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Electrical power switches & emergency off switches, control relays, door switches, reset-buttons, safety switches, & controls for air conditioners, heat pumps, heating equipment, water heaters:
This article lists & describes the usual location and function of electrical switches that control or power to all types of air conditioning, cooling equipment, heat pumps, heating equipment or water heaters.
We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.
Our page top photo shows a typical emergency off switch for a heating system. Our photo below shows a fuse box that is used to accomplish the same purpose, though this older switch is more likely to be found near the entry to a basement where heating equipment is located.
A Guide All Controls & Switches for Air Conditioners, Heat Pumps, Heating Furnaces & Boilers, Electric Furnaces, Water Heaters
For details about the setting, re-setting, or function of the controls and switches commonly found on air conditioners, electric heat, heat pumps, boilers, furnaces (warm air heating systems) and water heaters,
see these articles:
Master Index to HVACR & Water Heater Controls & Switches
The articles at this website describe the basic components of a home heating system,
how to find the rated heating capacity of an heating system by examining various data tags and components, how to recognize common heating system operating or safety defects, and how to save money on home heating costs.
We include product safety recall and other heating system hazards.
If your building has lost heat, checking that the heating equipment is actually turned "on" at all of these switches is a first step in diagnosing the problem. This article series answers most questions about central heating system troubleshooting, inspection, diagnosis, and repairs.
We describe how to inspect, troubleshoot and repair heating and air conditioning systems to inform home owners, buyers, and home inspectors of common heating system defects.
Electrical power switches on heating and cooling systems: where will the power switches be located, how do we know if we have turned
on power to the heating or cooling system?
Electrical switches that turn off electric power that operates any type of heating system: furnace, boiler, steam boiler, heat pump, electric heat, are required for both safety and for service.
An emergency off switch for the building heating system should be found outside of the basement or other boiler or furnace room location and accessible so that an occupant can, in an emergency, turn off heat without having to enter a possibly smoky or dangerous area.
A second electrical "off" service switch should be found on or very close to the heating equipment itself. This second service switch is used by the heating service technician.
A third electrical switch or fuse turns off power to the heating equipment service at the building electrical panel. If a circuit breaker has tripped or a fuse has blown on the heating equipment's electrical circuit, you may be able to restore heat at the electrical panel.
But for safety reasons it is important to determine why the fuse blew or the circuit breaker tripped. If you replace a fuse or re-set a circuit breaker and the fuse blows or circuit breaker trips again, do not restore electrical power to that circuit - call a service technician to diagnose and repair the problem.
Continue reading at BOILER CONTROLS & SWITCHES or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
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(Apr 15, 2012) wanda said:
what would be the problem if you turn on your ac is on auto and your fan in your unit is not running?
Could be power is off, or the thermostat is set to a temp higher than the current actual room temp, or an actual equipment problems.
Search InspectAPedia for
"How to Diagnose & Repair Loss of Air Conditioner / Heat Pump Cooling Capacity or an Air Conditioner that is Not Working"
To see a diagnostic procedure
Question: locate the heat emergency off at top of the cellar stairs?
(Aug 27, 2012) Gary H Prince said:
Is the emergency electrical switch required to be located in the living space or can it be located at the top of the cellar stairs?
Gary see NHFireBear's remarks in the article above about emergency power off switches for HVAC equipment.
We like to see the emergency switch at the top of the cellar stairs if the equipment is located in the cellar so that in event of a fire no one has to enter that space (which could be unsafe) and so that the fire fighters have a clue about where the equipment is located. Additional "OFF" switches can be located elsewhere. For example another similarly-marked "Emergency OFF" switch is found right at the equipment and is used by service personnel.
Question: Wall switch for heat off disabled by landlord
(June 9, 2014) xenaon said:
i rent from a bad guy. He shut off the wall switch - which shut off the fan.
Before, if I turned on the wall switch - the AC went on.
Now, it doesn't.
Inside my apt the AC and Furnace breakers are fine. 3 hours later, the bully shut off the gas water tank downstairs - turning the switch horizontal, then setting it to off and vacation, so the pilot light is out.
I cannot relight the pilot - turn on the gas line, hold down the pilot valve - won't light.
I cannot find a way to turn on the Rheem Criterian II gas/AC unit. What else needs to be turned on? Thermostat (Honeywell) does not ignite the AC or fan or heat - but it could not possibly be the thermostat as the person who shut off the fan switch - also turned off the water heater.
Xenaon: I'm reluctant to step into the middle of a tenant-landlord dispute: that's a matter for you to take up with your landlord directly, politely, orally and in writing as appropriate or if absolutely necessary, with an attorney.
However it is essential that safety controls in a building are left working properly. So being able to turn OFF heat in an emergency is required for safety (and by model building codes and depending on where you live, local regulations.
The requirement to be able to turn ON heat or to have adequate heat during winter weather is usually spelled out in rental or lease agreements and again, depneding on where you live, by local laws. For example tenants in New York City are protected by New York City regulations managed by the NYC Housing Preservatin and Development department - from which we excerpt the following:
Heat and hot water are required to be provided for all tenants (although based on your lease you may be required to pay for gas, fuel, or electricity to run heating equipment).
Property owners are required to provide hot water 365 days per year at a constant minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Between October 1st and May 31st, a period designated as "Heat Season," property owners are also required to provide tenants with heat under the following conditions:
Between the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM, if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit; and,
Between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM, if the temperature outside falls below 40 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
To see if there are any open heat and hot water violations on your building or to check the status of your heat and hot water complaint, visit HPD ONLINE. - retrieved 3 Feb 2015, original source: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/renters/important-safety-issues-heat-hot-water.page
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Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto, have provided us with (and we recommend) Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates' Technical Reference Guide to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
Domestic and Commercial Oil Burners, Charles H. Burkhardt, McGraw Hill Book Company, New York 3rd Ed 1969.
National Fuel Gas Code (Z223.1) $16.00 and National Fuel Gas Code Handbook (Z223.2) $47.00 American Gas Association (A.G.A.), 1515 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209 also available from National Fire Protection Association, Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02269. Fundamentals of Gas Appliance Venting and Ventilation, 1985, American Gas Association Laboratories, Engineering Services Department. American Gas Association, 1515 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209. Catalog #XHO585. Reprinted 1989.
The Steam Book, 1984, Training and Education Department, Fluid Handling Division, ITT [probably out of print, possibly available from several home inspection supply companies] Fuel Oil and Oil Heat Magazine, October 1990, offers an update,
Principles of Steam Heating, $13.25 includes postage. Fuel oil & Oil Heat Magazine, 389 Passaic Ave., Fairfield, NJ 07004.
The Lost Art of Steam Heating, Dan Holohan, 516-579-3046 FAX
Principles of Steam Heating, Dan Holohan, technical editor of Fuel Oil and Oil Heat magazine, 389 Passaic Ave., Fairfield, NJ 07004 ($12.+1.25 postage/handling).
"Residential Hydronic (circulating hot water) Heating Systems", Instructional Technologies Institute, Inc., 145 "D" Grassy Plain St., Bethel, CT 06801 800/227-1663 [home inspection training material] 1987
"Warm Air Heating Systems". Instructional Technologies Institute, Inc., 145 "D" Grassy Plain St., Bethel, CT 06801 800/227-1663 [home inspection training material] 1987
Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Volume I, Heating Fundamentals,
Boilers, Boiler Conversions, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23389-4 (v. 1) Volume II, Oil, Gas, and Coal Burners, Controls, Ducts, Piping, Valves, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23390-7 (v. 2) Volume III, Radiant Heating, Water Heaters, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Heat Pumps, Air Cleaners, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23383-5 (v. 3) or ISBN 0-672-23380-0 (set) Special Sales Director, Macmillan Publishing Co., 866 Third Ave., New York, NY 10022. Macmillan Publishing Co., NY
Installation Guide for Residential Hydronic Heating Systems
Installation Guide #200, The Hydronics Institute, 35 Russo Place, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
The ABC's of Retention Head Oil Burners, National Association of Oil Heat Service Managers, TM 115, National Old Timers' Association of the Energy Industry, PO Box 168, Mineola, NY 11501. (Excellent tips on spotting problems on oil-fired heating equipment. Booklet.)
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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