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  1. #1
    On Target

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    Home Electrical Question

    I am installing a new water heater and found this stranded copper wire line in my attic. Previous owner cut it. One end connects to nothing and it runs the length of my attic and goes into my breaker box. It was cut off near the existing electric water heater. It is grounded in my electrical box.

    Does anyone know what this was used for? Looked up water heater electrical diagrams and nothing comes up for this.
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    Last edited by Xeon64; February 23rd, 2021 at 09:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Marksman

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    thats a number 6 Thhn... thhn is just the insulation rating #6 is good for around 50-55 amps

    that is a single wire, not a multicable.. so maybe was used for a ground or 2 others at one time were pulled with it for your 2 hots and a neutral
    Last edited by Bigchillin83; February 23rd, 2021 at 09:51 AM.

  3. #3
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    10-2 with no ground is what connects my water heater. This is not the original water heater in the house so maybe at one time they had the water heater grounded to it. Since it is grounded to my panel I may use it again with the new water heater.

  4. #4
    Marksman

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    yup thats a ground... prob had a 50 amp plus hot water heater and a dedicated ground is required and a minimum one size under

    - - - Updated - - -

    yup will just be alot of over kill, but much easier and cheaper than buying new wire and running it

  5. #5
    Marksman

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    who knows... newer hot water heaters are alot more efficient... so what then was a 65 gal hot water heater might have needed a 75amp breaker and now they only need a 40amp...

  6. #6
    On Target

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    Thanks. That makes sense now. I have a 50 gallon currently that is on a 30 amp breaker. I am going to a gas powered tankless so I am just going to use it to ground the tankless water heater.

    Mystery solved. Been looking at that stupid wire for 10 years wondering what it was for.

  7. #7
    Marksman

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    Also,
    ...depending on where you live, when the house was built, and the type of plumbing pipes that you have...
    In many areas the AHJ will require bonding together of the piping systems in the house. Usually it is done at a water heater because in a single place you have a cold water pipe, a hot water pipe and if installed, a gas pipe. This insures that all pipes are grounded to the same point.

    Otherwise its possible for pipes that have separate ground points to create a potential difference (a voltage) between them.

    Naturally this is irrelevant for someone who has plastic hot/cold supply lines.


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