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  1. #1
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    Default Is this a 120 V water heater circuit?

    Nice Pushmatic panel, 60 amp service. But what is with the water heater breaker, only one connection?
    If it is a 120 V 15 Amp water heater circuit, will it operate elements rated for 240 V? I wasn't able to energize the tank because there was no water pressure. The tank was cold and the only breaker in the off position was this one. Sorry no pic of the tank but the label called for 240 v as expected , 3 yr old 40 gallon Cascade water heater.

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  2. #2
    Richard Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a 120 V water heater circuit?

    John, according to the penciled label it's the two separate breakers, middle right that serve the water heater. Without some sort of tie, that would be wrong of course (but besides the point here). The breaker with the pre-printed label "water heater" and only one conductor is labeled as "furnace" for the upper part and "lights, etc" for the lower (no conductor) part. Did the furnace function?

    You say there was no water pressure. Assuming the home was winterized and they turned off the wrong breaker because of the mis-labeling, I would then guess that the water heater elements have burnt out by being left energized in an empty tank.

    Unless there was a remote electrical disconnect at the water heater that was turned off?

    Last edited by Richard Moore; 05-17-2009 at 01:26 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is this a 120 V water heater circuit?

    Did you check for current at the water heater?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is this a 120 V water heater circuit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Did you check for current at the water heater?
    Yes, it was cold and no sign of current flowing at the WH.

    Thanks Richard. The paper label does not match the orientation of the breaker #s. Position 9 and 10 are the double breaker, lower left. The furnace was energized.


  5. #5
    Richard Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a 120 V water heater circuit?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    The paper label does not match the orientation of the breaker #s. Position 9 and 10 are the double breaker, lower left. The furnace was energized.
    Ahhh...OK. I may have seen one of these panels in real life. By any chance did you take the connection plate off at the top of the water heater? I'm curious if there was a white wire as none of those go to the breakers.

    To answer your original question..."If it is a 120 V 15 Amp water heater circuit, will it operate elements rated for 240 V?"

    Yes, sort of, but at roughly half the wattage and half the heat produced. If it was a 15-amp breaker I would expect it to trip constantly but I suspect the 14 or 12 wire that looks to be connected to that "Water Heater" breaker is getting "warm". In any event, it would take a long, long time to heat up the water and I'm surprised anyone would have lived with it that way for 3 years.

    HOWEVER!!!!

    If you check this PDF... http://www.giantinc.com/tech-data/ma...l_electric.pdf (top of page 5) it does appear that you can get (or order) a Cascade WH with 120-volt elements and use 14 or 12 wire depending on the installed element wattage (and, of course breaker amps). Did you happen to check the data plate on the water heater? What was the amp rating on that WH breaker?

    I don't know why anyone would go that way when 240 was available, but, it's an odd world out there!

    Last edited by Richard Moore; 05-17-2009 at 12:17 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is this a 120 V water heater circuit?

    Thanks Richard. It is either a mighty slow heater or someone has swapped in elements from an old copper tank? After seeing the breaker hookup, 15 Amps, yes i went back and saw that the data plate says 240 V, thus my bewilderment. And yes this installation is 3 years old, estate sale. I had to get the report done at that point, and didn't get back to the tank, multiple issues intervening. An electrician will be doing some repairs here if my client goes ahead, so they'll get this right somehow. Judging from the wiring from the dryer outlet out to the garage, anything is indeed possible here.

    The Bulldog Pushmatic is the master and these are his slaves. The feed from the dryer in the house comes into the top of the fuse box.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Manchester, Vermont
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    Cool Re: Is this a 120 V water heater circuit?

    John is this Bulldog panel.

    If the tank call for 240 volts, you will need to test at the tank, for 240 volts. If your test should "zero between the wire, you have to trace it
    back to the panel. At best you should have 120 volts to ground.
    If the tank was drain of water, the next step I would take, is open the
    cover, the protect the connections to the tank heating element and take
    some reading. These readins will tell you if the element is good or bad.
    The tank will not operate properly without the 240 volts.
    An electrician should install the correct ampere rating, 120/240 volt 2-pole
    breaker back at the customer electrical panel.

    In my work I have found tanks mis-wire, but with their element still okay.
    Good Luck in your report. Robert


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