Two meters on house ??

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  #1  
Old 09-23-04, 07:21 AM
thewoodman
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Two meters on house ??

My question: I have two meters on the house l know one is for the house hold circuit.The other for the "hotwater tank" (electric) this is where the problem is.I purchased this home two years ago.Last week the hotwater tank blew,so l had to replace it.Now heres where its confusing,by the main panel is the hotwater panel and l'm getting no power to it,it has a three wire hook up which l think is wrong,red,black,white wires and a ground.Red and black are hooked to the main.From the breaker are the other lines going to the tank.Red and black. And the white neutral lines are connected together and in the tank hookup the white line is capped and l mean hooked to nothing.This panel box has no neutral power bar or grounding power bar.Do these meters or the timer ever have problems like is there a fuse in the system.When my son in law was taking out the tank he disconnected the wires and got a big arc from the power(hes not to smart).After that the power box would not work.So I took over and finished it myself.I had to run another line 220 from the main panel to the tank.Its working just fine,but in order to save on energy l would like to rehook back to the second meter.
I don't know if l'm making myself clear or not,but l need some help here with a little explanation of what you think
 
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  #2  
Old 09-23-04, 08:01 AM
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It sounds confusing, but your hot water heater runs on 220 volts. That means that you have not need to use the neutral wire at all. You should, however, have the ground wire hooked to the metal tank or tank frame. In other words, you should have the red and black hooked up, the white wire should be capped off, and the uninsulated bare copper ground wire should be hooked under a green ground screw somewhere on the heater. Ideally, the ground wire should continue on to the main breaker panel ground bar.

I'm speculating on the reason you may have a second electrical meter just for your hot water heater. Most houses would NOT have that. An electric hot water heater is a big consumer of electricity. It uses somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500 to 5000 watts depending on it's size and how many elements have kicked in. Some older houses have small electrical services installed. If your house has, for instance, only a 60 amp main entrance, it may have been deemed necessary to install a second drop just to power the water heater. In our area the power company will only put in a 200 amp service to a residence. That's more than enough to power your house and an electric hot water heater. It's possible that the government had some kind of rebate program based on you knowing just how much your hot water heater bill was. Stranger things have happed. I'd say if that's the case, you are probably loosing money. The power company usually has a flat rate bill for the usage of EACH electric meter you are using. In our area that fee is about 15 bucks a month. You can save money by only using a single meter.

I'm only guessing at what your situation may, or may not be.
 
  #3  
Old 09-23-04, 08:02 AM
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There are several things to consider here.

The first item to consider is whether a separate meter is still required for the water heater, and if you want to use it. If it's required then you have no choice but to use it, and the power comoany will eventually realize that you have bypassed it and could make your life miserable.

If you don't have to use it you may or may not want to. It sounds like you want to use it, but I'm not sure for the right reason. It probably won't save you much, if any money. Separate meters for water heaters were installed to limit electricity use during what used to be considered peak periods, the time from 4) pm to 7:00 pm or thereabouts. However, many factors have combined and many utilities have stopped requiring separate meters and no longer install them or require them.

So first decide if you need a separate meter and/or if you want to continue using one.

It sounds like you blew something when removing the old water heater. Your son-in-law is lucky to be alive. You may need the power company or an electrician to replace whatever you blew. You were not specific about what does not have power, so I can't comment much more. However, getting the power company out may enable you to eliminate the separate meter, if allowed to do so.

As for the white neutral, it is not needed by the water heater. A water heater needs straight 240. No neutral.

The water heater will accept two or three hot wires, depending on whetehr it is set for timed operation or not. There will usually be a means of installing (or removing) a jumper wire hen wiring for non-timed (or timed) operation.

For operations with no timer your water heater needs two hot wires from a normal 240 volt breaker. Hooking up the two wires is fairly easy, and it makes no difference which hot wire is which.

For Timed operation your water heater needs three hot wires. These three hot wires are as follows: Two hot wires from a normal 240 volt breaker, and the third (which is timed) is from the timed meter. How you hook these hot wires up is more difficult. The three hot wires must be hooked up properly or you will get no hot water at all.
 
  #4  
Old 09-23-04, 08:57 AM
sjr
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I have a separate "off-peak" meter for my water heater, which absolutely saves me $$$ as the cost for electricity is less than half their normal rate.

There is a timer in the meter which disconnects power between 1:30 and 6:30pm in the summer and 4:30 and 6:30pm in the winter.

The connection to the water heater is the same, regardless of whether I feed it from the main panel or the off-peak one. Either there is power going to the water heater disconnect or there isn't. Couldn't be simpler, and as I said, saves me probably $25-35/month.

I can hook up other appliances to the off-peak meter with the understanding that I just need to notify the PoCo first. The meter that is there now will handle up to 60A. Their only restriction is that devices connected to the off-peak mater must be 240V.

If you don't have power coming from the meter, check the time. Also, sometimes the timer gets screwed up and needs to be reset by the PoCo.
 
  #5  
Old 09-23-04, 09:34 AM
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sjr,

What you are describing is quite different than what I am describing. After rereading the original post, it does sound like he has what you are talking about, and not what I described.

I described a situation where they limit use during the "cooking hours", not where they charge you less or more during certain times. As I said, these are less common and in many cases have been eliminated.
 
  #6  
Old 09-23-04, 09:38 AM
thewoodman
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Originally Posted by jughead
It sounds confusing, but your hot water heater runs on 220 volts. That means that you have not need to use the neutral wire at all. You should, however, have the ground wire hooked to the metal tank or tank frame. In other words, you should have the red and black hooked up, the white wire should be capped off, and the uninsulated bare copper ground wire should be hooked under a green ground screw somewhere on the heater. Ideally, the ground wire should continue on to the main breaker panel ground bar.

I'm speculating on the reason you may have a second electrical meter just for your hot water heater. Most houses would NOT have that. An electric hot water heater is a big consumer of electricity. It uses somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500 to 5000 watts depending on it's size and how many elements have kicked in. Some older houses have small electrical services installed. If your house has, for instance, only a 60 amp main entrance, it may have been deemed necessary to install a second drop just to power the water heater. In our area the power company will only put in a 200 amp service to a residence. That's more than enough to power your house and an electric hot water heater. It's possible that the government had some kind of rebate program based on you knowing just how much your hot water heater bill was. Stranger things have happed. I'd say if that's the case, you are probably loosing money. The power company usually has a flat rate bill for the usage of EACH electric meter you are using. In our area that fee is about 15 bucks a month. You can save money by only using a single meter.

I'm only guessing at what your situation may, or may not be.
Thanks Jughead I realize its 220 v.I've done a fair amount of wiring but l'm new to Mich. and there is a difference between the wiring codes in Canada and the USA.In Canada we hook up direct no special meter.This is a older house use to be a beach house converted a long time ago, lots of add ons.
The electrical service is 200 amp.which is more than needed.The problem is coming from this 2 nd. meter theres just no power coming to the box.It worked find before my son-in-law got the 'arc' why he never shut the power off l don't know.I've got it working l ran a new 220 line from the main breaker box to the water heater.I'll have to check with the electrical company and see if l need the 2 nd. meter.Thanks for your quit responce l appreciate it.Ron.
 
  #7  
Old 09-23-04, 09:54 AM
thewoodman
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Originally Posted by racraft
There are several things to consider here.

The first item to consider is whether a separate meter is still required for the water heater, and if you want to use it. If it's required then you have no choice but to use it, and the power comoany will eventually realize that you have bypassed it and could make your life miserable.

If you don't have to use it you may or may not want to. It sounds like you want to use it, but I'm not sure for the right reason. It probably won't save you much, if any money. Separate meters for water heaters were installed to limit electricity use during what used to be considered peak periods, the time from 4) pm to 7:00 pm or thereabouts. However, many factors have combined and many utilities have stopped requiring separate meters and no longer install them or require them.

So first decide if you need a separate meter and/or if you want to continue using one.

It sounds like you blew something when removing the old water heater. Your son-in-law is lucky to be alive. You may need the power company or an electrician to replace whatever you blew. You were not specific about what does not have power, so I can't comment much more. However, getting the power company out may enable you to eliminate the separate meter, if allowed to do so.

As for the white neutral, it is not needed by the water heater. A water heater needs straight 240. No neutral.

The water heater will accept two or three hot wires, depending on whetehr it is set for timed operation or not. There will usually be a means of installing (or removing) a jumper wire hen wiring for non-timed (or timed) operation.

For operations with no timer your water heater needs two hot wires from a normal 240 volt breaker. Hooking up the two wires is fairly easy, and it makes no difference which hot wire is which.

For Timed operation your water heater needs three hot wires. These three hot wires are as follows: Two hot wires from a normal 240 volt breaker, and the third (which is timed) is from the timed meter. How you hook these hot wires up is more difficult. The three hot wires must be hooked up properly or you will get no hot water at all.

I thought the 2 nd.meter was required.If not then l will not use it.I figured l was saving money by using the 2 nd. meter. The outside meter is a meter and a brown round contianer on top which l considered was the 'timer' I under stand the three wire for that operation.So l wonder if it was bypass origanally because the white neutral wire was capped in the box on the water heater. If l'm right the wires go from the main panel box to the timer,then to the splitter box (which is where there is no power) then go to the water tank.The box with no power is old has no neutral power block or grounding block.Just has the main connections for the breakers.
If l have to use the 2 nd. meter then l'll have to call the electrican in. to solve the problem.Thanks for your quick responce 'racraft' l sure do appreciate this.Ron.
 
  #8  
Old 09-23-04, 10:00 AM
thewoodman
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Originally Posted by sjr
I have a separate "off-peak" meter for my water heater, which absolutely saves me $$$ as the cost for electricity is less than half their normal rate.

There is a timer in the meter which disconnects power between 1:30 and 6:30pm in the summer and 4:30 and 6:30pm in the winter.

The connection to the water heater is the same, regardless of whether I feed it from the main panel or the off-peak one. Either there is power going to the water heater disconnect or there isn't. Couldn't be simpler, and as I said, saves me probably $25-35/month.

I can hook up other appliances to the off-peak meter with the understanding that I just need to notify the PoCo first. The meter that is there now will handle up to 60A. Their only restriction is that devices connected to the off-peak mater must be 240V.

If you don't have power coming from the meter, check the time. Also, sometimes the timer gets screwed up and needs to be reset by the PoCo.

sjr this must be the same as you have. I have a second home in Mich. and it has a 2nd. meter also.But l don't pay the bills so l don't know if theres a savings.It nust work like you say,because half the time theres not enough hot water in the evening.As the timer getting screwed up l think this could be it. l'll cal the electrical ccompany.Thanks for your speedy responce.I appreciate it .Ron.
 
  #9  
Old 09-23-04, 10:07 AM
thewoodman
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Originally Posted by racraft
sjr,

What you are describing is quite different than what I am describing. After rereading the original post, it does sound like he has what you are talking about, and not what I described.

I described a situation where they limit use during the "cooking hours", not where they charge you less or more during certain times. As I said, these are less common and in many cases have been eliminated.
raccraft. it probaly is the timer thats been screwed up but why is the white neutral wire 'capped' in the water heater hook up box. Can l ask you one more thing the box is old has no ground wire hook up bar and no neutral wire hook up bar,everything is twisted together with a cap screw.The meter and timer are sealed so this means only the power co. can access or can and electrican access also.
 
  #10  
Old 09-23-04, 11:09 AM
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I'm glad you got it working. Getting a reduced rate by allowing the power company to disconnect you at certain times was fairly common years ago. They still do that sort of thing for large industrial users that have their own generating capacity, but I haven't heard that they do it on a residential level these days. Your area may be completely different from mine. It would be worth auditing your electric bill to see if you pay extra for a second service. You might save yourself some $$ if there's no longer any savings from a special program. There is plenty of capacity with a 200 amp service to run your HW heater along with the rest of the house. Your separate line (that's dead) has to have a fuse somewhere. Perhaps there's a box with a timer like another poster implied. Follow the power line back from the water heater to see. If you don't find anything, you might have to call the power company to find out what went wrong with their feed.
 
  #11  
Old 09-23-04, 11:26 AM
thewoodman
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Originally Posted by jughead
I'm glad you got it working. Getting a reduced rate by allowing the power company to disconnect you at certain times was fairly common years ago. They still do that sort of thing for large industrial users that have their own generating capacity, but I haven't heard that they do it on a residential level these days. Your area may be completely different from mine. It would be worth auditing your electric bill to see if you pay extra for a second service. You might save yourself some $$ if there's no longer any savings from a special program. There is plenty of capacity with a 200 amp service to run your HW heater along with the rest of the house. Your separate line (that's dead) has to have a fuse somewhere. Perhaps there's a box with a timer like another poster implied. Follow the power line back from the water heater to see. If you don't find anything, you might have to call the power company to find out what went wrong with their feed.
Jughead: where did you get that name l like it. Anyway probably next to impossible to trace the line without taking the walls apart.Just to many ad ons you have to see to believe.Sometimes l wonder how the electricial system even works.A state trooper owned this place and from the looks of it did the repairs.You have to see the electrial boxes.Theres the main one 200 amp. service,then theres a big panel box with about 20 breakers in it,then next to that is splitter with a 30/220 for the dryer but in the panel box is a 30/220 breaker for the dryer??why two. two extra 12/2 lines capped off.two breakers that control nothing,then theres the 40/220 splitter box for the waterheater which has no power.What a mess.Will probably take out two walls to see where everthing goes or doesn't go.Actually my grandson lives in the house.Anyway nice talking to you.Ron.
 
  #12  
Old 09-24-04, 07:32 AM
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It is possible to trace wires without tearing out walls by using specialized equipment. I've worked on ships where they have over 300 panel boxes each with 36 breakers or more. There are thousands of electrical runs and it would be impossible to tear out stuff when you have to track down a line. We use a line tracer and do some detective work to locate and confirm just were a wire goes from time to time. In your case you only need to locate the other end of the dead feeder line coming into the box where the water heater breaker is located. You could start at the second meter and visually trace your wires backwards and see if you can find a fuse box in the line somewhere. Of course, electrical code says that each electrical junction shall be exposed, but if a lot of work was done by people who ignore the code, then there could be a fuse box covered up behind a wall somewhere. Sometimes electrical work just boils down to crawling and/or climbing around with a good flashlight and/or with a mirror on a stick to locate and track down were your wires go. Now you know just why a good electrician can really earn his money. Good luck.
 
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