Water heater wiring- It is so special.

Home Inspector with NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Water heater wiring- It is so special. Wenatchee and Quincy Home Inspection


Well as a home inspector in the land of electricity almost every water heater I see is an electric water heater.  I actually feel pretty lucky about that. I don’t have to worry about draft hoods, B-vents, combustion air, drip legs, carbon monoxide and all the other fun that goes with gas heaters.


But it has not gone unnoticed that the simple act of getting the electrical power to the water heater seems to be a bit of a challenge to perform correctly.


I see many a water heater that has been improperly wired. So here is a few that may make you wonder.


Water Heater Wiring Wenatchee Home Inspection Close but not quite right Quincy Home Inspection



Improper wiring at water heater  Wenatchee home Inspection Wiring issues at water heater Quincy Home Inspection


They really are not that hard to do and do right, but often people are in the “just make it work” modality.



properly wired


So in the rush to get the hot shower or bath the installation becomes a little less than professional.  Doing it right really does not take that much more time and will be infinitely safer.


“If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Red Adair


NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  


Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                               509-670-9572


Comments (25)

Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Phil, this seems to be common. I see these open splices quite often.

Apr 02, 2013 02:03 AM
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Like Jim, I liked the top right one too.  I think water heaters, as a house component, have the most things wrong with them of any other single component.

Apr 02, 2013 02:29 AM
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Charlie, I think you are right about issues. They go with decks ;)

Apr 02, 2013 02:36 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Donald, after I read this post I looked at my hot water heater installation. They installed the electrical cable correctly.

Apr 02, 2013 02:55 AM
Ira Bodenstein
PNC Mortgage - Montclair, NJ
NMLS#: 445143

Wow, good information.  I don't understand how people can do this kind of job.


Apr 02, 2013 03:25 AM
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Michael, There are many that are correct but so many that are not.

Ira, Electrical wiring seems to be a issues in many homes.

Apr 02, 2013 03:51 AM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Donald, I may have to go take a look at mine and see how close it is to right from when it was installed last year.

Apr 02, 2013 03:55 AM
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

Been doing inspections on all my properties so I've been seeing all sorts of wiring.  Good thing most of them are current seeing as we replaced a bunch of water heaters last year.  

Apr 02, 2013 04:15 AM
Marc McMaster
RE/MAX Centre Realty - State College, PA
Putting my clients before myself

A lot of people think they are amateur electricians and most are even less than amateur.  Water heaters get replaced by folks who are typically handymen without specialized training.

Apr 02, 2013 04:36 AM
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Liz and Bill, You should take a look.

Kevin, I bet you did see a bunch of wild installations.

Marc, That is so true. Because it will work they think its okay.

Apr 02, 2013 04:55 AM
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

I agree, call in a professional. Too many haphazard handyman specials out there. Thanks for your post today,

Apr 02, 2013 06:54 AM
Trisha Bush-LeFore
Preferred Properties Land & Homes - Walla Walla, WA
Providing Realtor Services in the Walla Walla Area

I love the quote at the end! It's so true that you save more time and money by just doing things the right way the first time.

Apr 02, 2013 08:59 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

My electrical contracting skills are exhausted after I have plugged the cord into the outlet. While I can see that the connections in your pictures were done wrong – even dangerously so – I would not be able to make the correct connections. That’s why I can on the pros to do that stuff. I am still alive and my house is still standing and maybe that is why.

Apr 02, 2013 09:12 AM
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Donald,

I see this crap all the time. Many Realtors say it's wrong and many buyers say it's wrong. But there are a ton of owners who say "what is wrong with it"? It works just fine.

Have a good day in the great Northwest my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Apr 02, 2013 09:21 AM
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Pamela, Yes there is along with homeowners trying to save a buck or thinking they have the skill set.

Trisha, Thanks I tend to love that quote a lot also.

John, At least you know where your end point is.

Clint, This is the problem most of the time it will work. It like an old Chevy running on 7 cylinders, it will work but how reliable will it be.

Apr 02, 2013 11:14 AM
Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate
Love the red adair quote! Great post!
Apr 02, 2013 11:49 AM
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

Who knew that electricity could be connected on so many different ways Donald?  :)

Apr 02, 2013 11:53 AM
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Wayne and Jean, Thank you.

Tom, Oh the creativity never ends ; )

Apr 02, 2013 12:34 PM
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Man oh man... Don, I could add a ton of picks to your selection! Everybody thinks they can install their own water heater. And, it's not that hard, just do it the same way yours was done! Well, maybe not all of them. Have a great day!

Apr 02, 2013 11:00 PM
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Fred, I know I think we all have a gazillion photos of some odd instillation's.

Apr 02, 2013 11:53 PM