Return to the Electrical Wiring Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Gas burner emergency switch neccesary?

Posted by dannyjt (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 9, 07 at 9:42

Hi all- Thought this may go in the heating and cooling forum, but since it's electrical I thought I'd start here....

Our house is now heated with gas fired hot air furnace. Used to be oil burner, but right before we moved in the former owners converted to gas, got rid of the old oil tank, and ripped the oil line out of the floor. The emergency switch at the top of the cellar stairs (which is in our kitchen) still seems live. It had a plain white cover on it as well when we moved in instead of the typical bright red switch. I didn't think gas burners needed this switch, so I was going to kill it and remove it while I'm redoing all the walls. Do I need this switch for a gas burner in the state of MA?? Thanks! -Danny

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Gas burner emergency switch neccesary?

I don't know what the code requires specifically for furnaces (it's possible that older gas boilers for radiators don't have any electricity running to them), but if you've got any power running to it (circulating fan, blowers for the high efficiency burners), then there needs to be a disconnecting means within sight of the unit.

If you find you are going to do away with the switch, make sure that you follow the procedure for abandoning wire appropriately (or totally remove it).

RE: Gas burner emergency switch neccesary?

I would turn off the emergency switch and see what happens. If the furnace goes off, you need it. There are some gas fired steam systems where milivolts are produced by gas passing over a miniature turbine. This is enough electricity to run the thermosthat. So this system will run even when the power is off because there are no other electical parts on the system. If you have hot air or hot water or many steam systems, they use some elect. and need the switch.

RE: Gas burner emergency switch neccesary?

If the work is already done, why rip it out?

If something really bad were to happen to the furnace, do you really want to have to get close to it to turn it off?

Go to a big box store and pick up a red "Gas Furnace Emergency Switch" cover plate, put it on, and be done with it.

RE: Gas burner emergency switch neccesary?

Thanks all for the info. I need to check tosee what exactly itdoes,as Coolvt suggested, before I go any further. -Regards, Danny

RE: Gas burner emergency switch neccesary?

Interesting about the special colours/switch plates, the BC electrical code here in Canada doesn't mention them, nor have I seen them in Home Despot, but the BC code does quite clearly call for a cutoff switch for the furnace, and it must be placed in such a way that it can be accessed near the entry of the room, in other words, you don't have to go past your furnace while it's in flames, to turn it off.

If the circuit breaker board's in the right place, you can use the furnace breaker as the disconnect, but you need something. I don't doubt the NEC is similar.

Don't forget, you'll want a convenient way to disconnect the furnace when you're working on it, or in the summer, say.

Mine's right next to the furnace - if I'm doing work on the thermostat or anything, or changing the filter (I run the fan 100% of the time) I can shut it down right there.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Electrical Wiring Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here