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New Water Heater Breaker Box



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 30th 05, 05:26 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Default New Water Heater Breaker Box

I currently have fuse box with two 30 amp fuses in it. It keeps
blowing a fuse [always the right side] and lately, has been blowing
them almost weekly. My father-in-law thinks it may be sediment
build-up and the bottom element needs to be changed out.

I'm going to try this first. However, I'd like to also upgrade and put
a standard breaker box in instead. I have a separate meter/service
dedicated to the hot water heater. It's a 50 gallon heater. An
electrician said they typically put in a 30 amp breaker for this size
water heater.

Does this sound right to you all? Any other advice would be
appreciated. I'll have public utility turn off the service before I do
the work. I'm also getting estimates on having an electrician do the
work. If it's reasonable [so far, between $100 and $150], I'll
probably have them do it. Not because I'm not able, but because I'm
not as familiar with codes on this sort of work.

TIA,

Ryan

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  #2  
Old December 30th 05, 05:31 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Default New Water Heater Breaker Box


"herlihyboy" wrote in message
It's a 50 gallon heater. An
electrician said they typically put in a 30 amp breaker for this size
water heater.


What is the rating on the water heater? That is what determines the size
fuse needed.


I'll have public utility turn off the service before I do
the work. I'm also getting estimates on having an electrician do the
work. If it's reasonable [so far, between $100 and $150], I'll
probably have them do it. Not because I'm not able, but because I'm
not as familiar with codes on this sort of work.


If the utility turns the power off, they may want to see the inspection
report before it is put back on again. You'll need a permit and inspection.

As for the electrician, it will be $100 to pull up in front of the house.


  #3  
Old December 30th 05, 06:33 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Default New Water Heater Breaker Box


"herlihyboy" wrote in message
oups.com...
I currently have fuse box with two 30 amp fuses in it. It keeps
blowing a fuse [always the right side] and lately, has been blowing
them almost weekly. My father-in-law thinks it may be sediment
build-up and the bottom element needs to be changed out.

Did it ever not blow them? Blowing a fuse is a sign something is wrong.
Water heaters don't have surges (like motors) so they should never blow a
fuse.

I'm going to try this first. However, I'd like to also upgrade and put
a standard breaker box in instead. I have a separate meter/service
dedicated to the hot water heater. It's a 50 gallon heater. An
electrician said they typically put in a 30 amp breaker for this size
water heater.


First check the heater nameplate to see how many amps it draws. If it only
give watts, divide by 240v. If it is below 30a, a new service will probably
be a waste of money. If it is above 30a you have discovered why it is
blowing fuses. If you can get your hands on an ampmeter, see how many amps
it really draws; if it is more than the rating, there is a problem with it.

Second, check your wiring. It had better be #10 to go with the 30a fuses.

Third, if 1&2 are okay, replace the element as your fil suggested, or the
whole heater.

Does this sound right to you all? Any other advice would be
appreciated. I'll have public utility turn off the service before I do
the work. I'm also getting estimates on having an electrician do the
work. If it's reasonable [so far, between $100 and $150], I'll
probably have them do it. Not because I'm not able, but because I'm
not as familiar with codes on this sort of work.


I am not sure I would do it for $150, and I am a lot cheaper than an
electrician.

TIA,

Ryan



  #4  
Old December 30th 05, 07:34 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Default New Water Heater Breaker Box


Toller wrote:
Did it ever not blow them? Blowing a fuse is a sign something is wrong.
Water heaters don't have surges (like motors) so they should never blow a
fuse.


Yes. It had been fine for the 4 years we have lived there. Then, it
blew one fuse [my shutoff currently has two, 30 amp fuses in it].
Then, a few months later, it blew another one. Then, a few weeks
later, another one. It's always the same side, and it has become more
frequent.

First check the heater nameplate to see how many amps it draws. If it only
give watts, divide by 240v. If it is below 30a, a new service will probably
be a waste of money. If it is above 30a you have discovered why it is
blowing fuses.


I currently have two, 30 amp fuses. If I upgrade the shutoff and put a
breaker box in instead, I will check the plate to see what amp breaker
I need. Thanks. Do I need to be concerned about how much power is
coming from the meter outside with regard to the amperage or is it
determined by the water heater itself? Currently, I have two meters.
One is for the panel for the house, the other is dedicated to the water
heater and comes in directly to the shutoff that I am replacing.

Second, check your wiring. It had better be #10 to go with the 30a fuses.


Will do. Thanks for the info.

  #5  
Old December 30th 05, 08:03 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Default New Water Heater Breaker Box


"herlihyboy" wrote in message
oups.com...

Toller wrote:
Did it ever not blow them? Blowing a fuse is a sign something is wrong.
Water heaters don't have surges (like motors) so they should never blow a
fuse.


Yes. It had been fine for the 4 years we have lived there. Then, it
blew one fuse [my shutoff currently has two, 30 amp fuses in it].
Then, a few months later, it blew another one. Then, a few weeks
later, another one. It's always the same side, and it has become more
frequent.

First check the heater nameplate to see how many amps it draws. If it
only
give watts, divide by 240v. If it is below 30a, a new service will
probably
be a waste of money. If it is above 30a you have discovered why it is
blowing fuses.


I currently have two, 30 amp fuses. If I upgrade the shutoff and put a
breaker box in instead, I will check the plate to see what amp breaker
I need. Thanks. Do I need to be concerned about how much power is
coming from the meter outside with regard to the amperage or is it
determined by the water heater itself? Currently, I have two meters.
One is for the panel for the house, the other is dedicated to the water
heater and comes in directly to the shutoff that I am replacing.


The meter has to be for more than 30a; the smallest feed I have ever heard
of is 60a (but your utility could tell you for sure). The power used is
entirely determined by the heater, as long as the feed is adequate.
I don't know how your utility works, but here it would be pretty expensive
to have two meters. If you upgrade you might want to look into combining
them. It will be expensive but maybe a good long term investment.

Second, check your wiring. It had better be #10 to go with the 30a
fuses.


Will do. Thanks for the info.



  #6  
Old December 30th 05, 09:03 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Default New Water Heater Breaker Box


Toller wrote:
The meter has to be for more than 30a; the smallest feed I have ever heard
of is 60a (but your utility could tell you for sure). The power used is
entirely determined by the heater, as long as the feed is adequate.
I don't know how your utility works, but here it would be pretty expensive
to have two meters. If you upgrade you might want to look into combining
them. It will be expensive but maybe a good long term investment.


The water heater line on my bill usually runs between $10 and $20/month
[we're in SW Indiana], so it's pretty cheap. I'm going to start by
changing the bottom element and cleaning out the tank. I think it may
just have a short. If that doesn't work, I'll move on.

Thanks again, Toller.

Ryan

  #7  
Old December 31st 05, 04:33 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Default New Water Heater Breaker Box

According to herlihyboy :

Toller wrote:
The meter has to be for more than 30a; the smallest feed I have ever heard
of is 60a (but your utility could tell you for sure). The power used is
entirely determined by the heater, as long as the feed is adequate.
I don't know how your utility works, but here it would be pretty expensive
to have two meters. If you upgrade you might want to look into combining
them. It will be expensive but maybe a good long term investment.


The water heater line on my bill usually runs between $10 and $20/month
[we're in SW Indiana], so it's pretty cheap. I'm going to start by
changing the bottom element and cleaning out the tank. I think it may
just have a short. If that doesn't work, I'll move on.


By any chance is the fuse block getting hot?
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
  #8  
Old December 31st 05, 05:23 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: n/a
Default New Water Heater Breaker Box

[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
On 30 Dec 2005 08:26:20 -0800, "herlihyboy"
wrote:

I currently have fuse box with two 30 amp fuses in it. It keeps
blowing a fuse [always the right side] and lately, has been blowing
them almost weekly. My father-in-law thinks it may be sediment
build-up and the bottom element needs to be changed out.

I'm going to try this first. However, I'd like to also upgrade and put
a standard breaker box in instead. I have a separate meter/service
dedicated to the hot water heater. It's a 50 gallon heater. An
electrician said they typically put in a 30 amp breaker for this size
water heater.

Does this sound right to you all? Any other advice would be
appreciated. I'll have public utility turn off the service before I do
the work. I'm also getting estimates on having an electrician do the
work. If it's reasonable [so far, between $100 and $150], I'll
probably have them do it. Not because I'm not able, but because I'm
not as familiar with codes on this sort of work.


The problem is in the water heater.

If 30A fuses blow, a 30A breaker won't help! It will just trip.

It sounds like a bad heater element with a short to ground in the
element. That would load one leg more than another unless the short was
dead center.

In this case, blowing fuses is a safety issue! That shorted element is
feeding current back the safety ground and/or water pipes.

Repeated blowing of fuses or tripping breakers is a sign something is
wrong! In this case, it also suggests a safety issue should the safety
ground also fail.

Remove the fuses, drain the tank (will solve sediment) and change both
elements why you are at it. The labor is such the cost of elements is
minimal.

Fill the tank before replacing the fuses.

A defective thermostat can cause fuses/breakers to blow/trip if it fails
to disconnect the lower element when powering the upper one. This is used
for fast recovery of a little water at the top, then slow heating of the
whole tank via the lower element. Higher power elements are used in this
case such that the circuit can't power both at the same time.

If it happens to be the thermostat, that can be tested, switch the left
and right fuses and see if the same side blows. If the fuses are of
different manufacture/vintage the one "that never blows" may just have
slower blow characteristics.

One final possibility is someone replaced a heating element with one of
too high capacity. Check the elements vs the nameplate.

You need to fix the water heater, not the power entrance.

gerry



--

Personal home page - http://gogood.com

gerry misspelled in my email address to confuse robots
  #10  
Old December 31st 05, 09:26 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: n/a
Default New Water Heater Breaker Box


Toller wrote:
The meter has to be for more than 30a; the smallest feed I have ever
heard
of is 60a (but your utility could tell you for sure).


FWIW, some house built in the 1940's had 30A.


 




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