electic water heater still has power

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Old 10-16-07, 05:41 AM
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Question electic water heater still has power

I had my water heater replaced and the store said the contractor could not turn off the electricity to one side. I had told them when they arrived to shut all the breakers off because of mis-lableing. They did that but the line was still "hot". I need to find out if this is a break problem or a wiring problem. Can a breaker go partially bad? I plan to have an electrician come out to fix the problem but would like to understand the problem.
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Donna
 
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Old 10-16-07, 06:03 AM
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Why are your breakers mis-labeled? You should have corrected this problem when you moved in.

Do you live in an older house (30 years or more)? It is possible that you have an old setup, where they fed water heaters from a separate meter (or at least a separate feed) where they could prevent a portion of the water heater from running during the evening hours, to make more power available for ovens for cooking dinner. These setup usually have a separate panel or at least a separate box for the water heater.

Of course any knowledgeable water heater installation company in your area would be familiar with setups like this and would have been able to shut off the power.
 
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Old 10-16-07, 06:37 AM
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water heater still has power

We have been relabling them. We just found out that there are two additional boxes outside.
The house is 41 years old.
It bothers me that there is a constant source of power comming into the water heater and I want to have it fixed if needed.
There is only one meter on my house. How would I know if it has a separate feed? Do they do this under the house? I don't have alot of confidence in the contractor that did the work and am concerned that the work was done correctly.
We have not been here for very long and am working on serveral projects inside and outside the home. If this is a hazard I would like to take care of it immediatly.
 
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Old 10-16-07, 06:58 AM
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You have mentioned nothing that sounds like a hazard, except perhaps your choice of contractors for the work. Why do you think something sounds hazardous?

Whatever other feed supplies the water heater has a shutoff. You haven't found it yet or do not know about it. You should have learned all this when you moved in. The company that performed your home inspection should have mentioned it to you or you should have brought in an electrician to explain it all.

Your job as a homeowner is to make sure that you understand how your house operates, at least to a minimum level. Your breakers should have been labeled long ago. That takes a an afternoon at most. As soon as you determined that you didn't understand what you had, you should have called an electrician.

As I stated in my earlier post, years ago houses in some parts of th US were setup so that a portion of the electric water heater water was on a timed circuit. They did this to save energy. They wanted enough power available for all the cooking that was being done on electric ranges and in electric ovens for dinner.

This timed feed was controlled by either a separate meter with a timer or a second feed from the same meter that went through a timer box. Look at what you have. Is there a timer in one of those boxes? Where do the wires that feed the water heater run?

Over the years the need for this timed control went away. More and more people worked, less and less people cooked at night and more power became available in the grid. In all but a few areas of the country the requirement for this installation has been eliminated. But unless the homeowner removed the second feed (by doing it him or herself or paying to have it done) it has remained in place.

It sounds very much like you have this kind of feed. There is nothing unsafe about it. Check with your power company to see if you can legally remove it, then do so if you want.

One word of caution. It would not surprise me if you hired a reputable electrician and he or she was not familiar with this installation. My parents did just that. One of the most respected electrical contractors in the area replaced their service panel. Problem, the electrician was young (but experienced). Problem was he had never seen a water heater fed in this way, because he had never worked on a house with one, as most people had already removed the feed. He goofed. My parents ended up with half a water heater. The company had to come back and fix the problem. The person who came out (on Thanksgiving day no less) knew exactly what he was doing and fixed the problem right away, apologizing for the other employee's mistake, explaining everything to us. So, make sure that you hire someone familiar with this type of installation.
 
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Old 10-16-07, 07:23 AM
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water heater with power still

The contractor told me "the waterheater is a bomb waiting to go off" he said the power (after talking with the store) and the water pressure were a problem. I don't know alot about electricity but I know water and electricity don't mix well. I plan to have a plumber/plumbing contractor come and install a pressure regulator with in the next week or two. But the electrical was a big worry for me.
Thank you so much for your help. I will insure that before the week is out that I have someone come and inspect all the electrical in my house. I will also make sure that I know where all the shut off are. I will call the electric company to find out what they have to say.
Again thank you so much for your help.
 
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Old 10-16-07, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by sdbmshad View Post
the waterheater is a bomb waiting to go off
This is very, very unlikely. All water heaters have a T&P valve (temperature and pressure) that will relieve pressure inside the tank by releasing water if it becomes too much pressure for the tank to handle.
 
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