Electric Water Heater Timer

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by molo, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    845
    Location:
    cold new york
    I have a timer that the electric water heater wiring runs through. It is so that I can take advantage of off-peak rates. I am a bit confused because if I use hot water the tank still turns on, when it is supposed to be off. It is a gray-box timer. Why is the heater turning on? I have adjusted the knobs so that it comes on between 1AM and 7AM

    TIA,
    Molo
  2. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    It's just a mechanical timer so you should be able to rotate the dial and clearly see/feel the it switching on/off.

    Is the time of day set correctly? Is is wired correctly? Are the time pins tight? Have you been drinking?

    The contacts COULD be welded shut due to a previous fault. You should be able to see them. Turn the poewr off and take off the plastic cover and have a look.
  3. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    NOT NECESSARILY

    1. Did it ever work?
    2. Could be wired improperly.
    3. Broken
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    There is a by pass switch on the bottom of some of them that will leave it on all the time or have the timer work.

    Or like BrianJohn said it may be broken the chaance of it being wired wrong is slight but possible.
  5. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Some of those lower-rate timer systems allow the upper element to heat at any time but allow the lower unit to operate only during the off-peak hours.
  6. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    845
    Location:
    cold new york
    I'll call Intermatic, and get back with info.
  7. kd

    kd New Member

    Messages:
    207
    How do you know that the WH is turning on? Are you testing for current at the terminals? I assume you know that there will be some residual hot water in the tank when the power is shut off. I have an Intermatic timer and it turns off all power to top and bottom elements. In our area, off peak power is 1/3 the cost of peak power.
  8. Patti Slane

    Patti Slane New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Arizona
    MOLO -are you still there? U have same hot water heater timer i do, same issue, help?

    Did you ever get your answer? I have same timer and it does things i don't want (turns fans on in rooms i don't use, run out of hot water when i don't want to, etc.) think it's a great thing but don't know how to set it for my needs. thanks Molo
  9. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,330
    Location:
    Houston, TX
  10. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Here is a link for a German made timer that will do EVERYTHING better than the others on the market. Those old, good Intermatic steel dial jobs are now Chinese junk.

    http://www.1000bulbs.com/product/3380/ELEC-GM40.html

    You can find these for about 55$ if you try harder.
  11. Patti Slane

    Patti Slane New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Arizona
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    That timer is like a Model T, there is NOTHING complicated about it and if it is wired correctly it is almost impossible for it to NOT work properly. Your diagnosis may be incorrect, especially since we do NOT know how you are determining that the heater is "still working". IF the lower element only operates during off peak hours, then that is a function of the power company, and they have a separate meter for the lower elements. The heater should also be special ordered so it can be wired for "simultaneous" operation, since the lower element is a completely separate system.
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  13. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,359
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Seems to me that unless you are truly knowledgeable and have the proper test equipment (and know how to use it) you would be very foolish to mess with electrical devices of any kind. Screw up plumbing and you may have a leak, backed up drain, or other non fatal problems, but screw up electricity, and you and your family can end up dead.
  14. Patti Slane

    Patti Slane New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Arizona
    Model T or 1913 Maxwell?

    The only complicated thing is the instructions written inside the timer are too small for this young lady to read. I am having no other problems with anything other than how the previous owner set the timer to save energy. Thank you for the information that the power company has control over off peak use. My father has a 1913 Maxwell, much better and rarer than the Model T - he took it apart to the frame and reassembled to original! We're pretty savvy.

    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  15. Patti Slane

    Patti Slane New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks for the warning Gary - I highly respect electricity! All's well - just need to set the timer and contact my power company for off peak usage.
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