Wiring in a 220 circuit for Tankless water heater - Cunduit from behind the wall?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by red_lover, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. red_lover

    red_lover New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Oregon
    Hi Folks,
    I'm wiring in a new 220 circuit for a tankless Water Heater. I am pretty sure I am going to have to run it through conduit since I don't want to run the huge wires through the wall and ceiling, That would entail QUITE a lot of sheetrock work :(
    My question is, where/how do I have the wires\conduit come out from behind the sheetrock above the Circuit panel? Do I run the wires all the way up to the ceiling and have the conduit just poke through the sheetrock? Or can I go up just as far as I need to and then go to the surface from there?

    Here are pictures of what my setup is and what I need to do. You can see the old water heater off to the right and that is where I plan on putting the tankless unit.
    I know electricians must have to deal with this all the time, do they just rip out all the sheetrock as needed and then let the homeowner deal with replacing it all :confused:

    SANY0001-opt.jpg SANY0007-opt.jpg

    Thanks for any help!
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,797
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    You will have to open the wall at the panel either to connect to it and then offset on to the surface, or go all the way up into the attic. Whether you run it in the attic or on the surface is immaterial. Since you do not want to cut the wall to run the wires to a junction box in the wall at the heater, just bring it down the wall to the J'box. The wire from the box to the heater. Why are you going electric when you have gas there?
  3. red_lover

    red_lover New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Oregon
    Thanks hj,
    I've never actually used conduit before but when you say to offset it to the surface should I do it just above the panel or is it OK to come out to the surface further up at the ceiling just to avoid having a conduit going up the wall (since I have to cut into that wall anyway)?
    I have propane and it is EXPENSIVE, plus the tank is leaking. Here where I live electricity is cheaper to use.

    Thanks for your help!
  4. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,249
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    There is nothing to say that the conduit cannot come out of the wall at any given point. I would follow the general path of the blue line, bending an offset above the panel before the 90.

    Be sure to read up on the truths of electric tankless heaters before you spend your money. In most homes, they will not be satisfying.
  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,301
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Will your service handle the extra load ?

    You will need a bit of extra power.


    Good Luck.
  6. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    IMO this is something best left to a pro.
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Location:
    IL
    I would pull the cover on the breaker box, and look inside. Identify the knock-out that you would want to use to exit the box. Then measure carefully to the wall surface.

    Bending 1/2 inch conduit is not physically hard, but it is tricky to get the bends right. So, as I see it, you will have a piece of conduit that looks like this exiting the box. hugepipe2.png

    I would bend that piece first. EMT is cheap. Bend that piece perfectly before you ever cut a hole in the wall. If you cannot make that piece, forget DIY. After you have your piece, you will know how big of hole you will need. You will use a 1/2 in. Electrical Metallic Tube (EMT) Set Screw Connector to put into the knockout from your hole, and you will use the nut to attach inside the box.

    I would put in a 1/2 in. 90-Degree EMT Pull Elbow where I switch to horizontal. You could just put another bend in that same conduit, but pulling that off will take more practice than you have ( or a computerized bender). [​IMG]

    I hope you get more suggestions. The preference for set-screw fittings vs compression can be regional. The compression fittings are prettier, but some areas prefer the set screw type for electrical reasons.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  8. bluebinky

    bluebinky Member

    Messages:
    405
    Location:
    Santa Clara, CA
    I don't think drywall repair would be significantly more difficult than bending conduit in this case. It would take a little longer, but the result would look better...
  9. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,301
    Location:
    Houston, TX


    How will the correct size wire fit into 1/2 inch ?


    I don't think it will.
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Location:
    IL
    http://www.westernextralite.com/resources.asp?key=47 says he could put in 2 #6 AWG. That may not be enough. He could run two 1/2 inch conduits and carry one #2 in each. :)

    If he has to go up to 1 inch, could get somebody to bend that with a power bender for him. I wonder if he could maybe use a large radius 1 inch EMT elbow to come out of the box at right angles to the wall, and avoid all bent conduit.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  11. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Ummmm...not quite to code.
    Are you sure you should be giving electrical advice to others?
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Location:
    IL
    A sentence ending with :) is not advice.

    My advice to him would be to determine how much power that his proposed water heater is going to take, and plan from there.

    I am sure he would like to take advice from a pro beyond that which you gave.
  13. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Not where I am from. Maybe this " ;) " though.



    Maybe, but in my mind, and considering the original post, I stand behind what I wrote.
  14. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    Chances are you will need at least 2 circuits, and maybe 3.
    If you think you will save that much with electric, then put in a 40 gallon tank heater.
  15. bartstop

    bartstop New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Kansas
    I would route it through the attic if I was doing it.
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