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Mike
Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1425
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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I own a Tankless Electric Water Heater (see that runs OK.

Customer Question

I own a Tankless Electric Water Heater (see http://store.marey.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MAREY110) that runs OK. I would like to place an on/off switch in-line with its power cord or between the cord's end and the outlet. The "baby" pulls 23.5 amps. Can it be done? How do I go about it? Your assistance is appreciated. Thanks!!!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. 1) What type of receptacle is the heater plugged into? Is it a 3 prong, grounded receptacle that is rated for 30 amps, 20 or 15 amps? Is it a NEMA rated 5-30R receptacle or a 15 or 20 amp receptacle? Is the wall receptacle located within a bathroom area? 2) What size is the circuit breaker? A 30 amp single pole? Is the breaker a GFCI type with a "test" button? Or is the heater currently plugged into a wall 15 or 20 amp GFCI receptacle? 3) Are the branch circuit conductors 10 AWG Copper? 4) Where are you located at in the US?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ii is a 3 prong, grounded receptacle. I assume that it is rated for at least 20 amps, since its been working for over three years without a "hitch". No test buttons anywhere. The receptacle seems to be an addition to a house with solid masonry/concrete walls built more than 60 years ago. The heater's power cable is 3 prong also, about 2.5 to 3 feet long, and the receptacle is in the bathroom. The wall receptacle box is a single gang box. I'd prefer not to go into the box. I have no answer to the rest of your questions.
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the replies.
1) I assume that you reside in the United States. If so, the Marey 110 product does not show any "UL" or "ETL" listing on their cut sheet. This product is manufactured in Puerto Rico. I'm not sure how they can sell this product within the United States since our National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that electrical products be "listed".
2) The installation video and cut sheet does not show the type of receptacle on the cord, only that it is a 3 prong receptacle and based on the video, it appears to be either a standard 120 volt 15 or 20 amp plug. Yet, per the cut sheet, this product requires a dedicated 30 amp GFCI circuit breaker. I doubt that you have this in your electrical panel since a 30 amp single pole GFCI breaker is rare and often won't fit into many electrical panels. Per the NEC, all bathroom receptacles are required to be GFCI protected. They don't sell a 30 amp GFCI receptacle. It is against the NEC code to install a 15 or a 20 amp 3 prong receptacle onto a 30 amp circuit. If a 30 amp circuit and the product is rated 120 volts, the wall receptacle needs to be a NEMA rated 5-30R and the branch circuit conductors need to be 10 AWG copper. The cord needs to be a NEMA rated 5-30P and it does not appear that it is based on the video installation. I suspect that the existing installation does not contain any of these since most bathrooms do not contain a 30 amp GFCI protected circuit.
3) In addition, since it appears that the plug end of the cord is either a 15 or a 20 amp standard 3 prong receptacle, I do not understand how the manufacturer can sell this product and adhere to any NEMA standards since based on the cord plug, it looks like it is only a 15 or a 20 amp cord? Yet the heater requires a dedicated 30 amp circuit due to the 2.6kW wattage rating of the product. The cord is also too short to plug into any bathroom wall receptacle since the receptacle would be considered too close to the shower area.....ie...... another code violation.
4) As a licensed electrical professional, I can only provide answers and recommendations by complying with safe and NEC code compliant installations.
Personally, I recommend to not use this product as it presents safety issues if the product is installed and being used in the United States.
Therefore, I will opt out of the question and place it back to the open board. Perhaps another electrical expert here has a different opinion than I do of this product? No need to reply back to me as you will be notified once another expert picks up the question.
Thanks.......Kevin