Hello everyone, it’s Richard at Plumbdog here!
I’m out at a property here in Nedlands, Western Australia and the unit behind me are having an issue with their hot water. According to the phone call between the customer and our reception, they’ve got hot water but it’s intermittent and it keeps tripping at the main power.
The first thing we do is turn the hot water on any tap in the house and check the temperature to work out what we’re dealing with, is the water cold, is it warm or is it hot and in this case – it’s cold.
Okay, so here is a Rheem 80 litre electric storage hot water system. My initial thoughts are this system is quite new it looks to be installed well and correctly by others. I’m just confirming the date of manufacture on the side there being 2020, the unit seems to be installed legally, correctly being in a safe tray that even terminates to outside so it looks to be new and installed well.
The next thing I want to do is just observe the electrics and the power connection. It seems previous people to me have butchered the unit get in the front panel off there.
I’ve never seen the pop rivet actually pulled out the system before and here is my electrical testing pen. I just want to work out whether or not we’re actually got power to the system, which we don’t, so now I’ll go outside to the main fuse board to have a look at what we’re dealing with.
As you can see the red one on the left there is the main power switch that’s on and we’ve got the hot water system one there which is off so we turn that on like all of the other switches. Now we should be getting power to the system, which we are so the water was cold because there’s no power to the system.
Investigating further, I’ve noticed that this main supply there is a lot smaller in size than what’s in the system. I’m not an electrician but to me that looks like 1.5 mil lighting cable that’s being used.
See the physical size of that being smaller in comparison to what’s inside being two and a half millimetres? There’s a Rheem electric hot water system installed under the stairs and the plumbing looks really good on it. The installation is probably only about two years old so from a plumbing perspective I really can’t see anything.
I’m not an electrician but I’ve got a pretty good idea about what we should be seeing so as I as I highlighted, you can physically see the difference between the cable sizes there being two and a half millimetres, I believe, inside the system but then the mains feed to the system looks like one and a half millimetres to me. Again, I’m not an electrician but um but there’s something a bit suspect there so I’ve spoken to our electricians that we use regularly.
Thanks to technology, I’m going to send them some photos and some videos of it and they agree that cable does look undersized and also they’ve highlighted to me, which I wouldn’t have known, is that the breaker there in the switchboard looks a bit undersized as well for that circuit.
That’s a C10 amp and that’s undersized as well so what the electrician’s done using the videos and the photos I’ve sent them has given us a quote to run a new cable. Run the new cable from the board surface mount, I would think and into the cupboard there and then and then upgrade that breaker size as well which will fix the issue.
We have given that quote to the customer and they’re more than happy. They’ve used many times so they trust us. We’re going to get that upgraded and then they’ll be back in hot water. Why the system was working for two years and then suddenly started tripping, who knows? That’s for the electricians to sort of figure out. We’ll get that sorted and they’ll be back in hot water!
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