Water heater issue

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Old 03-02-14, 07:26 PM
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Water heater issue

I have an old 1950 house and I need to figure this out from my main meter there is a power feed directly into the basement to an breaker box with two breakers 30 amp one labeled upper element one labeled lower element. When tested they each have 120 but testing together do not get 240 is this ok for a new 240 water heater? Is this for a 120 water heater? Is that how old ones were setup? Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 03-02-14, 07:38 PM
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is this ok for a new 240 water heater?
No. Describe in detail the wiring to the box. Is the feed a cable with black, white, ground?
from my main meter there is a power feed directly into the basement
Are you saying the feed is connected to the meter socket not a fuse or breaker in your main panel?
 
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Old 03-02-14, 07:55 PM
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There are 2 black wires and a bare ground coming into the box. The wires come directly out of the meter box outside which is locked shut, not connected to the 100 amp main box at all. Thanks for the reply
 
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Old 03-02-14, 09:01 PM
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There are 2 black wires and a bare ground coming into the box. The wires come directly out of the meter box outside which is locked shut, not connected to the 100 amp main box at all.
Do you mean an electric company locking ring? Do you have two meters?
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-02-14 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 03-02-14, 09:11 PM
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Yes I'm sorry forgot some detail it has a second meter and I believe this is a power company install because the breaker box in the basement has the name of the power company on it. I wouldn't figure they would run a individual line down there for this alone but that's how it is. I guess ill have to contact them about this... Just thought I could hook into the other side of the breakers to the water heater being its specific for a water heater but I guess not
 
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Old 03-02-14, 09:28 PM
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Critical details omitted that made the situation very scarey. Still not too comfortable with it. Is the wiring in conduit?
When tested they each have 120 but testing together do not get 240
If you measured across the two black leads from the meter then yes, this is strictly an electric company issue. How did you measure to get the 120v reading? Does the label on the water heater say it is 240v?
 
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Old 03-02-14, 10:01 PM
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No the wire is not in conduit just a heavy sheathing, it runs out of meter directly to box in basement were it hooks one black wire to each breaker and ground to a block attached to the box. I got 120 from one lead on black wire and one on ground , both blacks show 120 like this but between the two black I get nothing 0 reading. It is a new 240 water heater just bought it. Just bought the house there was a lp water heater they took out before, and nothing was hooked up to these breakers.
 
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Old 03-02-14, 10:10 PM
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Just FYI haven't hooked anything up yet just seeing if I could use that, if not i will just run a new circuit from the main breaker and forget about that thing.
 
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Old 03-02-14, 10:27 PM
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No the wire is not in conduit just a heavy sheathing
Okay not wires SE cable and probably less then 10 feet so code compliant. What is the voltage on the name plate of the old water heater not the new one. Can you post a picture of the subpanel with the cover over the breakers removed. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...-pictures.html
 
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Old 03-02-14, 10:35 PM
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There wasn't an old water heater there so I'm out of luck with that. Ill have to get a picture tomorrow just trying to get it livable right now so I'm not staying there. I was wondering if there might have been a 120v water heater there before, never heard of one before but IDK. Thanks for your help
 
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Old 03-03-14, 03:40 AM
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New water heater use 240 to each T-stat.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 06:57 AM
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There wasn't an old water heater there so I'm out of luck with that.
Then the meter probably isn't even in use. Any more critical info you aren't giving us? Call the power company and ask them about this. Probably the meter is abandoned and they no longer use separate meters for water heaters but you need to find out before proceeding. If the meter is abandoned the power company needs to pull the meter for you and disconnect the feed. That is not DIY. You then need to run a new feed from your 100 amp panel.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 08:38 AM
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Better off upgrading your service to be safe, at least on your line to water heater.
A 30 amp 220 breaker should suffice. May have to update your load center too.

Old electronics should not be trusted, if any. Back then, it was on two lines in phase @ total 240v between elements. There is an "A" side and "B" side in a load center. Separate 110v sources in phase. If they don't run in phase, you could burn down the house.

New stuff will show 240v because it's integrated with a circuit board. The two elements are still 120v each, you just don't see the difference anymore due to technological advances.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 09:19 AM
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Old electronics should not be trusted
No electronics involved. The OP's setup was quite common in the '50s when power companies gave a lower rate for electric water heating and electric space heating. They mostly all did away with the lower rate and just gave a monthly credit on the bill for electric water heating and space heating. I doubt today if they give those credits anymore. Yes, there were some older water heaters that operated at 120 volts. The ones I remember had two elements, each wrapped around the outside of the tank under the insulation, they didn't have today's typical immersion type elements. They also lasted for many years. I have removed some, many years ago, that had to be at least 30 years old.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 10:39 AM
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Yea, old electronics if at all. Meant old wiring not safe.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 11:55 AM
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Thanks guys I appreciate all the help I am going to just run a new circuit from my main breaker panel (which has already been upgraded). That water heater stuff was the only older wiring left, and that needs to be taken out as well. Have to call the power company and get that meter pulled. Great site you have here lots of good info!!
 
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Old 03-03-14, 05:18 PM
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I am going to just run a new circuit from my main breaker panel (which has already been upgraded). That water heater stuff was the only older wiring left, and that needs to be taken out as well.
Good decision ............................
 
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