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Old 08-04-2016, 06:51 PM   #46
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Yes, it appears you have a defective breaker. Yes, that is a sub panel and no there is not a master breaker. In you main panel there should be a breaker label something like "Sub panel". If you can find that and turn off it would be best.

You can turn off both the water heater breaker and the breaker to the dryer. Then remove the wires from the dryer and connect the water heater wires to the dryer breaker to confirm that the water heater breaker is bad. If the water heater breaker is bad you should have power to the water heater when connected to the dryer breaker.

You can remove the water heater breaker by turning it off and then continue pushing in that same direction. You will have to push hard. You can then purchase a replacement breaker. Take old one to store to get the same brand and type.

To install the new breaker, hook the outer edge under the extending prongs then push the other end of the breaker directly in. Just hook the outer edge under the prongs, rotate the breaker inward, put your finger between the switch and the inside edge and push.

Last edited by hkstroud; 08-04-2016 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 08-04-2016, 07:27 PM   #47
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Okay, thanks for your help guys. Yes, I know, I really don't have even a basic understanding about electrical stuff. I was trying to go through life never having to mess with it, but I guess it was finally time, haha.

Okay, I didn't see your guys' posts till after I did more tests on the breaker and was pretty sure it was bad. Removed the breaker, saw it was burned up on the side that I couldn't get a reading from. I ran to the store, swapped out the old breaker with the new one. Put the old thermostat back in to the water heater (I had put a new thermostat in when I thought that was the problem but figured that wasn't the issue anymore after seeing the breaker, and the store said I could return that thermostat, so I removed it and put the old thermostat back in)... and now the water heater works again!

Everything is all put together now, but my main question is why do you think my breaker got fried?

I do hear a slight whistling coming from my water heater. This happened before my water heater stopped working also. So I don't know if there is some issue that is related to that whistling and the breaker going bad.

Here are some pics so you guys can see some of the damage from the burned up breaker.

UPDATE: The water heater stopped whistling
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Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips needed-img_5104.jpg   Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips needed-img_5105.jpg  

Last edited by amodoko; 08-04-2016 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:05 PM   #48
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


It's caused from a bad connection. The water in the top of the water heater may have started the problem (possibly). When a breaker burns like that sometimes the buss bar burns as well. I can't really tell from the picture but I can see the plastic melted. I am not an electrician but have been doing service work for a long time. Didn't mean to be short earlier. Just didn't want anyone to get hurt. Glad you got it fixed. And thanks for the follow up
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:44 PM   #49
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


I would not use that stab position. Move the new breaker to another location.
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:49 PM   #50
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Remove and inspect the breaker opposite the water heater breaker. Any sign of over heating replace it.

Turn off the breaker to the sub panel in the main panel. Sand the stab positions. In present condition you will have a poor connection and likely to have heat build up causing a repeat what you just went through.

If you can't get the surfaces clean, smooth, and near original condition, you should consider replacing panel.

The only way that I can think of for a water heater to whistle would be if it over heated and released water out the T&P valve. The only reason for that to occur would be a faulty thermostat. I would put the new upper thermostat back in and I would also replace the lower thermostat. They are not all that expensive and not worth the risk.

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Old 08-06-2016, 06:57 AM   #51
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Totally understand BayouRunner, I wouldn't feel comfortable, if I had the knowledge, advising someone about electrical repairs over the internet if that person doing the repairs had no experience around electrical stuff. It is quite risky. So I understand. One of the main reasons I wanted to do it, rather than hire someone, is because my desire to learn how to fix it was stronger than my desire to hire someone to do it. I'm just too curious for my own good sometimes.

Moving the breaker and water heater connections to another position within the panel is also something for me to think about.

And hkstroud, I will inspect the breaker opposite as well to see if there are any signs of overheating. I definitely agree I should be sanding (once I of course shut off power to the panel) that position to try to clean it and improve the connection. That would suck if the panel eventually had to be replaced.

The water heater only whistles while it is heating, and then it shuts off because the thermostat (I believe) tells it to stop heating. I will possibly put in a new thermostat(s) as well if the noise persists, as you had suggested. But it seems to only whistle during the heating phase, and then it shuts off once the temperature gets to a certain level.

At this point, I'm just glad I have hot water again and at least know where the problem is arising from. I might take a little break from this stuff for now, and then eventually get back to cleaning that position in the panel once I am sure I am able to successfully shut off power to that panel.

Thank you guys for helping me out. I am really enjoying my hot showers
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:50 AM   #52
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Hard to believe this thread went on for 50 posts with something as simple as no power to the WH.
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Old 08-07-2016, 10:18 AM   #53
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
Hard to believe this thread went on for 50 posts with something as simple as no power to the WH.
Agreed! For my two cents on the original topic.
I have replaced dozens of bad water heater elements but I have never replaced a thermostat. Just saying......your odds are much higher of finding a bad element. In our area the deposits from untreated water just kill the elements.

And while you are replacing the element plan to spend considerable effort removing the deposits from the tank.
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Old 08-07-2016, 10:44 AM   #54
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


For all you people who know so much, where were you when we needed you?


Keep in mind

It takes no talent to be a critic.
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Old 08-07-2016, 11:10 AM   #55
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Quote:
Originally Posted by hkstroud View Post
For all you people who know so much, where were you when we needed you?


Keep in mind

It takes no talent to be a critic.
The very first answer Post #2, told hime to:

"First thing to do is make sure your getting voltage at the WH.Check the breaker and then check at the WH."

Obviously he choose to ignore that or did not have the knowledge to do it.
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Old 08-07-2016, 11:31 AM   #56
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Yes, the OP's lack of knowledge, lack of knowledge about water heaters and how they work, lack of knowledge about electricity and wiring and fear of it and the lack of knowledge about a meter, how to use it and what it's readings mean was obvious.

I wouldn't say he ignored it, he just didn't know what it meant. At that time to him probably meant, check the breaker to make sure it is on. He needed more detailed guidance.

If he had the knowledge to diagnosis the problem he wouldn't have been here in the first place.

So, do we only help people who don't need our help?

It may have taken 50 post but we got through it and he is a lot more knowledgeable now.

Again, where were you?
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Old 08-12-2016, 04:27 PM   #57
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


I just saw these posts, but to clarify as to if I ignored the second post about checking the breaker, I can say I did not ignore it. Me, being an idiot with electrical stuff, I jumped a step in my head and assumed the breaker was working. My reasoning was that I was getting voltage to the lower thermostat, at 120 volts... when I did some tests on it based on an online guide that was given to me. Testing one point to the lower thermostat to one point on the water heater itself would give me 120 volts. I assumed that meant I was getting full power to the water heater and that the breaker was fine. Why did I think that? I thought wiring was kind of an all or nothing thing. I assumed if it was working, I would get power, if it wasn't working at all, I assumed I would get nothing. That was my error. Now I realize I was getting partial power to the water heater because the 240 volts was split into two lines, and one side was working and one wasn't (because one side of the breaker had gotten fried). But anyways, yes, I know, I was an idiot with this stuff, LOL. And I do appreciate all that did help. Taught me a lot for sure and I had fun.
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