Thursday, November 12, 2015

Small distraction ...

Lately, I'm overdue to even go close to the shop, but somehow, I just can't do it...

So the other day, when a friend ask me for some help replacing his water heater, I said, sure... (could uses the distractions) :-)

The older one, removed. 
There was a mess of elbows on it to connect to the water lines!

Redid the hot water line from the T, added a valve and a 45 degrees elbow 
to match the other side. Only had to add a thread adapter on the cold side.
Flex lines, stainless braided, will not burst, connect the water tank to the house plumbing. Next swap would be a breeze. (Within 10 years) 

Did not trusted the wiring in place, the line (14/3) was coming from a light fixture ceiling box...???

Are you kidding me??
Green wire coming out on top is the 220V line to the water heater.

What we have is the switched 120V power from the light switch to the bulb and a dedicated (?) 240V line spliced inside same light junction box. 
That is a big No-No. They even tied the red to ground??

When we pulled the fuse block (service entrance is the older fuse panel) for the water heater, there was some serious overheating damages to it and on one of the fuse itself (Discolored metal, Bakelite crumbling).
Something went very wrong and was probably over fused... Cannot read the fuse rating on the discolored ones.

Ran a new dedicated line, 12 Gauge to water heater straight from service entrance to water heater. Used a different unused slot in service entrance and a new fuse block, fused correctly. Removed old 240 V line from ceiling box.
Everything is back working...safely.

Had a look at where the old water heater leaked.  Normally they always go on the bottom, caused by rust.  Not that one!!

It bursted at the seam...
In theory, the safety valve is supposed to avoid pressure build up inside.
Somehow, that one bursted... Could had been much worse...

They were lucky, it could have caused a catastrophic water failure and it very well could had caused a electrical fire.

In theory, we are supposed to once a year, flush the sediment from the bottom of the tank, to avoid early rust failures. And test the safety valve to ensure it is not stuck closed. But honestly, who of us do that every year....
At best I do mine once in a while, but at  least, it does get flushed and the valve exercised... once in a while.

Service life of these electric water heater is usually less than 10 years, hence why when you buy a house in Canada, if the water heater tank or the oil tank, if present... They must be less than 10 years old in order for your insurer to insured your house.  Of course if you never sell your house, you may very well end up with the actual one until failure, whenever that is...

House maintenance, it never ends...

Bob, the age old maintainer, whose water heater is coming to the end of his service life...sigh!


  1. I have never seen anything as OTL as that wiring. Most electric water heaters are fused at a minimum of 30A and that is too much electron flow for 14 gauge. It's a good thing your asked you to replace the heater.

  2. Yes, that was a mess...
    This is a small Heater, 40 gal, electric feed is as per instruction manual, 12 ga, 20 A.
    And yap, they got lucky... :-)

  3. I'm with you guys but not all that surprised, just hope it was a owner installed unit and not one by the local Handyman.

    One of the reasons I hate to open a wall on a older house is you never know what you will find, most of the time it's not good. When I re-routed the kitchen sewer line for the kitchen up-grade the main line had a 150mmX100mm (6"X4") open hole on top. My guess it had been there from the get go. Tell me how that got by the building inspectors.


  4. Yuck, sound...not good. In all these these years of moving around the country, I have seen all kind of handyman specials...
    It really is not that difficult but you have to know when to call the pros. Of course, they also have their handyman kinds among them :-(

    Bob, scratching Rudy ears

  5. Good thing you were able to change the unit.
    One of the worst things in my opinion concerning jobs like these is, that for some reason the models available never matches what was there before, so it inevitably ends up with a huge rebuild job.
    But it looks as though you had an OK space for putting in the new heater.


  6. Hi Jonas.
    Very true, some are hook up on the top, some on the side etc. and yes in this case there was room, bonus :-)