Hot Water Heater Unhooked...Lights and Receptacles Go Out


Old 11-03-12, 07:56 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2
Hot Water Heater Unhooked...Lights and Receptacles Go Out

Hi folks,

We recently purchased an old house to fix up. A few weeks ago while we were working, the lights and receptacles for half the house went out. I went to the breaker box and began resetting breakers. Once I flipped the old hot water heater - 220V - (which by the way was burned up but still hooked up -at the time- with the breaker off), the lights and plugs came back on. I quickly turned off the hot water heater breaker and the lights and receptacles stayed on. Thinking the hot water heater was shorting out and throwing things, I unhooked it and capped the wires until the new hot water heater could be installed. Now that the wires are off and capped, the lights and receptacles won't come on. When I flip the hot water heater breaker (capped wires still) usually about 30 minutes goes by and the lights/plugs come back on.

Obviously there is a short in the lines somewhere, but I can't see where the hot water heater and the lights/plugs are anywhere near each other in the box or wiring.

Clueless. Help!
Sponsored Links
Old 11-03-12, 08:05 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,361
It sounds like you may have lost one of the two hot legs in the panel and the voltage was backfeeding through the WH. This could be a problem with the main or ahead of the main.

Do you have a way to test for voltage?
Old 11-03-12, 08:09 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2
Ah! I hadn't thought of that. Yes I do have a volt meter.
Old 11-04-12, 06:12 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,213
I think I'd start by checking voltage between the two hot legs at the incoming lugs on the main breaker and then between each lug and the neutral bar while watching for loose connections. If all tests out, then check between the two busbars and between each busbar and the neutral bar. If you are not getting 240 volts between the two incoming lugs at the main breaker the problem could be outside in the meter socket or even at the utility connections at the weather head, but you'll probably have to call the power company to do that testing.
Old 11-04-12, 09:07 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Obviously there is a short in the lines somewhere
Welcome to the forums!

The problem in your electrical system may be somehow related to the circuit for the water heater, but one thing is certain: You don't have is a short circuit. No smoke, no fire = no short circuit.

You may have an open circuit. I would Check between line and neutral, and between line and ground to isolate the location of the open connection.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes