Electrical Idiocy....

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Joined
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So, I don't like to read instructions.... I replaced our gas hot water unit this past Summer with one of these highend super efficient ones. It does require electricity and I wanted to determine how much in case the power went out and I needed to hook a battery to it with an inverter.... and so I bought one of these clamp amp meters... the dern thing would not show any thing relevant at all no mater what home wiring I put it on... erratic readings that did not jibe..... did not take it back to the Homedepot though.... but I ordered what looked like a better one and it came in yesterday and I decided to read the instructions.....

Seems you need to separate the two lines to get a reading off just one or the the two cancel each other out......DUH!
 

woodsy

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Actually, the higher-end units, like my Amprobe, come with the attachment which allows the lines to "virtually" separate for measurement. I am the beneficiary of an old friend, an electrical engineer, who always advised me on the best electronic unit to purchase (even if it isn't the most expensive).
 

Jeepnik

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Pretty much anything with an electric motor has a surge amperage higher than the running amps.

When I installed my tankless I decided to put a UPS on it. I have lost hot water while all soaped up. No big deal in summer, winter a different story. So I checked the starting and running amps and found something interesting.

When it starts the amps surge as expected then dropped back, this was the blower starting. But moments later the amps surged higher then dropped a bit but remained high. This was the ignitor coming on and dropping to its running amp draw. Once the flame lit and the power to the ignitor stopped the amps dropped to just about what the instructions said the draw should be.

Moral of the story checked the draw during all phases of operation and the make sure your power source has at least 1.5 times the highest reading.

So where did the 1.5 come from? That’s the standard (in my day) 1.5 rule. If you don’t know what the rule is I can explain. Just ask.
 
Joined
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Thanks guys.... it was one of those 'duh' moments when I was reading the instructions. I do understand electricity to a pretty good degree but have never used an amp meter... Since I put this new 'environmentally friendly' gas hot water unit in my wife has complained about the time it takes to get hot water to the kitchen sink.... which is only about 20-25 ft of line from the heater. So, last weekend I fixed that problem by installing a 4 gallon electric unit in line with the hot water under the sink. We have a dish washer but about half of our kitchen stuff we wash by hand... glasses & plates with gold rims and silver as well as the knives.

I've actually ordered some plug in meters that will measure and keep up with how much power some of my stuff uses... like the hot water unit as well as the electric heater and lights in my enclosed garden.
 

Jeepnik

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I take it you put in a tankless. To avoid the lag, install a circulating pump. You start it a it circulates water through the heater warm things up. I installed mine at the furthest point from my heater. It circulates from the hot back to the cold.

I installed switches at each point of use. Push the button and the pump runs for about 45 seconds. No cold water wasted.
 

caryc

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I take it you put in a tankless. To avoid the lag, install a circulating pump. You start it a it circulates water through the heater warm things up. I installed mine at the furthest point from my heater. It circulates from the hot back to the cold.

I installed switches at each point of use. Push the button and the pump runs for about 45 seconds. No cold water wasted.
But isn't it always working to keep that water in the circulating lines hot? That would mean it's always sending colder water back to the heater to heat it back up.
 

LDM

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I recently had to get a new thermocouple on my 20 year old gas 40 gallon heater. I asked the tech about a tankless heater and he just shook his head.
 
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My gas water heater still gives me hot water when the power goes out. It's a modern unit with the sensors and uses a battery for pilot and electronics. I can still take a shower in the dark in February even with no electricity, still have water and gas working!
I looked at the tankless a couple years ago and was warned about not getting one from my plumbing contractor, too much can go wrong with them he said.
 

Joe Chartreuse

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If that water heater has a glow bar it might draw more amps when starting.
He said it was a GAS hot water heater. The only time it draws ANY power at all is when the igniter sparks. This could be run off of a car battery and an inexpensive inverter. I've done it several times including during Sandy and the 2010 Nor'easter. Since it's just a spark once in awhile the batter will last quite a long time on one charge.
 

Jeepnik

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But isn't it always working to keep that water in the circulating lines hot? That would mean it's always sending colder water back to the heater to heat it back up.
No. You hit the switch, wait the time you’ve learned it takes to get hot water to the tap, usually 15 to 29 seconds (apparently a lifetime to some), then open it he tap and proceed as usual.

At the end of 45 seconds the pump times out. If it takes any longer to get hot water to the tap from a traditional tank type water heater it sure can’t be much. Remember you have to flush out cold water from pipes that have set for very long.

Out here in the desert water conservation is important. Circulating pumps avoid waste. I have a neighbor who still has a tank type and I installed a circulating pump for her. It probably saves quite a bit of water annually for her and her two kids.
 

Jeepnik

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He said it was a GAS hot water heater. The only time it draws ANY power at all is when the igniter sparks. This could be run off of a car battery and an inexpensive inverter. I've done it several times including during Sandy and the 2010 Nor'easter. Since it's just a spark once in awhile the batter will last quite a long time on one charge.
My tankless is gas and has a blower. I’v seen ads for tank types with blowers for improved efficiency.
 

Paul B

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A tankless water heater is nothing new. My paternal Grandfather's house had on and it was built in 1912. B firly large thing about 3. feet tall and about 18" circumference. Inside was a valve and a large stacked coil of copper pipe. It had a door in the front to lo light the pilot light. If you turned the hot water on, you could see the stem of the valve rise up and the fire came on with a noticeable whoosh. Talk about energy efficient, in 5 seconds of less you would have hot water to any faucet in the house. State of California outlawed them before I was born so before 1938. My Grandfather never did remove it from the house and it was still there when it was sold. Probably had to remove it when the house was put up for sale.
I don't know just how the current tankless heaters are set up but the one drawback of the one in pop's house would produce water way too hot to the touch and would literally produce boiling level hot water in less than a minute. About the only way to regulate the temperature was with the cold water tap. I got hold of one but never could get someone to install it because they said it was too old. Finally took it to a recycler and sold it.
When the idiots that built my house back in the early 1960s, they ran much of the plumbing within the concrete foundation. God help me if that ever needs to be fixed.
Paul B.
 

caryc

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No. You hit the switch, wait the time you’ve learned it takes to get hot water to the tap, usually 15 to 29 seconds (apparently a lifetime to some), then open it he tap and proceed as usual.

At the end of 45 seconds the pump times out. If it takes any longer to get hot water to the tap from a traditional tank type water heater it sure can’t be much. Remember you have to flush out cold water from pipes that have set for very long.

Out here in the desert water conservation is important. Circulating pumps avoid waste. I have a neighbor who still has a tank type and I installed a circulating pump for her. It probably saves quite a bit of water annually for her and her two kids.
I saw the plumbing contractor on This Old House named Rich Trathuey explaining how circulating pumps work. He said they work exactly how I explained it above. The pump keeps circulating water from the lines back to the heater to be heated up again. That means that lower temp water is going back to the heater where it will be heated up again. That process keeps going on.

The only way to avoid that is to have a timer set on the recirculating pump to only run when you want it too, like the times you most use hot water.
 
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First, it's what my wife wanted..... also this thing is so high end that it draws power all the time... it's only .06 amps while on standby.... then runs up to .9 amps when running..... this is a category 4 type gas unit, some of you will know what that means... one thing is that when it is running it creates enough moisture in the heat exchanger that you have to have a drain line for that water to run out.... I checked it when I first put it in and it was creating about a half gallon of water a week. To ejumicate some: matter is neither created or destroyed... when you mix natural gas (hydrogen & carbon) in a flame with oxygen what your create with perfect combustion is: carbon dioxide and water (Hydrogen & Oxygen) the heat from the fire is only the energy in the atoms being released. the atoms just get remixed to make the two different compounds.
 

Jeepnik

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I saw the plumbing contractor on This Old House named Rich Trathuey explaining how circulating pumps work. He said they work exactly how I explained it above. The pump keeps circulating water from the lines back to the heater to be heated up again. That means that lower temp water is going back to the heater where it will be heated up again. That process keeps going on.

The only way to avoid that is to have a timer set on the recirculating pump to only run when you want it too, like the times you most use hot water.

Gee, I thought I made it clear but must not have. The pump suction is on the hot line furthest from the heater, in my case the kitchen sink. It discharges into the cold line which flows back to the heater. This heats the entire line.

The water can’t get above the heater outlet set point. If you really care too you can push the stop button once you get hot water. In any case the timer is set, it’s adjustable, to 45 seconds for the automatic shutdown.

Continuously circulating systems are used in large buildings. In some buildings the hot water for domestic use is also used to heat the building. In those systems when you open the tap the circulating pressure drops and water is automatically added to the system.
 
Joined
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timer or manual switch sounds like the right way to go to me. I was just being cantankerous... Like I said, I just added a meter on the 4 gal. hot water tank I've added to the kitchen line to see how much it will cost us over a month... not that it matters in the least.... makes my wife happy. Got the monthly analysis of our electrical usage from the power company yesterday... this is a separate mailing from the bill... bascically what this tries to tell us is we need to go all electric.... and they show us how this will save us money.... the problem is that the savings is the same % that they increased the charge for our electricity a few years ago when they discovered we were no longer total electric..... you electrical guys get ready for a different post in a few weeks.... I'm seriously trying to convince my wife to let me buy a natural gas back up generator and install it all myself.
 
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