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Thread: Disconnect switch required for whirlpool? Appropriate Amps?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Question Disconnect switch required for whirlpool? Appropriate Amps?

    I'm installing a Kohler Sok tub that requires 2 dedicated 20 amp 2-pole circuits to power the pump/blower/heater (per installation manual). I've run two #12/2 wire lines from the panel to the tub install location. I have the requisite 20 amp Two-Pole GFCI circuit breakers. I've constructed the surround to include an appropriately sized access panel to the motors.

    Now that I'm about to move the unit into place, I notice stickers on the tubs built in junction boxes that states "Two Disconnect Switches Are Required To De-Energize The Unit Before Servicing."

    Shoot! I had planned on direct wiring from the panel to the junction boxes. Installation manual does not mention or show the disconnect switch(s) in the wiring diagram.

    I need assistance sorting this out. When I previously installed a mini-split heat pump outside the house I did need to install a waterproof disconnect box within direct eye sight of the unit. The theory being that during servicing the person working on the heat pump can be certain than some other person can not flip the power on without them knowing it (the electric panel is in the basement).

    Do I need to have a disconnect in the bathroom that I am installing the tub in? If so, where can it be located? The access panel leading to the pump/heater does not have much open space. What type of disconnect will I need? I'm a little confused. I can't simply install a standard switch in each of the lines (similar to how I have my garbage disposal) because the lines are both hot (2-pole 220V). Should I purchase a spa disconnect switch 2-pole 40 Amp, to account for two circuits at 20 amp each? If so, where can I install it? Under the vanity within eyesight of the tub motors?

    I live in NJ.

    I would appreciate any input on this.

    Thanks, Eric (aka Logcabin1)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Kent, WA
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    You can get "normal" 20A 2-pole switches. That is one solution. First, a question though. How do the pumps and electronics in the tub get their power -- are there a bunch of cords with plugs or does it come from a central control module and everything is hard wired? If it is cord connected (that's how my tubs works), you can just use the cords as disconnects. If you have no cords then you need a disconnect. The disconnect can be:

    Two 20A double pole switches installed within sight of the tub and within 50' of the tub. I would put them behind the service access panel if you have room there for them.
    The circuit breakers feeding these circuits would also work if they meet the same distance and in-sight requirements.
    You can put a breaker lock on the breakers in the panel. These need to be permanently fixed, so all you have to do is add a padlock to lock it out. THis eliminates the in sight and distance limitations.

    I wouldn't use an air-conditioning disconnect or other large amp disconnect. These typically require free space in front for access (30"w, 36" deep, 6.5" high) so that usually means they are visible and ugly.
    Last edited by suemarkp; 04-16-2016 at 10:56 PM.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
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    Nov 2014
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    Thank you for responding SueMark! (I tried to reply a couple weeks ago but must not have hit the send)

    There are two junction boxes. The first provides power to the heater direct wire (no plug). The second provides power to the factory wired control box via plug. I could mark that one with tape but unfortunately that won't help me severing power to the heater. There are two more plugs exiting the control panel, one headed to the pump, the other to the heater.

    I think your idea with the two 20A double pole switches installed behind the access panel is the way to go in this particular case. I used 2x6's to form the surround so should be able to mount the switches inside a framing member. Do you think that it would be just as good or better to create a low tech disconnect using 20A 220V outlets. Then install a 20A/220V male plug on each leading from each junction box and extending to the duplex? That way if I need to disconnect power I can just pull the respective plug while working on the motor or heater.

    Question. Is there any problem running two separate circuits into a 2-gang junction box? Just to keep things clean I'd like to have one 2 gang with two 20A 220v outlets behind the access panel but have been unable to find a 2-gang outlet cover with the 2 round holes needed to accommodate the two outlets. The box stores and local hardware stores only have single gang outlet covers for the 20A 220V...Eric



    Thanks again. Eric
    Last edited by Logcabin1; 05-01-2016 at 07:41 PM. Reason: wasn't finished with post...

  4. #4
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    A 240V plug and receptacle will cost more than a double pole switch. So I'd just get two double pole 20A switches and put them in the 2-gang. Easy to find a cover plate for those too.

    No problem with having two circuits in the box. You're required to interconnect all the grounding wires, but don't let any others touch.

    I have seen normal looking duplex outlets that are 240V (they have a horizontal prong whereas the 120V ones are vertical, plus the T slot is swapped). Two of those in a box would also be easy to get a cover plate for instead of the single round type of receptacle. They are harder to find though. You could also just put in a single duplex 240V receptacle and break the tabs on each ear. That give you two 240V receptacle in a single gang box. But it will still most likely cost more than the two switch approach. Everything 240V costs more because it is less common, so it isn't discounted as much as the 120V stuff.
    Last edited by suemarkp; 05-02-2016 at 10:48 PM.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  5. #5
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    SueMark, I do like the simplicity and clean look of the switches vs. the 240V plug and receptacle combo. You are telling me that the switches don't need to be able to lock out so long as they are within sight (in this case - 18 inches away). Correct?

    I did find the 2 gang single receptacle wall plate on Amazon...

    Eric

  6. #6
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    Yes. The only requirement is that it have a marked OFF indication. If you were in some industrial or commercial location, you may need a lockable switch (lock out tag out). But even then, there are locking hasps for standard snap switches.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  7. #7
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    Appreciate you taking time to help me thru this SueMark. I'm very happy with the install - clean lines behind the walls which will help me sleep well at night.

    On a side note, I am humbled by your continued community service. I live across the continent but, over the years I have learned so much from you, reading your posts helping folks doing the best they can. You are making a big difference in the lives of people like me. Thanks again, Eric

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