How to wire an electric water heater
The time has arrived when you start planning your awesome backyard barbeques with family and friends as the change of warmer weather lures you to enjoy the fresh outdoor air of Southern Maryland. You invited company that lives quite a few hours away and prepared rooms for them to stay a night or so. A few came with a new born this year and you realized you’re getting older as your cousin’s son greets you with his changed voice and gives you a hug at the same eye level. You planned this weekend weeks ago that you even went out of county to Costco or Sam´s Club to refill on stock so you don´t need to go out often during the weekend. At dusk, you start a barn fire to keep the chatter until the wee hours. The next day you get up to shower but as you turn the knob you get a rude awakening of COLD WATER!
What the heck! Did we just run out of hot water? As you get out of the shower and head to the water heater tank you hear screams throughout the hallway. You thought it could just be the over flow of the demand of hot water but in time you realized something else it wrong. You look it up on YouTube and you find many tutorials on hot water tanks. Do you attempt a DIY?
Re-Wire it Yourself?
You realize that it´s not the tank but there´s something wrong with the electrical current. Can you just troubleshoot the electric water heater? Unless you are an electrician go for it; however there are huge safety concerns to be aware of before touching any wire that conducts heat, surrounded by water and has a 240 voltage that can cause your awesome weekend into an unforgettable death in the family. The most reasonable and lifesaving decision you can make is to call The Southern Maryland Electrician Pros who can come in and make sure you get your hot water back.
More than Meets the Eye
A water heater tank has different electrical components that only a professional serviceman should look into it. The basics would obviously be your breaker and your reset buttons on the tank. If it’s tripped, those are definitely more reasons for you to leave it to the professionals.
Regular water heaters are on a 30 amp two pole breaker and the two poles means it is stated 240 volts with usually a number 10 wire since frequently the panel is not so far from the water heater. Most electric water heaters with two elements are factory wired so that one element would heat at a time. The thermostat above would control when the lower element would heat. Now there are options of wiring a hot water heater so simultaneously both elements can run at the same time. This would reduce the time to wait and give out more hot water. However you would need more amps and heavier wire. If this sounds a bit of too much jargon, than it is another sign to call for help.
Your Electrician would have to look at a few different areas to get an accurate diagnosis. He would have to check if the breaker in the panel is functioning than check if there is power to the water heater using voltage testers. Next he would check if the Reset button was functioning and if they keep tripping then something else is wrong. It could be the thermostats or the elements. The water heater elements are the ones that actually heat up the water and most likely the ones that cause problems. When the upper element goes bad you have no hot water and when the lower element fails you will have minimal hot water. So the elements are a huge part of re-wiring or wiring an electric water heater. Your electrician can test if the elements are bad. Additionally, the thermostats are part of wiring an electric water heater. They tell the elements when to fire up the water and have an upper and lower thermostat. Most of the time it is set-up to work separately as only one element is allowed to heat at a time. The thermostat above is the controller, permitting the upper element to heat and then the lower element. When the upper thermostat doesn’t work you will get no hot water at all but if the lower thermostat starts acting up you have very little hot water.
As you can see, trying to do it on your own can be super complicated when there are many factors with the electrical connections throughout a hot water tank. It is best to let an electrician come in as they know all the areas to watch for and they have the tools to test every item related to wires. They have the eye of the tiger and you do not.
The Newer, the Better
On average, a household for a couple would approximately need a 30-40 gallon water heater as homes with five or more persons would need about 50-80 gallons. However one thing to keep in mind is when the tank puts out more hot water than the household demand. You can be wasting money hourly and energy. If you are considering of changing the whole system, Tankless water heaters can avoid unnecessary cost, take up minimal space and give you hot water very quickly. Even if one is considering of installing on their own a new water heater tank it would be wise to keep the wiring installation to someone who has years of experience. If the wiring is done incorrectly you will be paying for it every day from your family members and be paying the big bucks to get it fixed frequently.
There is such a refreshing clean feeling when you come out of a hot shower. Whether it be before you sleep or when you start your day, having a hot shower is a need not a want. So please leave the wiring to the Southern Maryland Electrician Pros. They are called Pros for a reason.