable in this specific area but it doesn't sound right to me. The 5ft unsupported part bothers me. I think it should be attached to the adjacent wall and be firmly anchored where it departs the wall and heads over to the water heater. Go a Picture?

I have some 240v wiring in my basement for my water pump system and none of it is in armored cable, but it is firmly anchored to the walls. I do not have an electric water heater.
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post #4 of 23 Old 06-28-2009, 09:47 AM
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To be honest, I can't recall the code specific to water heaters, but every one I have ever hooked up used BX. That was just the way I was taught.

If I were to think about, I'd say romex shouldn't be used to hook up equipment directly. That includes waterheaters and furnances. If you have the option and want to be sure you meet at least the minimum requirements. Switch it to BX and call it a day.

Your link isn't for a non-metalic cable. That's liquid tight flexible conduit that comes with assembled with connectors and wiring. Neat idea for the retailer...good mark up on parts.
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post #5 of 23 Old 06-28-2009, 09:50 AM
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Just dropping like that is not up to code from my limited knowledge, having just gone through much of this in my own home. The romex is ok in the joists, but I believe it needs to end in a junction box at the ceiling and then into a flex conduit to the install point on the water heater and should be securely connected at that final point.

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post #6 of 23 Old 06-28-2009, 10:07 AM
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it varies by state/county..
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-28-2009, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1brokebrother View Post

it varies by state/county..

That's the generic reply when someone asks about code requirements, but some are more universal than you might think.

Romex isn't rated for machine hook ups, (eg: waterheater).

For the $20 it will cost, just change it, and never think of it again.
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-28-2009, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokinghot View Post

That's the generic reply when someone asks about code requirements, but some are more universal than you might think.

Romex isn't rated for machine hook ups, (eg: waterheater).

For the $20 it will cost, just change it, and never think of it again.

ok.. here ya go.. got my IBEW union card in 1976 made journeyman in 80.. 33 years in the trade..the smart thing to do is verify your own areas requirements..you could have 4 different sets of rules within a few miles ..city,county, state, federal,,
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post #9 of 23 Old 06-28-2009, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1brokebrother View Post

ok.. here ya go.. got my IBEW union card in 1976 made journeyman in 80.. 33 years in the trade..the smart thing to do is verify your own areas requirements..you could have 4 different sets of rules within a few miles ..city,county, state, federal,,

excellent... good for you.

I've had my license for 12 without union protection.

Although you have 21yrs on me, I have to say the smart thing is just to change it. The downside would be the OP being out $15~$20, and having a better installation than anyone else in his neighbourhood. No inspector will have issue with something being done better than is required.

The easiest thing would be to find out if he has to or not. ...actually, he may spend more time trying to find the requirements than he would doing the work.

I guess I should ad that I offer my opinion based on how I'd do it in my own home. That might not always be the quickest/easiest/cheapest route, but it will be at the very least up to code, and if I don't happen to know the particular code. I make sure it will be better than it needs to be. This is one of those situations.
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post #10 of 23 Old 06-28-2009, 07:28 PM
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i would consult an electrician about simply anchoring that NM appropriately to the wall, and installing a 240v outlet. then use an appropriate 240v appliance cord from water heater, and just plug it right in.

i like them done that way anyway, but in this case, it makes a really easy fix.
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post #11 of 23 Old 06-29-2009, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokinghot View Post

That's the generic reply when someone asks about code requirements, but some are more universal than you might think.

Romex isn't rated for machine hook ups, (eg: waterheater).

For the $20 it will cost, just change it, and never think of it again.

NEC allows Romex to be run to equipment, as long as you use bushings and support it properly (5 feet is too far I am pretty sure).

Some local jurisdictions do not allow any romex, some don't allow it for certain conditions, etc. To be sure, you really want to check with the AHJ.

I know in this area, you build a house and having nothing but Romex in it from the panels out.

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post #12 of 23 Old 06-30-2009, 02:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee L View Post

NEC allows Romex to be run to equipment, as long as you use bushings and support it properly (5 feet is too far I am pretty sure).

Some local jurisdictions do not allow any romex, some don't allow it for certain conditions, etc. To be sure, you really want to check with the AHJ.

I know in this area, you build a house and having nothing but Romex in it from the panels out.

I bet the resi electricians in your area love that. My time in the residental side of the trade was spent in custom homes, (mostly filler between commerical work). I can't tell you how many times I forgot the spool of BX for the hotwater heater and furnance hook-ups back at the shop. ...and of course it's a single home in the middle of no where.
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post #13 of 23 Old 06-30-2009, 06:16 AM
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I know where I live that would be legal, same way its done in my home and you had to walk past it to get to the panel and I have this nice big electrical inspection tag on the panel that says passed and it was done 2 days after the final plumbing so I know the water heater was there when the electrical guy came through.
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post #14 of 23 Old 06-30-2009, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
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So I went ahead and put the 5' drop in BX, a fairly easy project and only had to go back to the hardware store one additional time to get misc small parts - I always forget something Thanks for the input guys.
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post #15 of 23 Old 07-01-2009, 12:58 AM
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Just for code reference in SE Michigan area, Howell Livingston Co.

My dual 50 gal H20 tanks in my all electric home with closed loop GeoThermal.
Both tanks hooked up, tank on LH is for the heat pump recover loop, tank on right is 100% on for Hot H20.
If lots of guest over I can turn on the LH tank for more hot H20, rarely have I done that.


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post #16 of 23 Old 02-06-2013, 06:43 PM
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Everything seems OK until the last part. The wire CANNOT simply hang from the above framing. NEC code states that the wire must be secured with a Romex staple a minimum of 12" (unless not possible due to water heater location) from connection point at the water heater, and then secured every 18" along the length of the wire back to the panel as necessary. Usually a 2 x 4 is attached to the concrete block wall from the ceiling (vertically downward), and the wire dropped from the floor joists above is attached to the 2 x 4. Also, since it is a residence, MC (metal clad) cable is not required, but is optional.
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post #17 of 23 Old 02-06-2013, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by localnet View Post

Just dropping like that is not up to code from my limited knowledge, having just gone through much of this in my own home. The romex is ok in the joists, but I believe it needs to end in a junction box at the ceiling and then into a flex conduit to the install point on the water heater and should be securely connected at that final point.


Mike

Yes I believe that is what the NEC says. Now local authorities can override the NEC with tougher or looser requirements so it's best to check. In any case what you suggest here is safe and should present no problems if not inspected.

Note that BX or MC cable can be used in place of flex. Just make sure it has a full size green ground wire. I don't think the old BX with the thinner bare bonding wire is legal anymore but could be wrong on that.

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post #18 of 23 Old 02-06-2013, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbdudex View Post





Are you allowed to just run Romex into flex like that? I don't think that's allowed where I am. Only THHN wire can be in a raceway. Has to do with conductor heating IIRC.

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post #19 of 23 Old 02-06-2013, 07:37 PM
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That was done by lic electrician in Howell mich, and passed inspection May 2002.


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post #20 of 23 Old 02-06-2013, 09:45 PM
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How is it that first-time posters manage to find 3-year old threads to respond to?

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post #21 of 23 Old 02-07-2013, 07:03 AM
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If I had to guess, if you google Water Heater Wiring Code, this thread is mid way down the first page of results. Question is was it when Darthraider stumbled in?
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post #22 of 23 Old 02-07-2013, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

How is it that first-time posters manage to find 3-year old threads to respond to?

OP - I hope you got that job done by late afternoon so you didn't miss the new episode of 'LOST'... biggrin.gif

You're right. I missed that.

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post #23 of 23 Old 02-07-2013, 01:33 PM
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Not your fault, Glimmie! The dust had already been cleaned off...

This seems to be happening often enough here that I try to take a look at the 'thread start date' in the title...

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