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Electrical/Plumbing Question

1486 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  bigdee
I’m in the planning stages of adding a new water heater. I want to add a single element 1500 Watt point of use 12 gallon or 19 gallon water heater to my spare bath. In order to avoid running a new dedicated circuit, I was thinking about connecting the water heater to a 20 amp circuit that only powers the GFCI outlet in the spare bath. I know I can't power both the GFCI and the water heater, so I'd like to add a Leviton 1287 Single Pole Double Throw switch to allow me to select whether to power the GFCI circuit or the water heater. The 1287 is rated [email protected], so it should carry the water heater just fine.

The idea is use this setup only when the power is out and I have to switch to a generator. I plan to cut the line in the attic, use a junction box, and run a line down the wall into a closet where the water heater will be located and connect to the 1287 switch. From there, I'll run a line to the water heater and another back up into the junction box to power the GFCI. I can also go directly through the floor and connect the water heater inline with the hot water supply line. If the plan works, when the power goes off for an extended period of time, I can go into the closet, flip the switch from GFCI to Water Heater, and have enough hot water for a short shower.

To my mind, this should work, but I'm no expert. Any electrical or plumbing experts want to weigh in on this?
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As long as your source hot line breaks at the switch then runs to the "line" in the outlet and your source neutral runs uninterrupted to the opposite "line" side of the outlet. Then just ground everything properly.

Normally your switches break the neutral line, but the GFCI would require the break on the hot line instead. So be prepared to break your water heater on the hot line as well.

Technically, code says only bathroom receptacles can be on a single dedicated circuit, but there can be any number of bathrooms in said circuit. However, an exception was added to say that a single dedicated circuit that controls a single bathroom may control more, and any additional permanent loads (fans, lights, water heater) are limited to 10A.

Edit: Also, your insurance company may consider a bathroom GFCI a "required" outlet, thus making it a code violation to 'switch' it.
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Option is add a split breaker if no more room in the box and run a new line for the water heater only... they make a double pole breaker that fits a single space.
He specifically mentioned that he wanted to avoid that exact option.

Edit: Also, they're still single pole breakers. They're called tandems.

The only other option would be to remove the GFCI outlet and install a GFCI breaker, which wouldn't require an uninterrupted neutral leg and allow both to be switched on the neutral sides of the circuits.
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That is the route that I would go if it were me.
As would I.
oops thanks, I couldn't think of the right term yesterday... brain fart.
It happens. I have stood there many a time, snapping my fingers, drawing an absolute blank on things I know I knew but couldn't remember it to save my life.
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