Question about Water Heaters

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Water heater ground

The water heater was installed (1967 home) with only two wires (240v) and no ground wire. I presume that it would have been meant to ground through the original pipes, however at a later date pvc pipe was installed on cold and hot side of the heater. Would it be safe to place a grounding strap from the water heater to the metal pipe on the other side of the pvc splice, or is it necessary to run a ground wire all the way back to the breaker box? Which is safer?

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  • apvangun Feb 08, 2009

    It is 1/2" galvanized buried and running 30' to a water well, not public utility. It just has the pvc splices the last two feet nearest the water heater. Sorry, I did not give enough info. I ran 10 guage solid wire from the water heater to the cold and then over to the hot pipe. Is this not adequate? I would sure like to be safe.

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Run to breaker panel or drive a 8ft ground rod and connect to it the water line is no longer acceptable as the public utility's are using pvc for gas and water now and this is no longer a practice you could use the ground rod that is already installed on your service and use connector , but something you might do well to check is to make sure in the process of installing the plastic pipes the ground going to the panel was not also disrupted if so you will need to install 2 8ft ground rods at least 6 ft apart and daisey chain together with proper size ground wire . # 4 solid for 200 amp and # 6 solid for 100 amp service , I would make sure the panel ground is solid very important for safety ,, let me know if i can further assist

Posted on Feb 07, 2009

  • Allen Neal
    Allen Neal Feb 10, 2009

    based on the 30 ft of gal pipe and provided the # 10 wire is solid and done with an approved water pipe ground connector this should be adequate gnd for the water heater

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You have clearly lost your ground due to PVC. One solution would be to run copper ground wire from the hot water tank to the metal splice on each end of the PVC. It is not necessary to go all the way back to the breaker box.

Posted on Jan 25, 2009

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You have hot water.
That says electric circuit is good.
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Sediment is not clogging pipes and tank.

Problem could be:

1) Factory-installed insulation and cover removed from tank so thermostat exposed to cool air and misreads temperature.

2) Bad upper-or-lower thermostat. Replace both thermostats for $28 and see if problem persists
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html

3) If you have dual-element 240V tank: Either upper or lower element shorted to ground and heating with 120V through ground wire after thermostat turns off.
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Open following link for full troubleshoot:
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Then if you have more questions, add a comment and I will fill in blanks:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-wire-water-heater-thermostats.html
First diagram will be for your water heater.

http://waterheatertimer.org/B220C.html

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Whirlpool E1F50RD045V 50 gal elec. , top element is on bottom element is not getting 208 v, removed both legs from bottom stat has120v on each side not getting 208 from top , is their a relay not closing...


Sounds like you might have a thermostat problem, or burned out lower element
Lower thermostat and both elements will test for 120V at all times because upper thermostat only cuts off one leg of 240V circuit, and other leg is hot all the time.

http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-water-heater-thermostat-works.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-wire-water-heater-thermostats.html
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Yes, the elements alternate being turned ON.
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Look at label on side of tank: Each element has rating of 4500Watts, but tank rating is also 4500Watts > that shows that both elements are not ON at same time.
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http://waterheatertimer.org/How-it-works.html

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http://waterheatertimer.org/B220C.html
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Breaker could be bad.
Let's do a quick check and save you money.
Open top cover on water heater and push in red reset button that might be tripped.
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http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html
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Jan 07, 2011 | Water Heaters

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I have replaced the bottom element,and now i have no hot water. I check with a meter and have power to the top element but not the bottom one.


First of all, you have 240V water heater because tank has two elements.
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Something doesn't sound right.
You're not testing correctly.

Before doing anything, test across top two screws of upper element for 240Volts.
This will eliminate electrical problem as suspect.
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With 120V you need 1 neutral wire and 1 hot wire to complete circuit.
With 240V you need 2 hot wires, one from each hot busbar, to complete circuit.
Your water heater can appear to have electricity if breaker is delivering power on one leg of the 240V circuit.
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If 240V circuit is good, then next thing is take 30 minutes and do full test of water heater parts.
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http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

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Testing elements for voltage can be misleading.
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http://waterheatertimer.org/How-it-works.html

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1 Answer

Installed new upper & lower elements & thermostats, only top htr works


If original problem was caused by sediment burning out lower element, did you clean sediment out of water heater when changing lower element?
Two element water heaters are 240V.
Thermostats cut power on one hot wire, but 240V circuit has 2 hot wires. So lower element has power at all times coming from the red wire.
1) Use ordinary tester or multimeter set to 240V <> test each screw of lower element to bare metal part of water heater. Each screw should show 120V. If there is no power, then upper thermostat is defective, screw on upper thermostat is loose, or red wire between upper and lower parts of water heater is bad.
2) Remove wires from lower element. Use continuity tester or multimeter set to ohms <> test across both screws of element to see if power travels through element <> if element is bad, then continuity tester will not light up and multimeter will show no ohms. Put wires back on element after test.
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Put ear on side of tank. When upper element turns off: Test #3 screw to #2 screw on low left side of thermostat, should read 0V > Test #3 screw to #4 screw on low right side of thermostat, should read 240V. If this test shows 0V and 0V, then upper thermostat is bad. If reading is correct, immediately move to next test.
http://waterheatertimer.org/images/Thermostats-numbered-divided-500.jpg
4) Turn temp on lower thermostat to 150. Using ordinary tester or multimeter set to 240V <> Test across both screws of lower element. If there is no reading, and you know element is good from step 2, then lower thermostat is bad, or wire is bad between lower element and lower thermostat, or wire is bad between lower thermostat and top part of heater.
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http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-water-heater.html

If wire is bad between upper and lower parts of water heater, and water heater has tight-fitting 2" foam insulation, it usually indicates water heater replacement.

Sep 20, 2010 | Rheem 50 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

1 Answer

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