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Switch height.

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  • Switch height.

    Is there any reason code or otherwise not to locate a switch at outlet height? The reason I ask is that I just figured out that my prefab fireplace has a blower unit to circulate the air. The only issue is the fact that it is hardwired into the nearest electrical outlet. Apparently when they built the house 25 years ago, they forgot to install a switch. The blower has sat under there since then unplugged. The only way to plug it in is to remove the air intake grate and plug the motor in which is not convenient. I tested it and it does run and would work fine if the dust were blown out of it. It would be much easier to replace the single gang outlet box next to the fireplace with a double gang and put a switch in. I probably could fish a piece of romex down the wall, but there is only 12" between the fireplace stone surround and the window next to it, so I would be concerned about knocking a hole for the switch and finding out there was a piece of blocking in there. I guess I could go ahead and yank the outlet box and fish up the wall and try to see if there is a blocker, but if there is, is there a problem with putting the switch next to the outlet. I am in Roanoke, VA which appears to be NEC 2005 and IBC 2006.
    Thanks in advance!
    Jim

  • #2
    Re: Switch height.

    I'm going to put this in the form of a question, for a blower motor with a switch as a disconnecting means, rather than risk "co-latteral damage" in the living room, would a switch be permissable to be placed down below in the basement?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Switch height.

      I'm Sorry, I don't understand your question. This is one of those blowers that intakes air under the fireplace, circulates it between the double walls, and blows it out the grille above the fireplace. What do you mean by collateral damage? I would hate to have to run down to the basement every time I wanted to light the fireplace and knock the chill off. The fireplace has gas logs in it, the blower is just a means to move some heat back out into the room. The basement is finished BTW, so adding a switch down there would be more difficult than adding one upstairs.

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      • #4
        Re: Switch height.

        Both my fireplaces have switches for the blower at outlet height. These were installed when the house was originally built in 1988.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Switch height.

          Thanks, that is what I was curious about. Since it is within easy reach when you bend down to turn it on anyway, I really don't see any reason not to. I just don't want to get gigged by a home inspector in the future for some BS code violation. It isn't like a kid will get hurt by turning on a totally enclosed invisible fan. Of course, the home inspector I had didn't even notice that there was a blower on top of a vented log set pumping chimney gas out into the room! They are going to be replaced by an unvented set to get some heat out into the room!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Switch height.

            No need to cut the drywall for a gang box. If you don't need 2 outlets in that location, simply replace the existing duplex outlet with a split outlet/switch combo. Then all you have to do is wire the 1 outlet as before and power your blower thru the switch half.

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            • #7
              Re: Switch height.

              Originally posted by JTROANOKE View Post
              It isn't like a kid will get hurt by turning on a totally enclosed invisible fan.
              I can attest to the fact that young kids do like to turn it on though.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Switch height.

                I thought of doing that but my outlets in this room are split top and bottom with the top half on a wall switch and the bottom half hot all the time. I guess I could just make the switched side pass thru, and leave the hot all the time outlet side. I am not worried about enlarging the existing box - that is easy. I was more concerned about fishing wire down from regular switch height and running into a blocker - with the short proximity to the window who knows what extra framing is there. The walls have a sand swirl plaster finish on them that is hard to patch invisibly and also seems to affect the accuracy of my stud finder.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Switch height.

                  Originally posted by cpw View Post
                  I can attest to the fact that young kids do like to turn it on though.
                  Mine are teenagers so that will be the next owners problem!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Switch height.

                    Originally posted by JTROANOKE View Post
                    I am not worried about enlarging the existing box - that is easy. I was more concerned about fishing wire down from regular switch height and running into a blocker - with the short proximity to the window who knows what extra framing is there. The walls have a sand swirl plaster finish on them that is hard to patch invisibly and also seems to affect the accuracy of my stud finder.
                    Remove the existing receptacle box and you will be able to probe up to where you want the new switch box. You will be able to tell quickly if there are obstacles.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Switch height.

                      I don't know if this is possible, not having seen your fireplace, but mine has the switch built in down near the bottom (where the fan is). Can you add one there?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Switch height.

                        Originally posted by Pipestone Kid View Post
                        I don't know if this is possible, not having seen your fireplace, but mine has the switch built in down near the bottom (where the fan is). Can you add one there?
                        Not without doing some rigging. The louvered grill extends all the way across the bottom and I would have to put a hole in it. Doing holes and a neat mounting in a louvered part would probably not be as aesthetically pleasing to say the least. I think the manufacturer used to offer a kit, but it would have to be installed before the fireplace was installed. There is a knockout halfway up the front on the side.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Switch height.

                          Originally posted by JTROANOKE View Post
                          Not without doing some rigging. The louvered grill extends all the way across the bottom and I would have to put a hole in it. Doing holes and a neat mounting in a louvered part would probably not be as aesthetically pleasing to say the least. I think the manufacturer used to offer a kit, but it would have to be installed before the fireplace was installed. There is a knockout halfway up the front on the side.
                          Bummer! If it were me, I would put it right where you asked about in the first place.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Switch height.

                            pull box. stick a inspection mirror in hole and look. if there is a block, you will see it. breid................

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Switch height.

                              Yeah, I think I will go to the borg, and pick up a switch and a single and a double box - that way I am covered either way. No block - switch high, block, switch low. Probably better get two singles so I can replace the one I rip out! Getting boxes out is much easier when you don't want to save it! Have Sawzall, will use!

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