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#217242 06/09/16 05:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
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twh Offline OP
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This is a switch on top of a water heater in an office ceiling space. The plumber got a shock with the switch turned off.

Electricians don't wrap the wire around the screw in that direction, do they?


[Linked Image from i900.photobucket.com]

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If I had to guess, the switch was bad (or suspected) and some "handy" guy bypassed it.


Greg Fretwell
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Cat Servant
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I disagree with the interpretation of the picture.

To me, it looks like a 3-way switch was used as a simple on/off switch for something.

That has nothing to do with someone receiving a shock. They received a shock because of inadequate grounding of the metal box, and the wire poking out from the side of the switch. I expect the wire was touching the box.


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I am under the impression that the'plumber' got a tingle at the water heater connections as he 'thought' turning the switch to 'off' made him safe to disconnect/reconnect the whip.

After the above scene...someone called twh in.

Hence, here a Lic. EC is 'supposed' to wire electric water heaters, yes including replacements.


John
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Without seeing the other side of the switch, I can't say if it is a 3 way or not but from the symptom and the picture I see it looks like someone just bypassed it. Stuck one wire in the back wire hole and the other under the screw on the same terminal.


Greg Fretwell
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Cat Servant
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..... And folks get upset when I suggest the use of an appropriate cord & plug for a water heater.

Joined: Mar 2004
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twh Offline OP
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It was a single pole switch that was working. The person who connected it stuck the wire through the top of the water heater and stuck it into the back stab of the switch on the same side as the feed hot. That was as high as I could lift the switch because the wire was too short. It was hard to work on, so the ground was hooked around the ground screw but the screw wasn't tightened. The cover was missing from the switch, too.

I apologize for the quality of the picture. After I broke two $400 phones, I bought a cheap one for $200 and it doesn't take good pictures. I know it's only Canadian money but it was my Canadian money.

As to cords for water heaters, that's a good idea. It eliminates the need for straps, too.

Joined: May 2003
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Glad someone mentioned 3 way it almost looked to me a screw connecting and a push in conductor on the same side of the switch

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Cat Servant
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Whatever the switch, I think our short was caused by that wire poking out to the side.

I know not what the switch is for. The wire - if it's going to fit into those push-in ports, can't be larger than #12 (very old switch) or #14 (modern models). Either way, that's too small for a 30-A water heater ... and the disconnect for the heater should open BOTH hot wires.

Use of a cord & plug -even appropriate selected ones- on a water heater contradicts UL's "listing and labeling." UL has not evaluated the wiring compartment size, or the strain relief connector, for use with either flexible cord, or the flat cords used for 30-A clothes dryers.

UL does list some 125-v, 5-gallon water heaters that come from the factory with a cord and plug.

That's the official word. I disagree with it. My personal home's water heater, furnace, and dishwasher are all connected via cords & plugs.

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twh Offline OP
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Originally Posted by dougwells
Glad someone mentioned 3 way it almost looked to me a screw connecting and a push in conductor on the same side of the switch
That's exactly what it is. Both wires on the same terminal.

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