Mild shock fromwater heater

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  #1  
Old 11-27-04, 03:38 AM
rwrobs777
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Mild shock fromwater heater

Just bought a vacation house in Costa Rica and noticed if I lighly touch the water heater (Trav-o-Matic brand-I don't even know if they are sold in US) I feel a slight tingle. None of the wires visible are touching the case and when I took a sip out of the faucet in the bathroom my lip also got a mild shock when my lip contacted the metal faucet. The funny thing is that the lines going to the bathroom faucet are PVC so I'm wondering if the water itself is "hot".Can the problem possibly be a faulty heating element "electrifying the water". Damnest thing I have ever seen.

Thanks,
Bob
 
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  #2  
Old 11-27-04, 03:44 AM
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Is the water heater grounded properly?

I'll move this to electrical forum so they can help out if needed.
 
  #3  
Old 11-27-04, 07:12 AM
rwrobs777
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More info on my water heater

Thanks for posting my message. Actually 99.9 percent of small residential homes in Costa Rica from what I was told there are NOT grounded. Hard to believe and MINE'S one of them. I think building codes there are almost non-existent.Looked in the circuit breaker box and did not see any heavy gauge copper wire coming into the box as whats in my house here in the U.S. JUst want to know if this could be why I'm getting a mild shock.If it could be it looks like I'll be driving that 8 foot copper rod in the ground !!!
 
  #4  
Old 11-27-04, 09:36 AM
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Could very well be why.

If the water is energized, you need to fix this fast, water with current flowing in it can cause seals and gaskets to go out in the plumbing system.
 

Last edited by Plumber2000; 11-27-04 at 04:11 PM.
  #5  
Old 11-27-04, 11:03 AM
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Grounded in his case does not mean to a ground rod, it means grounded to the electric panel. You can run a wire from the case of the heater back to the panel. I am not sure what type of electric system they use there, maybe someone else knows? Is it 120/240 like in the U.S.?
 
  #6  
Old 11-27-04, 04:10 PM
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Does the tingle go away if you turn off the heater power? Could be a defective heater element leaking current to the water.
 
  #7  
Old 11-28-04, 03:12 AM
rwrobs777
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The mild shock does go away when I turn off power at the breaker box !!!. Also the heater is connected to a 40 AMP double pole breaker. You would not believe this but there are 2 sets of splices between the box and the heater both connected together with electrical tape of different gauges. NOT EVEN WIRE NUTS !!!If I wanted to use BX cable between the box and the heater what gauge wire would be recommended??I have a book and for 40 AMP it is 8 gauge wire. The 3 wires coming out of the heater ARE NOT 8 gauge. Probably 12 is a goog guess.If someone would like to see a pic of this setup email me at [email protected]. I will try an contact the manufacturer.

Thanks for all the help everyone !!!!!!!!!!!!
 
  #8  
Old 11-28-04, 04:26 AM
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40amp is quite high for a water heater. normally they are only 30 and sometimes 20amp. Wahat is the wattage of the heaters?
 
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