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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    troy, ny
    Posts
    2

    Question Black soot/staining on electric water heater?

    What would cause the black above the TPR on a electric water heater?

    71811FF6-DA52-4A07-B303-31528C2850BD[1].jpg D4410F17-DE67-4EA2-8DA2-39D6B69B58E5[1].jpg

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Black soot/staining on electric water heater?

    Likely burnt wires to the thermostats.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,828

    Default Re: Black soot/staining on electric water heater?

    it's 19 and Smokin!!!!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: Black soot/staining on electric water heater?

    It is way beyond the SOP to do this, but a neat trick is to use your power or multibit screwdriver to remove the covers over the thermostat connections. The screws are usually hex heads same size as the bit driver, 1/8" hex, I think they are.

    Turn off power momentarily, and don't do it if you are not mechanically inclined.

    I will do so if there is rust staining in that area. Sometimes the element will leak around the seal.

    The soot could be from burning wires, or could be from a past short that was repaired. Is the breaker sized correctly for the the unit and the supply cable?

    Last edited by John Kogel; 07-24-2013 at 10:17 AM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Black soot/staining on electric water heater?

    For me, this is a case of throwing the SOP out the window and I do not like deferring to a contractor when it is something for which I should have some knowledge and I feel comfortable making my own evaluation. Being the curious person, I want to know or least try to know what caused this. I do have a high mechanical aptitude and experience with and respectful of electricity.

    I would take the covers off including the electric connection box, to investigate. All within reason; I'm not taking WH apart. Even if it was old and needed to be replaced, I hopefully would learn something so the next time I saw it I would know what was a likely cause.

    I'll probably be lectured on this post but that's okay. This is MY approach and likely wouldn't be recommended to a lot of people.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Westminster, B. C., Canada
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Black soot/staining on electric water heater?

    Hi, ALL &

    Speaking of "electrical", where is the armoured cable /BX ?

    Forgive my CANADIAN spelling...

    Have a Great long-weekend (B. C. Residents) & keep on enjoying Summer !


    Cheers

    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Black soot/staining on electric water heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn Duxbury View Post
    Hi, ALL &

    Speaking of "electrical", where is the armoured cable /BX ?

    Forgive my CANADIAN spelling...

    Have a Great long-weekend (B. C. Residents) & keep on enjoying Summer !


    Cheers
    FMC is not always required in the US. The NM cable has to be protected from inadvertent damage but it depends on the location of the WH and access to it. Most good contractors will still place the NM cable in FNMC or FMC to where the cable runs to the wall framing (in unfinished areas) or ceiling.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: Black soot/staining on electric water heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    FMC is not always required in the US. The NM cable has to be protected from inadvertent damage but it depends on the location of the WH and access to it. Most good contractors will still place the NM cable in FNMC or FMC to where the cable runs to the wall framing (in unfinished areas) or ceiling.
    In Canada, flexable conduit is always required except if it is a manufactured (mobile) home. People will stack their junk on a water heater, like a sharp pair of ice skates, and we all wear ice skates up here.

    But we don't need to fill our houses withn AFCI's, so y'all got us beat on that one.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,643

    Default Re: Black soot/staining on electric water heater?

    The cone of black particulate above the TPR valve is soiling caused by the convective heat plume off the TPR itself. As room air gets heated by this chunk of brass protruding from the insulated shell of the appliance, it creates a draft right up against the metal cabinet. There, soils of any sort, whether actual soot, dirt, skin cells,- whatever can deposit. On gas WHs you need to consider whether or not this particulate is coming up from the combustion chamber below vs. from the ambient room air. On some units you will find heat and soot tracks down at the combustion chamber indicating spillage. Add this to the conditions at the draft hood and nipple bushings to consider flue gas spillage on gas units.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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