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Old 07-12-2010, 09:53 PM   #1
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old water heater feed


Greetings,

My first post here. Have been doing some renovations at a newly acquired summer home and ran into some strange electrical issues.
First of all, the house was built in 1968. Last week I ripped out the entire kitchen for an upgrade. With the new floor plan, I need to move the range outlet about 8 feet. This is when I learned that the circuit was wired with aluminum with a 40 A breaker. Not feeling comfortable splicing alum. to copper I opted to replace the entire line and upgrade to 50A. Not a fun job since I had to open some finished ceiling to access the cable.
Once I exposed the cable, I found not one but 2 wire nut splices 2 feet apart buried in the ceiling. Evidently someone must have damaged a section of the cable and they simply spliced in a short section using wire nuts. Since I'm not an electrician, I 'm not sure if this was good practice. BTW, the splices were NOT in junction boxes.
Also, I noticed a section of 12/3 Romex dangling above the electric water heater. The ends were capped with wire nuts and taped off. Figuring it was an old or spare water heater heater feeder line I traced it back to a junction box buried in the wall next to the service panel. Feeding the junction box and connected to the 12/3 was a heavy sheathed cable that appears to come directly out of the meter socket along with the large cable that feeds the entire panel.
Is this a common practice to bypass the panel with a hot water heater feed directly from the meter socket? Thanks
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustygaff View Post
Greetings,

My first post here. Have been doing some renovations at a newly acquired summer home and ran into some strange electrical issues.
First of all, the house was built in 1968. Last week I ripped out the entire kitchen for an upgrade. With the new floor plan, I need to move the range outlet about 8 feet. This is when I learned that the circuit was wired with aluminum with a 40 A breaker. Not feeling comfortable splicing alum. to copper I opted to replace the entire line and upgrade to 50A. Not a fun job since I had to open some finished ceiling to access the cable.
Once I exposed the cable, I found not one but 2 wire nut splices 2 feet apart buried in the ceiling. Evidently someone must have damaged a section of the cable and they simply spliced in a short section using wire nuts. Since I'm not an electrician, I 'm not sure if this was good practice. BTW, the splices were NOT in junction boxes.
Also, I noticed a section of 12/3 Romex dangling above the electric water heater. The ends were capped with wire nuts and taped off. Figuring it was an old or spare water heater heater feeder line I traced it back to a junction box buried in the wall next to the service panel. Feeding the junction box and connected to the 12/3 was a heavy sheathed cable that appears to come directly out of the meter socket along with the large cable that feeds the entire panel.
Is this a common practice to bypass the panel with a hot water heater feed directly from the meter socket? Thanks
No you can not have splices in the ceiling like that.

Can you post some photos of the water heater / meter thing?

Jamie
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:00 AM   #3
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At one time,the electrical providers wanted to get business from customers by giving them a cheaper rate to heat water electrically rather than the gas company. That's why the electric water heater was on its own meter space,to be metered at a lower rate.

Good you caught those buried boxes.

Last edited by bobelectric; 07-13-2010 at 04:06 AM.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:22 AM   #4
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Our beach house is 1.5 hours from home and I did not bring a camera with me. The utility company / direct meter feed explanation makes sense. When I was a kid, I think the power company owned our water heater and my parents paid rent on it.
I assume that at one time there was a disconnect mounted somewhere close to the heater which is now gone. I plan to disconnect the 12/3 from the junction box next to the panel, cap/tape the ends and cut out the wire leading to the water heater room. And as an added attraction, I will even install and blank cover over the junction box since the shoemaker who originally buried this box in the wall left it open. I shall assume the feed from the meter socket is live and will use due caution. Thanks for the replies.
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