Help with power to water heater


Old 04-09-16, 10:37 PM
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Help with power to water heater

My water heater is an electric Reliance 606, 40-gal upright, 4500 Watt, 2-element, model 640DORT.

It has been having issues, smelling like hot wiring and crackling. We had a plumber come look at it, but he didn't diagnose anything and charged us $50 for the pleasure of his driving up here, being a total jerk, and pressing the reset button, which did nothing in the long run.

My issue is, I unplugged the water heater inside the house, where it plugs in next to the furnace, but the thing is still getting power. I was told there was a switch outside to turn the thing off individually, but I don't know which one, what it looks like, Internet searches haven't helped, and the fuse switch to that area is marked "furnace" but doesn't shut the power down for the water heater.

I don't know how to do any of this, and we have a plumber coming Monday (4/11/16); however, I don't like that the power is on because I tried to be clever and fix the thermostat, but (again) I couldn't figure out where the power was coming from (although I turned off all the in-house fuses to be sure) and I got sparks and stopped. Thus the thermostat is half on and I'm nervous about it possibly starting a fire. I'd rather not have hot water until Monday. (Switching out the thermostat didn't LOOK hard, but I'm afraid of electricity. What I will do is probably drain the water heater tomorrow at least, just in case it's the elements... But I still need the power off...)

I figure the main power switch has to be an outside switch, but I have no idea what it looks like. Help please...
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Old 04-09-16, 11:31 PM
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Moved to the electrical forum.
My issue is, I unplugged the water heater inside the house
Water heaters are supposed to be hard wired not plugged in. That is a problem right there. Tell us about the receptacle it is plugged into. Is the receptacle on a 30 amp 240 volt breaker wired with #10.

Terminology: No such thing as a fuse switch. I suspect you mean breaker.
I figure the main power switch has to be an outside switch
No. Probably a breaker in your breaker box not a switch. Is your breaker box outside?

Last edited by ray2047; 04-10-16 at 12:51 AM.
Old 04-10-16, 05:49 AM
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Do not drain the water heater until you are sure all the power has been removed.

It will self destruct if it is energized while not full of water.

Is there a flexible cable (can possibly br round and almost an inch in diameter) coming out of the water heater (probably from the top) and going somewhere other than to a wall receptacle? The most up to date home wiring will have this cable going to a nearby box on the wall with an exposed switch or a handle or lever for a switch inside.

By the way, if the plug you pulled out of a receptacle is the same kind of plug that your TV or washing machine uses, that is not the primary (and 240 volt) power source for the water heater

It is possible for there to be an accessory unit attached to the water heater that has its own power cord..

If you drained water from the heater, do not turn power back on until you have opened a hot faucet upstairs and had it gush water for a whole minute.
Old 04-10-16, 07:23 AM
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Take a picture of your fuse/breaker boxes and post them here. It sounds like you have 2 (or more) breaker boxes. One of them (likely the outside one) has a double-switch (double pole breaker) which will be labeled with a '30' on the handles. You may have more than one, but one of them should turn off the power to the water heater.
Old 04-10-16, 07:34 AM
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You need to call a service company that does both electrical and plumbing. Sounds like you need an electrician more than a plumber.

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