problem with electrical to water heater

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  #1  
Old 12-12-15, 12:56 PM
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problem with electrical to water heater

Hello,

Had an electrician do work unrelated to hot water. He did the super easy stuff and then announced he had to leave instead of fixing the main problem. Part of a circuit has lost power and there is no crawl space to check the ceiling wires so I wanted someone who'd have a better guess on what part of the ceiling might need to be broken to get to the problem.

He shut several breakers, including the double one for hot water, the adjacent double on where there is a problem and I smelled something burning and one that had a small easy bit to wire.

I turned hot water breaker back on and no noise, no hot water. Check the breaker with multimeter and it's good. Go to check that the water heater is getting power and I get no reading on the multimeter but the little power tester beeps like mad. Double checked the multimeter is working at an outlet and it is working.

Is it possible someone wired the electric hot water heater to 2 separate double breakers? Hate to turn on a breaker that had something burning to see if that's the case.

I will be trying to track the other problem and breaking through the ceiling myself but was hoping for some info on the hot water heater since that's more important than what's on the other electrical circuit.

Thanks for the help!
 
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  #2  
Old 12-12-15, 01:08 PM
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The non contact "beeper" tester tells you that there is high voltage in the area.
It doesn't tell you if you have 240vac which is required at the water heater to make it heat water. You'll need to confirm 240vac at the water heater with a meter.


Part of a circuit has lost power and there is no crawl space to check the ceiling wires so I wanted someone who'd have a better guess on what part of the ceiling might need to be broken to get to the problem.
That would require a guess on our part since we have no idea what you have there or how it's wired.

Your "electrician" turned off the circuits and left.... ok.... so what next for him ?
 
  #3  
Old 12-12-15, 01:30 PM
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Definitely not having that electrician come back. Going to check the ceiling today to see if I can find the problem I called the first guy about or not. If not will get a new electrician on Monday.

Why do I get no reading on the multimeter at the water heater but the tester beeps solid?
 
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Old 12-12-15, 01:53 PM
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Why do I get no reading on the multimeter at the water heater but the tester beeps solid?
Where are you testing at the water heater? Have you tried checking at the connections at the top of the water heater? How are you testing, hot to hot or hot to ground?
 
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Old 12-12-15, 01:58 PM
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Was going to test at the top of the heater but they taped those wires so I went to the top thermostat panel.

I tested the top two screws on the upper thermostat panel which should be the start of power flow through the heater. Checked between all the screws on the thermostat and hot to ground and got no reading but got the tester beeps. Then I tested the multimeter on an outlet to make sure it was working.
 
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Old 12-12-15, 02:01 PM
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Why do I get no reading on the multimeter at the water heater but the tester beeps solid?
Because you only have one hot leg. You need two to get the 240 volts a water heater needs.
 
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Old 12-12-15, 02:13 PM
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So they did wire the water heater to 2 different double breakers?
 
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Old 12-12-15, 02:27 PM
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I am not there, so I don't really know. One leg may have got disconnected, if it is a GE panel perhaps a skinny breaker was moved so that both wires are on the same leg, or you could have a bad breaker.

What you should do (if you are comfortable working in an energized panel) is remove the panel cover and check the breaker to see if you have 240 volts between the two legs. Then start working towards the water heater checking each splice/connection until you find where you lose it.

You never did say what the main issue was tht made your electrician bail on you.
 
  #9  
Old 12-12-15, 02:32 PM
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So they did wire the water heater to 2 different double breakers?
You cannot make that assumption.

Please post a few pictures of the water heater connections and how you are testing them. Also post the manufacturer and model number of the circuit breaker panel. Pictures of the panel with the cover off will help.
 
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Old 12-12-15, 02:56 PM
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You need to check the power at the junction box on top of the WH. There is no need for tape so you can remove it and check inside the wire nuts..
 
  #11  
Old 12-12-15, 07:13 PM
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The original problem was part of a circuit had no power although breaker never tripped. This is an old trailer on a private lot with a larger master BR and second full bath added on...so 4br and 2 bath There is no attic crawl space and I figured an electrician would have a lot more expertise in tracking the problem down and cutting less of the ceiling than I would. Guessing there was a squirrel issue at some point before we got the place given how many I trapped and relocated from the yard.

I called electrician to fix that and figured I'd let him do a <30 min rewire of the back room that had all the sheet rock off already since he was here. Jerk did the -doesn't get easier than this- room first then ran saying he'd have to come back another day for the rest. He also claimed much more time than he was here which I am disputing with the company. I'm going to see what I can troubleshoot in the ceiling tomorrow. Hopefully won't have to cut out too much ceiling to rewire whatever the problem is. If it looks scary bad I'll call a different electrician on Monday.

Haven't called loads of repair people but never had one do half a job and run. Also never had a repair person tell me we don't need to check what was done. You always check what was done. It only takes a few seconds.

Checked all the breakers and almost surprising to me they're all good in this old place. Day after he leaves I think I smell something burning in the ceiling area of the problem part I wanted fixed so not turning it on to check the water heater until I get that fixed.
 
  #12  
Old 12-13-15, 01:34 AM
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If the circuit breaker panel is not in a direct line of sight from the water heater there might be a service switch adjacent to the water heater.

Again, pictures of the water heater wiring will help as will pictures of the circuit breaker panel with the inner cover removed. Not extreme close-ups at this time but from far enough away (or wide angle) to see the surrounding area as well. Pictures need to be well lit and in focus. Dark, fuzzy pictures are of no use.

It is best to host large high definition pictures on a photo hosting site (NOT tinypic) and post the public URLs here. If you do the direct upload to the forum please add a line feed (enter key twice) between pictures so they don't bleed into each other.
 
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Old 12-14-15, 07:50 PM
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I called electrician to fix that and figured I'd let him do a <30 min rewire of the back room that had all the sheet rock off already since he was here. Jerk did the -doesn't get easier than this- room first then ran saying he'd have to come back another day for the rest
I am beginning to understand why he left.
 
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