(electrical) wiring to second water heater


Old 11-28-05, 10:41 AM
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wiring to second water heater

I have two whirlpool water heaters and I replaced one of them. The power ran from the first heater then to the second one. The electrical/thermostat set up on the new one is not like the old one so I cannot copy the wiring connections, which had the wires coming off the lower panel to the next water heater. I tried to pigtail off of the black and red wires but the breaker
flips off. I can't find any info on this anywhere.
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Old 12-10-05, 08:50 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Warren, Vermont
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It sounds like you are trying to operate two hot water heaters on a circuit designed for only one. An electric water heater has two elements, typically 4500 watts (about 20 amps at 220 volts). The bottom element does most of the work. When its thermostat calls for heat, it applies 240 volts to the element (only switching one of the wires). If you draw all of the hot water off of the tank (which is off of the top), then the upper thermostat shuts off the lower element and turns on the upper element. Somebody had rewired these tanks to do the same thing, but using 4 elements in sequence. This provides two tankfulls of water, using only one circuit. The tanks may be plumbed in series (preferred) or in parallel. They probably wired an upper thermostat to the lower element on the first tank to feed the upper element on the second tank. It would, of course, been better to just run another 30 amp circuit, if it were possible.
It appears that you have wired the two tanks so that an element on each tank comes on at the same time. That is 40 amps tripping a 30 amp breaker.

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