Breaker good, no power to water heater


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Old 12-18-16, 04:39 PM
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Breaker good, no power to water heater

Hi all,
Here's my problem. Water heater went out, so I checked breaker and it was OK. Bought a new element and drained water, cleaned out heater and put in the new element. Hooked up the element and then turned the breaker back on and there was no indication that the element was working. I checked breaker for power and failure with a meter and all is well there. I pulled out the wiring at the water heater and checked for power there but got nothing. What is wrong? My home is only 16years old and have never had any electrical problems. Please help.
 
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Old 12-18-16, 04:52 PM
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Are you checking for power where the line comes into the tank, not after the thermostat? Have you tested the thermostat?
 
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Old 12-18-16, 05:50 PM
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Yes, I pulled the wire nuts off the wiring coming into the water heater connected above the thermostat and checked for power there. That's what is a mystery to me. There's power at the breaker and the wiring goes straight to the water heater, but no power at the water heater end. ???
 
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Old 12-18-16, 06:17 PM
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Measure from each hot to ground at the water heater connection. Are both hots ~120 to ground?
 
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Old 12-19-16, 05:55 AM
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So checking across the 2 hot wires at the breaker lugs you get 240V+- but at the water tank end you get 0V. At the breaker place the voltmeter probes on the wire where it enters the breaker lugs, not on the lug screws and verify voltage.
 
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Old 12-19-16, 06:40 AM
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Element

Hooked up the element and then turned the breaker back on and there was no indication that the element was working.
Did you re-fill the heater with water before turning the power on to the element?
 
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Old 12-19-16, 07:03 AM
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Even if drained, there should be power at the wiring connections on top of the water heater.
 
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Old 12-19-16, 08:11 AM
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I checked the wires at the breaker lugs like you suggested and still get 240v. I'm going to try pulling the breaker and putting it back in. I'll let you know how that goes.
Also, I let the tank refill before turning the breaker back on.
 
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Old 12-19-16, 08:21 AM
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At the connection to the tank what did you get when you measured each hot to ground?
 
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Old 12-19-16, 09:47 AM
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If you are getting 240V on the wire at the breaker and nothing at the end of the wire at the water heater then there has to be a break in the wire or there is a junction box somewhere in the circuit that has a loose connection. Pulling the breaker and re-installing will make no difference.
 
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Old 12-19-16, 10:08 AM
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I didn't have any results at all when testing each hot to ground. 0v.
Since the water heater was working Saturday morning, how can a break or short occur in the wiring by that afternoon when I replaced the element? It doesn't make any sense.
 
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Old 12-19-16, 10:41 AM
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how can a break or short occur in the wiring by that afternoon when I replaced the element?
It is not short. A short would mean the two hots were touching each other or ground and that would trip the breaker. You have an open on the feed to the water heater. The quick and easy fix is to abandon the existing cable and run a new one. Or you can search for a junction box between the Breaker panel and the WH or look for a burnt wire. If the wire runs through an unfinished attic or basement look there first. You might get lucky and find it. Otherwise I'd say new cable rather then opening walls or ceilings.

One last possibility is have you driven any screws or nails into the wall. If so check where you did the work.
 
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Old 12-19-16, 10:42 AM
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There are also splices under a junction box cover at the top of the tank.

You have two hot wires arriving at the water heater. You measure 240 between them and 120v from either one to ground. If you get that at the panel but not at the water heater.... there is a break or some device in between stopping the power.

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Old 12-19-16, 11:16 AM
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I would expect votage,on at least one of the conductors. Hard to believe that both would fail at the same time.
 
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Old 12-19-16, 11:34 AM
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Usually 2 switches at breaker box did you shut both off and on?
 
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Old 12-19-16, 12:00 PM
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Usually 2 switches at breaker box did you shut both off and on?
There should only be one double pole breaker for 240V. There should not be 2 single pole breakers.
 
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Old 12-19-16, 12:05 PM
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Was the element you replaced burned out?can you see the feeder from the panel to the heater?there could possibly be a fused disconnect in that line near the water heater .
 
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Old 12-20-16, 10:21 PM
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The water heater has only one element. The one I changed out had been burned in two. The panel is at one end of our house and the WH is at the other end. The breaker is 30 amp switch in the middle with 15 amp switches on each side (they control lighting and receptacles on the front side of the house). The wiring runs under the house (a double-wide mobile home). I pulled the insulation away from the area just beneath the panel, at the area beneath where the wire takes a turn to run to the other end of the house, at the area beneath the WH, and also where the wiring takes a turn toward the WH and found no breaks. Guess I'll have to call an electrician. Thanks for all the advice everyone.
 
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Old 12-21-16, 02:58 AM
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Is there a disconnect near the water heater? Often where there is great distance between the panel and the water heater, either a fused or breakered disconnect can be installed. This would break your connection and cause no power to the water heater.
 
 

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