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TKO_PUNCH

Electric Help!

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Hello to all,

I need some emergency help with electricity to my hot water heater. I moved my water heater fuse box this weekend and now I do not have hot water. I checked the voltage coming into the water heater fuse box and that is fine but there is no voltage going to the water heater.

I removed the fuses and I had continuity on one fuse but the other one did not. I replaced the bad fuse with the new one. When I turned power back on, I tripped the breaker at the main fuse box and both fuses were still good. I then reset the main breaker and then I blew the fuse at the water heater breaker box.

On the fuse box to the water heater are line and load terminals. Which one is which? Black goes to what and white goes to what? I know both wires carry load but am wondering if the two got hooked up backwards.

I currently have the black wires hooked up to the load and the white wires hooked up to the line terminals.

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Line is the power coming from the main panel and load is the power going out to the device.

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I was just talking with our Maintence guy and he said you cannot get the wires backwards as the both carry power. As long as I have both black wires to the load and both white wires to the line I should be fine.

He did say I have a bad heater element.

Anyone agree with this as I'm going to take a half day off work to change this.

Here is what he told me to do:

1) shut off the main water and open all the faucets.

2) Drain the water from the water tank

3) Remove the heating element

4) clean out all the sludge

5) replace the heating element

6) turn water back on

7) run water to get out all the air

8) after the water is flowing freely turn the power back on

Is this correct as I only have a few hours before I try this.

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I would beg to differ with the bad element diagnosis. A heating element will typically open when it goes bad, which means it no longer will have continuity. I also believe the elements are encased in non-conductive material and so they are not likely to short-circuit.

You say black and white wires. First if you have a black and white wire coming from the supply, and the white wire has not been properly marked as a hot wire per NEC regulations then you already have a system that was not properly wired.

The load side of the fuse box you refer to should be supplied by 220vac coming from a double-pole circuit breaker. Wires from the fuse box should carry the 220vac power to the top thermostat in the water heater. If these are crossed they may be the cause of your short-circuit. Without knowing what has been disconnected or what was improperly marked in your supply circuit, it is nearly impossible to explain precisely what needs to be done without putting you in harm's way.

Bob

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Obviously you have some wires crossed. Call a licensed Electrician before you burn your house down. If you're not sure what's wrong you probably shouldn't be messing with this.

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Well, I got home and the 1st thing I did with the power disconnected was remove the wires from the thermostate and elements. I had continuity to all. I then call an electical contractor and he said to disconnect the wires on top of the water heater that connect from the fuse box to the thermostat. Then to seperate all wires so there is no contact between them and install new fuses. If I hold power up to that point then there is an issue with the element or thermostat.

I them applied power to the fuse box without the fuses installed and it held power just fine. I turned off power, installed the new fuses and then applied power. BLOWN FUSE!

The contractor will be out this afternoon as I'm now beyond my comfort level. I'll post what happens after.

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I currently have the black wires hooked up to the load and the white wires hooked up to the line terminals.

This was my problem: 2 blacks to the load and 2 whites to the line doesn't work.

1 black to the load, 1 white to the load, 1 black to the line and 1 white to the line. Works just fine now.

Thanks to all for the advice.

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As I suspected, the wires are not properly marked. That white wire from the supply (load side) should be marked so it doesn't get confused with a grounded conductor. This is a very important code requirement. You can use black or red electrical tape to color the insulation or magic marker will work too. Just don't have the power on while you are fixing this. Remember to do both ends.

The wires from the fuse box to the heater should also be done the same way.

Bob

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As long as I have both black wires to the load and both white wires to the line I should be fine.

I caught that right. Bad things could have happened with that one. Like Bob T said, if your still using a white colored wire it's not legal. It must be permanenty reidentified. ONLY a grounded conductor can be white or gray in color.

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I now have the white "hot" wire marked with black tape. The electrical contractor who came out was kind of shocked that it passed inspection. His quote to me was "why do they make codes if they're not going to enforce them"

It is correct now!

Thanks again for all the help

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