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240 V water heater ground and neutral

albert001

Dec 21, 2018
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I have a 240 volts GE Smart Water Heater. GE50T6EA

Specs shows it's a dual element

Upper 4500 watts
Lower 4500 watts
---------------------
Total 4500 watts (uncertain why total shows 4500 watts since it's 2 x 4500 watts)

Wire connections on top are a red wire and a black wire. The wire connection lid has a green ground screw.

From what I've read

AC compressor or a water heater do not require a neutral so 2 hots and a grounding means are all that is needed

My wiring cable is 10-3. So all I need to do is connect the two hots to the black and red and my bare ground wire to the green screw and cap off the neutral?

Also I'm currently using 10-3, however the installations manual diagram shows to use 8 gauge copper wire with a 50 am breaker.

I currently have a short run less than 10 feet using 10-3 and a 40 amp dual pole breaker.

I probably should upgrade a no. 10 - 8 gauge copper and a 50 amp dual pole breaker?
 
Last edited:

Minder

Apr 24, 2015
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No neutral required, and I would do as you suggest, 8ga and 50 amp breaker.
If this is a dual element water heater, sometimes the top element is just for short low demand operation and switched over to lower for large demand, shower etc.
M.
 

albert001

Dec 21, 2018
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Two elements apparently 4500 watts each.

We also wired a three prong plug-in for a dryer that had a three prong 240 volt plug with an L shaped neutral. However the dryer won't turn on. The plug-in has no ground wire connection which I read is used additionally with newer 4 prong dryer plugs to ground the dryers frame to the service panels ground?

Anyway my Fluke meter sometimes measures approx. 150 volts on either hot (between hot and neutral) while other times hardly any voltage at all. Is this normal because it's AC 240?

We're thinking there's something wrong with the dryer we picked up used. The dryer is connected to a 30 amp dual pole breaker using some 10-3 cable we had available.
 

Minder

Apr 24, 2015
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You require a 4 pin socket.
Usually a dryer requires 240v 120v Neutral and GND (4 pin plug/socket).
You should be able to read the 240v and 120v with a Fluke meter.
Do not ground to any other connection than a properly ran earth GND conductor originating at the panel.
IOW you need 3 wire and GND cable.
M..
 

Tha fios agaibh

Aug 11, 2014
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I currently have a short run less than 10 feet using 10-3 and a 40 amp dual pole breaker.

I probably should upgrade a no. 10 - 8 gauge copper and a 50 amp dual pole breaker?
You should really consult a qualified electrician.
You may not need to upsize as many heaters only energize one element at a time alternating between the two. Thats likely why it's only rated 4500w.
But don't guess at it, consult someone qualified who's there to actually look things over.

You currently have a safety concern protecting 10 awg wire with a 40a breaker.

What other safety concerns or violations are there in the house?

Do you have the required disconnecting means or have a lockable breaker if the panel is not within site of the hot water tank?

Have you properly bonded the water pipes feeding it to the grounding electrode system?

Did you size the dryer circuit properly?

What you can't see (or are ignorant to) can kill.
 

TCSC47

Mar 7, 2016
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As Tha fios says! Consult a qualified electrician.

But I am curious. What country are you in? I am only qualified and have worked on UK mains electric and I note your unusual terminology. "Hot" -- ? You probably mean "Line". Wire gauge in awg ? Here in the UK and Europe we specify wire size in csa in square mm. No neutral? Never heard of it on single phase, so are you working with 3 phase? But how with only two elements?

But the answer from me is that if you need to ask the question then you shouldn't be doing it. Think how many lives depend on you getting it right.
 

Minder

Apr 24, 2015
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But I am curious. What country are you in? Wire gauge in awg ? Here in the UK and Europe we specify wire size in csa in square mm. .

His avatar shows USA.
Ah yes, when I took my UK training it was 3/029 and 7/029 for principle residential conductors!;)
That was half a life time away.
M.
 

Tha fios agaibh

Aug 11, 2014
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...unusual terminology. "Hot" -- ? You probably mean "Line". Wire gauge in awg ? Here in the UK and Europe we specify wire size in csa in square mm. No neutral? Never heard of it on single phase, so are you working with 3 phase?
Yes, Hot or ungrounded line conductor.
(You'd probably call it "mains")
Awg is American wire guage. We also use circular mils, usually for larger wire sizes.
10awg is equal to 10380cmil, or just under 5 sq mm.
Neutral is a term often (mis)used in single phase but it is not actually a neutral conductor when only 2 conductors are involved . A neutral is a grounded conductor that has an equal potential difference between it and two or more line conductors.

Not 3 phase.
Over here, we use single phase 240v and ground it in the middle of the secondary winding which splits the phase into 120v on each line with respect to the grounded neutral.
In this case he only needs the outer 240v line conductors, and doesn't need the neutral tapped between it.
 

Minder

Apr 24, 2015
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Neutral is also used as a term for the star point in a three phase transformer, which is what jurisdictions such as UK and Australia etc use. where a phase and the star point neutral forms the 230v 1ph service, also the neutral is earth grounded at the star point.
M.
 
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