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Thread: 2 pole light switch for normal and emergency

  1. #1

    2 pole light switch for normal and emergency

    I'm doing a renovation where there are 2 pole switches in restrooms. 1 pole connected to the normal circuit, and 1 to the emergency. This way if you enter the room both circuits are energized and if the power goes out the emergency switch is sure to be on. This is instead of 2 seperate switches.

    Does anyone see a code violation having the normal and emergency circuits connected to the same switch in the same box?

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky5150

    Does anyone see a code violation having the normal and emergency circuits connected to the same switch in the same box?

    Thanks!!!
    700.17 and 700.20 could be issues.

  3. #3
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    I've never seen it done that way, but I tend to favor something like a Bodine GTD or an "emergency relay" for your application.

  4. #4
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    Sparky, are you talking about a flouresant with both normal power ballasts and battery back up ballasts?

  5. #5
    This is a room with 2 normal light fixtures and 2 connected to the generator circuit. There are no emergency battery ballasts.

    I can put in 2 switches, but if someone goes in and turns on only the 1st switch they will be in the dark if the normal power fails.

    Emergency lighting is not required in the room per code. This 2 pole switch just seemed like a good idea, I will check the 700 codes listed above.

    It may be a maintenace safety issue....

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky5150
    I'm doing a renovation where there are 2 pole switches in restrooms. 1 pole connected to the normal circuit, and 1 to the emergency. This way if you enter the room both circuits are energized and if the power goes out the emergency switch is sure to be on. This is instead of 2 seperate switches.

    Does anyone see a code violation having the normal and emergency circuits connected to the same switch in the same box?

    Thanks!!!

    Three code violations.

    1) The emergency light must come on during a power failure with the room occupied or not.

    You can switch an emergency light off but it must be arraigned with automatic controls to come on during a power failure.

    2) You can not have the emergency circuit and the normal circuit in the same single gang switch box.

    3) Two pole switches are not listed for use on two independent circuits.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky5150
    I can put in 2 switches, but if someone goes in and turns on only the 1st switch they will be in the dark if the normal power fails.
    If you switch the emergency light off, you will need to include a normally closed relay that is powered from the normal circuit so that the regardless of the wall switch the emergency light comes on during utility failure.

    Emergency lighting is not required in the room per code.

    If the fixture is not legally required you CAN NOT power it from an emergency system.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Like Iwire and Marc said, the way I have typically done this is by using a bypass relay that overrides the normal power switch position.

    As you mention, this is not your emergency egress lighting but rather optional stand-by. Even if it was emergency egress then the only code issue I see is that the branch would be considered life safety and would have to be fire rated.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Designer69
    the branch would be considered life safety and would have to be fire rated.
    Are you thinking hospitals?

    In a typical office building emergency lighting branch circuits do not have to be fire rated. (At least in MA and RI)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    how much you wanna bet?

    Look at 527 CMR 12

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