Electric WH - no heat?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by CallMeVilla, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. Oct 6, 2013 #1

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,651
    Likes Received:
    594
    Changed out an electric WH that stopped producing hot water ... Intsalled a new GE model ... 50 gallons, 220VAC, 30A circuit.

    All connections done -- it has water. Checked for live circuit, proper ground.
    Checked for current at the block inside the WH ... it is live.

    NO HEAT being generated.

    Ideas?? I am stumped ...
     
  2. Oct 6, 2013 #2

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    23,897
    Likes Received:
    3,118
    Both wires have 120 volts to ground? One side of a double breaker not working?
     
  3. Oct 6, 2013 #3

    oldognewtrick

    oldognewtrick

    oldognewtrick

    Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Messages:
    10,818
    Likes Received:
    1,435
    What about an adjustable thermostat set low? Just a thought. And did you try pushing the reset button?
     
  4. Oct 6, 2013 #4

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,651
    Likes Received:
    594
    Thanks guys ... I set the thermostat to 135 by adjusting the set screw. Located and pushed the reset button, although there was no light (is there a light behind the button?).

    I am going to check the lines with a clamp meter to check voltage on each leg. However, I did register current with a tickler on both sides PLUS I checked for current at the wiring block inside the WH and it was live on both sides.
     
  5. Oct 6, 2013 #5

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    23,897
    Likes Received:
    3,118
    You needed to check both wires before the switch was connected or turned on.
     
  6. Oct 6, 2013 #6

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,651
    Likes Received:
    594
    Thanks, Neal ... Before wiring the WH, I did check the separate wires for the presence of current but I did NOT curck with the clamp meter for voltage. That is where I am starting.

    However, one would expect SOME kind of heating even with only 1/2 of the power present in the unit. The hetaing elements would be under-charged but producing some heat ...

    crying-baby.jpg
     
  7. Oct 6, 2013 #7

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    23,897
    Likes Received:
    3,118
    If you have power on both, and no heat the upper element or upper thermistat may have a problem. What was wrong with the old tank?
     
  8. Oct 7, 2013 #8

    oldognewtrick

    oldognewtrick

    oldognewtrick

    Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Messages:
    10,818
    Likes Received:
    1,435
    We'll... Got hot water?
     
  9. Oct 7, 2013 #9

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,651
    Likes Received:
    594
    Sorry for the delay guys ... I do not work on Sunday.
    I will be after it at 0600 tomorrow and on the line with the service techs. Will let you know how it turns out ...

    Stand by ... News at 11:00PM or sometime Monday.

    Ainsley.jpg
     
  10. Oct 7, 2013 #10

    JoeD

    JoeD

    JoeD

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,528
    Likes Received:
    273
    You need to check the voltage wire to wire, not wire to ground. You could get voltage from each wire to ground and still not have 240 volts.
     
  11. Oct 7, 2013 #11

    Blue Jay

    Blue Jay

    Blue Jay

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    285
    Likes Received:
    25
    As Joe D says check across both wires for 240V if you have that check across the upper element for the same. No light behind the reset button. with a cold tank the upper element comes on first until it's thermostat is meets temp then the lower element will come on. Only one element will be powered at a time.
     
  12. Oct 7, 2013 #12

    kok328

    kok328

    kok328

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    2,755
    Likes Received:
    249
  13. Oct 7, 2013 #13

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,651
    Likes Received:
    594
    After discussing this with the Rheem Tech, and checking with a multi-meter, we have decided it is probably a faulty 2-pole breaker.

    Since there is so much activity at the site, I am waiting until closing to change out the breaker (and two other I suspect are old). That is when I can power down the main ... as experienced as I am with electrical, I just never like working on a hot main.

    Will let y'all know if this solves the problem ...
     
  14. Oct 7, 2013 #14

    JoeD

    JoeD

    JoeD

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,528
    Likes Received:
    273
    What type of panel? What type of breaker?
    Some panels if you don't put the breaker in the proper spot you get both poles on the same phase and end up with 120 volts to ground but not 240 between them.
    Also make sure you have full a two pole breaker installed and not twin, mini or tandem breaker which only takes up one slot in the panel.
    We still haven't heard the results of a voltage measurement between the two hots, either at the breaker or the heater.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
    nealtw likes this.
  15. Oct 8, 2013 #15

    kok328

    kok328

    kok328

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    2,755
    Likes Received:
    249
    I thought we had already established that you were getting 120V from each leg of the 2-pole breaker?
    If not, it might be that the old heater was still good.
     
    nealtw likes this.
  16. Oct 8, 2013 #16

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,651
    Likes Received:
    594
    OK, DIY Warriors ... Here is the outcome ...

    1. Checking with multimeter across the input side resulted in no voltage. However, using a tickler gave a reading of AC current present. HUH? Yes, the old induced voltage false reading!

    2. Checking with a clamp meter indicated no voltage inside the WH, at the input side ... HUH?

    3. Shut down the building to avoid working on a hot panel.

    4. Changed out the breaker, which had been invented by Edison it was so old. Upgraded to 30A from 20A ... yes, the #10 wires would support it.

    5. Powered up the building and TAH DAH! Measured 220 across the input side of the manual cut off. Engaged the entire circuit and TAH DAH! Got 220 inside the WH.

    Lessons learned: (1) the AC tickler is a good tool but induced voltage can trick you. (2) believe your better diagnostic tools (multimeter and clamp meter).

    Thanks for everybody kicking in on ideas ... Great team here!

    Hot water for every possible need ...

    SHOWER.jpg
     
    nealtw likes this.
  17. Oct 9, 2013 #17

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    23,897
    Likes Received:
    3,118
    A few years ago I tryed to help a friend figure out why the oven and two burners were not working. After some head scratching we figured out the breaker was at fault and changed it, but then it would not stay on, even with the stove unplugged. Then he said well the breaker did kick off a couple of weeks earlier while the stove was not in use. The pros he brought in decided the wire was faulty and dug into walls to change it and found that when he had installled the new shelf in the garage he managed to drive a screw thru the wire and tagged the red and black. You know when in doubt use 4" screws to hold up ten pounds.:mad:
     
  18. Oct 15, 2013 #18

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    23,897
    Likes Received:
    3,118
    The electrition was long gone when we turned the baseboard heaters on and one set didn't work. I was about an hour into troubleshooting with just a test light when I remmembered this post and sure enough, with Stabloc you can get both breakers on one leg. Thank you very much, saved the day.
     

Share This Page