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#91780 02/03/05 06:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 270
Elzappr Offline OP
Can a 3-way switch set serve as a disconnect for a small exhaust fan?
Since the code allows (225.38 exception) 3-ways for a residential garage disconnect, it would seem ok to do the same for the exhaust fan. Yet, it seems a bit dangerous to rely of turning off the circuit with a 3-way, and hoping that someone doesn't come along and flip the out-of-sight switch while you are working on the wiring.

2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
No a 3 way switch can not be a disconnecting means.

A disconnecting means must have a clearly labeled off or open position.

Depending on your exhaust fan one of these will apply.

422.35 Switch and Circuit Breaker to Be Indicating.
Switches and circuit breakers used as disconnecting means shall be of the indicating type.

430.104 To Be Indicating.
The disconnecting means shall plainly indicate whether it is in the open (off) or closed (on) position.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,044
Tom Offline
If you approach this strictly as a motor load, 430-104 requires the disconnecting means to "plainly indicate whether it is in the open(off)..." 430-109 Exception 2 would be the required disconnect (branch circuit breaker), since most of these exhaust fans have very small motors.

Or, if the fan is an appliance, which, IMO it is, then 422.31(A) applies iand you still end up with the branch breaker being the disconnect.

(and while I'm looking this up, IWire beats me to the punch)

[This message has been edited by Tom (edited 02-03-2005).]

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 270
Elzappr Offline OP
Ok, so if the motor is dinky (<1/8hp) and the branch circuit breaker serves as the REQUIRED disconnect, are the 3-ways illegal? Are the 3-ways considered just a controller, since they aren't adequate as a positive means for isolating the motor?

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