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#207158 - 09/29/12 10:35 AM Re: Fan motors
harold endean Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ
I might have posted this one before, you know getting old and forgetful. Anyway, in house with bathroom fans where the fan motor is in the attic, and the motor can be activated from several different bathrooms. The bath fan motor is a fractional HP, is a disconnect switch (snap switch) needed by the fan? Can you install a breaker lock in the panel for that circuit? (Even though there would be other outlets on that circuit including an attic light.)
Any thoughts?

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#207159 - 09/29/12 11:00 AM Re: Fan motors [Re: harold endean]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9012
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
Code wise a properly labeled breaker with a lock should be compliant but since the light is also on this circuit, a local switch certainly makes more sense. I am not sure it would even cost more.
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Greg Fretwell

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#207162 - 09/29/12 12:55 PM Re: Fan motors [Re: harold endean]
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
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Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
I am almost 100% sure that the Branch Circuit Overcurrent Device may also serve as the Disconnecting Means (Motor of 1/8 HP max. in a fixed location...)
Heck, if the Blower Assembly is Cord and Plug connected, the Disconnecting Means could be done by Unplugging the Cord from the Receptacle.

The above Should meet minimal compliance, per 2008 NEC - or more accurately in Californ-ieee-yaaa, the 2010 CEC (Title 24, Part 3: Californ-iee-yaa Electrical Code).

IIRC, Motors of 2.0 HP and less would require some type of Local Disconnecting means - i.e.: General Use Toggle Switch, Motor Rated Switch ("Manual Starters"), EXO type Safety Switch, etc.

Personal input:
All the Roof Mounted Exhaust Fans I have seen/installed/fixed/serviced, or inserted as a Block on Electrical Plans [denoted and specified after inserting the appropriate Block, which looks like " \O\ " ... helps if you are drunk ;)]
have / had a Snap Switch mounted external to the Assembly, either directly to it, or within 5 Feet of the Assembly.

Not that this is the only way to achieve Compliance to whatever Code(s) will be applicable to the Equipment, only this is the most prevailing Disconnecting Means method I am used to.

-- Scott (EE)
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#207168 - 09/30/12 10:45 AM Re: Fan motors [Re: harold endean]
harold endean Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ
Greg,


Would sec. 430.109 (B) mean that the circuit breaker can be used as the disconnect means? If so, would you need a breaker lock on it?

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#207169 - 09/30/12 11:12 AM Re: Fan motors [Re: harold endean]
harold endean Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ
Scott,

As we all know the code is a minimum and we all know what good mechanics should do. However if you get someone, who just wants to do the minimum, because of low bid, then I will have to quote him chapter and verse where it is enforced in the code book.
Now if he has a breaker lock on the circuit, it can be the required disconnect as per 430.109 (B).

Also by the same scenario if the attic light is on the same circuit as the bath fan and the EC locks it out to work on the fan motor, he now can't see the motor.

So if I look at a job and there is no circuit breaker lock and no snap switch for the motor should the job fail?

Maybe under sec. 430.102(B)(1)?

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#207171 - 09/30/12 11:40 AM Re: Fan motors [Re: harold endean]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9012
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
Short answer, yes.

I really prefer the local disconnect switch but the code still allows a breaker lock.
I wonder how many of these breaker lock devices ever get used.
I was hard enough to enforce LOTO procedures in managed commercial installations. I bet residential use is in fractions of one percent. Do residential electricians even have LOTO equipment on their trucks? Certainly the homeowner or the handyman doesn't. I do have a LOTO tag in all of my breaker boxes on a short piece of #12 that goes in the hole of a breaker handle, just for my protection.

Ever forget? Happened to me. wink
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Greg Fretwell

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#207175 - 09/30/12 05:01 PM Re: Fan motors [Re: harold endean]
harold endean Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ
Greg,

I know what you mean about LOTO and when I was in business and I had 4 trucks all of my trucks had a LOTO kits. Did they use it? Who knows for sure. PLUS, I also had 3 licensed electrical contractors working for me. I am pretty sure that most of those LOTO just gathered dust.

This still leaves me with a question, should a bathroom fan that has several switches in different rooms need a snap switch to act as a disconnect for the 1 motor that is in the attic?

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#207176 - 09/30/12 05:37 PM Re: Fan motors [Re: harold endean]
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6786
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Harold:
Sounds like you're going to have to make a call on that. IF the cb gets LOTO, the attic light & whatever else may be on that circuit is DOA.

A snap switch; cord & plug, or a real disco within sight? As it cannot be locked 'off' without creating a possible life safety issue due to no light in the area of the motor, and (I'll stretch here) there are 'multiple switches' that may energize the circuit, then it needs a means of disconnect within site.

Although the letter of the Code allows a CB lockout, doing that in your case creates a life safety issue. One question please, is there a receptacle in the attic?? Is it on the same circuit??
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#207177 - 10/01/12 11:10 AM Re: Fan motors [Re: harold endean]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9012
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
I bet, setting a box with a snap switch is cheaper than any of the other solutions. Those breaker lock out kits are not cheap.
_________________________
Greg Fretwell

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#207181 - 10/01/12 05:19 PM Re: Fan motors [Re: gfretwell]
sparkyinak Offline
Member

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1286
Loc: Alaska
Here's a thought. Aren't motors suppose to have a service disconnect switch within line of site if the motor it serves?...
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