Hot water circulator is broken?

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  #1  
Old 01-01-12, 04:29 AM
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Hot water circulator is broken?

Hi,

I have a 2 zone baseboard hot water heating using a Peerless Gas Boiler (Johnson Controls). Honeywell controls are the thermostats. I just noticed that even though the system calls for heat in either zone, the boiler turns on and heats the water but all the radiators are cold. Does this mean that the circulator is bad? I have a Taco circulator 007-F3. All I hear from the circulator is a constant clicking sound when it runs. Is it difficult to replace the circulator? Do I have to drain the all the water out of the system first?

Here is a pic:
http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/c...r/HPIM0792.jpg
 

Last edited by vinny121; 01-01-12 at 04:51 AM. Reason: Added circulator model
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Old 01-01-12, 06:24 AM
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I just had the same problem happen on xmas eve day. I didn't have clicks though.... I had a humming sound but still no heat.

Simplest solution is to just run to home depot and grab another. If itdoesn't fix the problem you can always return it.
 
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Old 01-01-12, 07:12 AM
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Verify that you have 120VAC going to the pump. Assuming you do, just get a new pump from the home store. If you want some parts for the shelf (is it written someplace it'll break again in the middle of a blizzard?) then stockpile another pump or this:

007-042RP - Taco 007-042RP - Taco Pump Replacement Cartridge TAC007-042RP (for 007CI)

Make sure you leave the store with new gaskets. Only because there's some rust on what you have, and if you want to, they also carry a bolt set made to go with the pump but that's your call.

It appears you'll have to drain the water out. Sometime, consider adding isolation valves if the system is worked on - that'll make replacement a lot easier.

They're not hard to replace. Turn off the power and verify that it's off. Something like turn off any valve(s) on the line(s) you can, because there's no valve between the boiler and the pump looks like you'll have to drain the boiler to a level below the pump, remove four bolts, disconnect the electric wires, remove and replace pump, reconnect electrics with new wire nuts (likely yellow), refill, bleed and enjoy. Of course, more detailed instructions will come with the pump.

Your shopping list:
pump
gaskets
gasket goop
wire nuts
bolt set
PB Blaster or WD40 maybe for the rusty bolt
I assume you have wrenches and screwdrivers and a wire stripper.

Enjoy the holiday!
 
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Old 01-01-12, 10:03 AM
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Pick up some plastic sheeting and some duct tape while you are there... you do NOT want to get any water (and even after you drain, there WILL be water... count on it) on any of those controls or the gas valve.

What is up with that rubber SJ cord and the taped up connections? That's just wrong... please do the right thing and correct that. That rubber cord has NO BUSINESS being inside that boiler!

Be sure it's the pump and not the controls before you jump in feet first.
 
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Old 01-01-12, 11:54 AM
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That rubber cord has NO BUSINESS being inside that boiler!
Both cords - the one that is spliced and the one going to the pump. They have to be in conduit, e.g., greenfield.
 
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Old 01-01-12, 01:50 PM
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TO be clear, the proper wire has to be in FMC/greenfield. Don't put the SJ cord you have inside the FMC.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 09:45 AM
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To be clear, the proper wire has to be in FMC/greenfield.
Yes, for example, THHN solid building wire, of the minimum gauge required to match the branch ckt protection, AWG 12 for 20A, AWG 14 for 15A. You'll need to push three conductors through the conduit: one white, one green, and one black or red. An anti-short bushing is needed on each end of FMC (they are usually red plastic).

The electrical fitting on the pump is for Type NM cable (Romex) - and isn't acceptable for FMC, so that and any others like it will have to be replaced.

If this doesn't make sense to you, call a qualified electrician to get all this straightened out - but not the guy who put in that SJ cord. I'm just now noticing a third SJ cord ducking behind the pump. There may be additional problems not shown in your single photo. These are safety issues.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 10:41 AM
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These are safety issues.
Absolutely! Could possibly even be "the problem". Let's say that connector is squashing that rubber insulation, and combined with the heated environment which that cordage is NOT rated for, it has pushed the conductor wire through the insulation...

FIX IT!
 
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Old 01-02-12, 02:33 PM
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New circulator is installed

Hi all,

I appreciate all the replies. I picked up a new Taco circulator 007-F5, new washers (red rubber, 1 pc to slip around the bolts and the pipe) and new nuts and bolts from Home Depot because they are were the only plumbing store open, available, and local. I shut off the main water to the system and then I shut off the electrical.

Below the pump level, from the boiler is a valve that I opened that exited to a hose out of the house. This was used to drain the water from the system. It drained pretty slow, so I had open a valve above the pump to get air in the system. While the water was draining, I loosened up the 4 nuts and bolts holding the pump to the pipe.

Since there is barely room to get a wrench in there, I did worry about getting water all over the electrical during disassembly. After we removed the pump, there was slime in there, not stopping the water flow but a possible cause of failure. The pump was possibly 30 years old. We did have to put a new washer in the water valve coming off the burner. Now the new pump is on operation with no leaks but when the heat & circulator turns off, I do hear a banging noise.

Which wire are you specifically concerned about? The one on the left coming out of the aquastat or the one coming out of the control? I am not responsible for any of the electrical cords in there. Can you post a picture of what I need for that?
 
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Old 01-02-12, 02:54 PM
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Why does conduit have to be used? Isn't Armored cable ok? That's what I have on my system and it passed inspection. I also see that a lot on other people's systems here.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 04:17 PM
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Armored cable IS conduit. 'Flexible Metal Conduit', or 'FMC' for short. 'Greenfield' is the 'Band-Aid' name for FMC.

I believe that both MC (the 'factory made' armored cable) and THHN (the wire that is appropriate for use inside FMC) are both rated at 90C, so either would be appropriate.

THHN solid building wire
Solid available only in 10, 12, 14 ga AFAIK, also available stranded (more commonly seen? Certainly easier to pull through conduit!), larger sizes only available stranded.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 04:27 PM
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Which wire are you specifically concerned about?
All of those black rubber coated wires.

They should be this:


image courtesy grainger.com

See those red plastic things? Those are commonly called 'red heads', and are 'anti-short bushings' and must be used.

The correct connectors must also be used, there are several different types, some look like this:


image courtesy foxelectricsupply.com

Do NOT EVER use this type on armored cable!


image courtesy acetogo.com
 
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Old 01-02-12, 04:27 PM
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Yikes. I would hate to have to fish wire through that. Does it come with a bonding strip, or so you have to pull a ground as well? Why not just use MC?
 
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Old 01-02-12, 04:28 PM
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when the heat & circulator turns off, I do hear a banging noise.
Did you purge the air out of the system and fill the boiler (and the system) FULL OF WATER before you fired it up?
 
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Old 01-02-12, 04:33 PM
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Yikes. I would hate to have to fish wire through that. Does it come with a bonding strip, or so you have to pull a ground as well? Why not just use MC?
It comes nekkid... nothing inside. It's normally used for just short lengths, like hooking up equipment and stuff so it's not difficult to fish. Yes, you can use MC, as you did.

Bonding strip? you mean that silly little bare piece of wire inside the antique stuff? Nowadays it's all FULL SIZE GROUND, and it's GREEN. The bonding is performed by the connectors.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 04:45 PM
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Bonding strip? you mean that silly little bare piece of wire inside the antique stuff? Nowadays it's all FULL SIZE GROUND, and it's GREEN. The bonding is performed by the connectors.
Haha. Yeah. Although I consider the bonding strip not to be antique because my wiring predates that.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 04:49 PM
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Type AC cable with the little bare piece of wire is approved for use as an equipment grounding conductor (see 320.108 of the NEC)

The problem is that a lot of circulators (ie Grundfos) have a plastic enclosure that doesn't provide an effective ground path (which is why they have a terminal for the EGC).

If you have metal to connect to (ie aquastats), AC is fine.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 04:51 PM
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Yeah, AC = Antique Cable ! ha ha ha...
 
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Old 01-02-12, 04:56 PM
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sometimes there's a little confusion between MC, AC and FMC.

Most people know MC.

AC is armored cable, and is acceptable for use as an equipment ground.

FMC is flexible metallic conduit, commonly called greefield. FMC is approved for use as an EGC provided the combined length doesn't exceed 6'. Still doesn't make a difference if the circulator is plastic; in that case you would have to run MC or pull an EGC through the FMC.

Edit: EGC = equipment grounding conductor.. the green or bare wire.
 

Last edited by ItsTim; 01-02-12 at 04:56 PM. Reason: as noted
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Old 01-02-12, 05:05 PM
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Yikes. I would hate to have to fish wire through that.
You shouldn't have to fish - you should be able to push three solid conductors right through a few feet of 3/8" greenfield (FMC) before it's installed - which is all we are talking about here, I hope. If you want to fish, fine - do it before installing the greenfield. Use THHN building wire - available in various colors, by the foot, at any decent hardware store.

Don't be misled by the red anti-short bushings shown in Trooper's photos - they are installed after the conductors are in place, so they won't be in the way of pushing the conductors through. Those anti-short bushings go for a few cents each, but are important.

A reason for using greenfield (instead of regular electrical metal tubing, EMT) is that it is flexible - easier to install and allows swinging the pump out of the way for replacement, etc.

It is verbotten and unsafe to drape unprotected 120-V cable, such as NM (Romex), SJ, or just plain building wire, through mid-air as shown in the original post here. SJ, since that is what started this discussion, is for plug-and-cord portable tools, like an electric drill. Its temperature rating and physical protection is not adequate for the use here.

I think what sometime happens is that a plumber or a DIYer decides he can wire things up so they work - black to black, white to white. Probably so, but is it safe? Likewise, I don't think it's wise to rely on a local building inspector to catch all the things things that were not installed by someone with reasonable knowledge and experience.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 05:30 PM
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I just lernt sumpin new... NEC does NOT require anti-short bushings on type MC cable! (as long as an approved connector is used) They ARE required on AC though... see bullet number 16 in this PDF:

http://www.nacmaonline.com/Documents/nacmaFaq.pdf

I'm still gonna use them anyway... because our local inspectors seem to require them.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 05:34 PM
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Haha. Yeah. Although I consider the bonding strip not to be antique because my wiring predates that.
If your existing BX cable has a bonding strip, good on ya. But, new construction (or new boiler installations) bring up a different ball of wax, code-wise, based on modern safety concerns. Newer codes aren't retroactive (unless a government body declares them so).

The National Electric Code has requirements for the old, somewhat-dangerous knob-and-tube wiring - but it is no longer allowed for new installations. If you go to modify an existing installation, it's rip-out and replace time, if you want to comply with the NEC.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 06:19 PM
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I learned all about bonding strips and Bx over in the electrical forum. Unfortunately, my wiring is true BX and lacks the bonding strip. I plan on replacing quite a bit of it when I finally get started on my reno project. Not sure how I will deal with the remaining.
 
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Old 01-03-12, 08:53 AM
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Purge air form heating system

Hi,

Thanks for the replies. My heating system was not purged of all air before turning the heat on. Is this required? I do hear a bang when the system shuts off. I don't hear any water rushing in the pipes plus I have an air purge can above my expansion tank that is a few turns open. Wouldn't the excess air eventually leave the system anyway?

I read that in order to purge the air properly, I should get a 6' hose and submerge this hose a bucket of water so I could see any bubbles. I should shut the system off, make sure water is flowing to the system, then for each Honeywell valve, manually open each Honeywell valve, attach the hose to each shut off valve and slowly drain the water until the bubbles stop leaving the system. Does this sound accurate?
 
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Old 01-03-12, 03:54 PM
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I read that in order to purge the air properly, I should get a 6' hose and submerge this hose a bucket of water so I could see any bubbles. I should shut the system off, make sure water is flowing to the system, then for each Honeywell valve, manually open each Honeywell valve, attach the hose to each shut off valve and slowly drain the water until the bubbles stop leaving the system. Does this sound accurate?
Perhaps, but you must have the correct valving in order to do so. You might want to post some pictures of the whole setup so we can better advise.

When you had the system drained would have been an excellent time to check your expansion tank as well...

The banging you hear might be 'water hammer', and sometimes the expansion tank can play a part in this problem...

So take the pics and we'll tell ya what to do next. Stand back with the camera a bit so we can see the whole thing.
 
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Old 01-04-12, 04:36 AM
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System pic

Here is a picture of my boiler system. Please let me know what to do next.

Here is another pic:
 
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Old 01-04-12, 11:41 AM
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what are those honeywell switch things for? I dont have those on my system..
 
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Old 01-04-12, 02:02 PM
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J3ffrey,

The Honeywell switches (with the wires coming out of them) are the zone valves. One thermostat is connected to one Honeywell switch. They have a little motor in them that control water flow. Your heating system probably has another way of controlling the flow of water to each zone.
 
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Old 01-04-12, 04:02 PM
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Your heating system probably has another way of controlling the flow of water to each zone.
If he even has zones... not all systems are zoned. Many, mine included, are just one thermostat, one zone...
 
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Old 01-04-12, 04:09 PM
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Vinny, the way your system is set up, you need to leave the zone valves CLOSED in order to purge the zones of air... IF that's even the problem with the banging.

First, let's talk about the expansion tank though, here's a step-by-step that you can use to check and adjust the air charge on your expansion tank:

================================================================

1. Shut off boiler and allow to cool to under 100F.

2. Shut off water supply line to boiler.

3. Drain only enough water from the boiler drain to drop the system pressure to ZERO. REPEAT: DO NOT COMPLETELY DRAIN THE BOILER! ONLY ENOUGH TO DROP THE PRESSURE TO ZERO!

4. With an ACCURATE tire pressure gauge, check the air charge in the tank on the air valve opposite the end of the tank that's connected to the system. If ANY water comes out of the air valve, the bladder inside the tank is shot and the tank needs replaced. If no water comes out the air valve, and the pressure is less than 12-15 PSI, continue to step 5. If the pressure is OK, turn the water supply to the boiler back on and repressurize the system, turn the power back on to the boiler, no service is necessary.

5. Using a bicycle pump, or a small air compressor, add air to the tank until you have 15 PSI air charge.

6. Check the boiler pressure gauge again, and if it has risen off ZERO, drain some more water from the boiler drain until it is again at ZERO.

7. Check the air charge on the tank again. If it is below 15 PSI, add air to the tank until it is at 15 PSI.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until the boiler stays at ZERO and the tank stays at 15 PSI. At this point, the tank is properly recharged and the water supply can be turned on to re-pressurize the system, turn the power on to boiler and return to service.

================================================================
 
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Old 01-04-12, 04:17 PM
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The cap on the top of the brass can above the expansion tank must be left loose to allow any air caught to escape. If it's tight, loosen it. If it leaks, replace it.

================================================================

Before you do this, if you have added air to the tank because it was low, try the system and see if you still get the banging... if the banging has gone, and it's heating the home, don't do it.

================================================================

Remember, you do NOT need to open your zone valves the way your system is piped.

1. Shut off boiler and allow to cool to under 100F.

2. Connect a garden hose to one of the drains above the zone valve. Direct the hose to a laundry tub, a floor drain, out a window.

On the 'Pressure Reducing Valve' there is a lever handle on the top. This will be used to bypass the regulator and allow a fast flow of water through the system.

3. Open the drain valve with the hose on it and LIFT THE LEVER on the pressure reducing valve. Hold the lever up until you get only water from the hose, then release the lever and close the drain.

4. Repeat for the other zone.

================================================================
 
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Old 01-04-12, 06:54 PM
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The circulator was installed backwards

I think I may have the issue. I was reading this post: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...er-system.html and it said that the problem was fixed when the the pump was installed in reverse. I think I did the same thing. When I installed it, I put the pump in by the way the electrical connector was oriented not the direction of flow. I guess I'll be taking apart this system as soon as it gets warmer this weekend!
 
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Old 01-04-12, 07:42 PM
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Yeah, that will do it... and I should have learned my lesson too... that should be one of the first questions that gets asked after a pump is replaced.

But this time, when you have the pressure down, check the air charge in the tank and pump it up if it is below 15 PSI! Believe me when I say that those tanks NEVER get the service they REQUIRE!

Even if you don't intend to do it, at least lie to us and tell us that you've replaced those UNSAFE WIRES.

One last thing, you can rotate the motor assembly to put the electrical box where you need it to go...
 
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Old 01-05-12, 04:47 PM
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Circulator is reinstalled

Hi,

I was able to reinstall the pump in the right direction and also I was able to put the circulator electrical box on the opposite side. I checked the expansion tank pressure and it was 15 psi. I also was able to bleed the system of air but I guess I wasn't watching the system pressure and now it is at 25 psi. I'll take care that the SJ cable is replaced with FMC metal conduit soon. What should I do to lower the excess system pressure? By the way, the banging noise (water hammer) is gone.
 
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Old 01-05-12, 04:59 PM
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I checked the expansion tank pressure and it was 15 psi.
You checked the tank air pressure when there was ZERO pressure on the water side, CORRECT? i.e. when you had the system drained to fix the pump...

If you have pressure on the water side of the tank, you will NOT get an accurate read of the pressure on the air side.

What should I do to lower the excess system pressure?
If the boiler is HOT, don't lower it to 12 PSI... just drop it to say 20 or so, that will not be a problem at all... if the system is COOL (under 100F) drop it to 12-15... you can do this by simply opening one of the drain valves and letting some water out of the system.

If after doing this you find that the pressure is creeping back up, you've still got some problems... let us know.
 
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Old 01-05-12, 05:17 PM
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I'd also like to thank you for getting back to us. While we don't expect anything when we offer advice, letting us know how it works out is the nicest "thank you" we could ask for.
 
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Old 01-05-12, 08:05 PM
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Dont feel bad, I installed mine backwards too, paying attention to which side the electrical was on...

took me 2 hours of trying to figure out why it was turning but not working.

I finally picked up the old one and started looking around it.........saw an ARROW and said "oh ****, here we go" and sure enough, backwards.
 
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